2016 Statistics: .258/.305/.374, 7 doubles, 4 triples, .116 ISO, 81 wRC+
2017 Roster Status: Under team control, on the 40-man roster
Coming into 2016, the Yankees had a need for someone who could backup Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley at shortstop and third base respectively. Shortstop wasn’t too much of an issue because Starlin Castro could have easily slid in there if something happened to Gregorius (the Rob Refsnyder is backing up shortstop by backing up second base offseason theory). However, it’s still not an ideal situation to have a starter at one position be the primary backup of another position. So the Yankees struck a deal with the Dodgers and brought Torreyes and Tyler Olson to the system in exchange for Rob Segedin.
After the Yankees acquired him from the Dodgers, the team ended up placing him on waivers to make room for Lane Adams only to designate Adams and claim Torreyes on waivers from the Angels a week after.
That, of course, is in addition to the fact that Torreyes began the 2015 season with Houston before being traded to the Blue Jays and later traded to the Dodgers. All told, he’s been a part of five organizations in the past eight and a half months alone.
Basically it had been a roller coaster ride for Torreyes, and the expectation was that it would probably continue with the Yankees. After all, he was a career minor leaguer who just bounced around. Yet with the Yankees, he found his niche. Rob Refsnyder’s facial defense method caused him to be sent to the minors and Pete Kozma was, well, Pete Kozma. After exhausting all other options to backup third base, Torreyes ended winning the job and getting a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Girardi said of Torreyes, "I thought he swung the bat well, he played good defense. He runs the bases. He does all the things that he needs to do."
After making the Opening Day roster, Torreyes was tearing up the league. Granted, he hit well in three games but the impatient nature of sports fans had people calling for him to take Chase Headley’s job as the starter. Collecting six hits in those three games, Torreyes’ slash line was .667/.667/1.000 while Headley wasn’t really doing anything at that time. Unsurprisingly, Torreyes did not keep up that level of play. As the season continued, Headley picked up the pace and started hitting well enough, while Torreyes hit as expected so his playing time diminished.
Even though he was completely healthy, Torreyes only saw himself get into five games in the month of June, and didn’t even start two of those games. There was a stretch from June 8th to June 30th where the only playing time he saw was as a defensive replacement in a blowout against the Twins. Through most of that, he was playing only as well as one could expect from a backup infielder. From the beginning of May through the end of July, Torreyes hit a measly .173/.259/.250. That was okay because he wasn’t expected to hit well, since his role on this team was just to be a backup.
In August though, Torreyes suddenly caught fire. Hitting .438/.471/.719, Torreyes started taking at-bats away from Headley. As Gary Sanchez was trying to single-handedly bring the Yankees into postseason contention after selling, he’d need all the help he could get and unexpectedly Torreyes was part of that help! Once again though, Torreyes did return to his normal levels of hitting in September and October with a .176/.218/.216 slash line.
Outside of a stretch of games in April and August, Torreyes was largely useless with the bat. Yet he managed to stay on the roster for 162 games, which honestly might be the 2016 fact that impresses me the most. The reason he was able to stay on the roster so long is that he filled a need, and for his part he did that well. Sure the Yankees could probably stand to upgrade, but for a backup infielder, they could also do a lot worse. And seeing as he’s not even eligible for arbitration until 2019, Torreyes could end up being here for a while. And that’s okay.
The B- grade might be a little high looking at just his numbers, but Torreyes deserves some credit. There’s a reason he was able to stay on the roster as long as he did, and that’s because he did his job pretty much as expected. He comes to the park ready to play everyday and that even allowed him to hit is first home run.
"My job is to come to the ballpark ready to play," Torreyes said. "Although I don't play every day, once I get an opportunity, I want to do my best."
*Season statistics provided by Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and ESPN