A total of 636 days separated two watershed moments in recent Yankees history. On July 25, 2016, the team acquired top prospect Gleyber Torres in a trade with the Cubs. Now, today, the 21-year-old second baseman makes his long awaited big league debut. While the Pinstripe Alley staff examined his journey to the Bronx last week, his promotion asks us to situate him in the context of the 2018 Yankees.
If one thing’s clear, it’s that the team didn’t call Torres up for an experiment. This isn’t like how the Yankees tabbed Gary Sanchez for a spot start against Chris Sale in 2016, or Miguel Andujar’s cameo last season. He’s here to stay. Aaron Boone indicated as much to the media last week.
“[Torres is] not a guy that we want to just pull up to plug a hole for a second and back and forth,” the Yankees manager told Newsday’s Erik Boland. “We want him to be in a good place so when he comes up here, he’s ready to impact our club for the long haul.”
This means that he’s clearly the team’s everyday second baseman. Tyler Wade will likely be the corresponding move, and that’s the right call. Wade could use the everyday at-bats in Scranton. He wasn’t hitting at all at the big league level, as evidenced by his .086/.158/.143 batting line. That practically screams for more development time.
With Torres holding down the keystone, the Yankees can go back to having Ronald Torreyes as the utility infielder. He’s red hot right now, but he’s also the type of player you don’t want to overexpose. Neil Walker, on the other hand, can split time at first base with Tyler Austin. The Yankees just need to commit to Torres at second base. The rest of the roster will follow.
By injecting Torres into the mix, the team takes another step in diversifying the lineup. Consider this scouting report from MLB.com:
“Torres has exceptionally quick hands that allow him to excel from the right side of the plate and make plays in the field. Always an advanced hitter for his age, he recognizes pitches well, uses the entire field and has improved his walk and strikeout rates in each of his seasons in full-season ball. He makes adjustments easily and also has hit for more power each year as well as he has gotten stronger, projecting as a hitter who can contend for batting titles while providing 20-plus homers annually.”
Much of the criticism leveled against the team’s offense focuses on it’s one-dimensional nature. The team relies too much on the three true outcomes, fans and columnists lament. Torres should remedy that, though. He has impressive bat-to-ball skills and uses the whole field. Sure, he also has pop, but that’s not the only element of his game. He’s a well rounded bat.
This is exactly the type of player the Yankees need right now. He should add some life to a club that has sputtered for the better part of a month. Yesterday’s win felt good and lifted the team over .500, but more works needs to be done. The Red Sox sit on top of the AL East with a ridiculous 17 - 3 record. It’s still April, yes, but that’s money in the bank for Boston. The Yankees need to switch into another gear to begin their chase, and Torres could kickstart that. He doesn’t need to be Robinson Cano in 2005, but rather give the team a little life as they try to reel in the Red Sox.
Today marks day one of the Gleyber Torres era. There are a number of reasons to be excited. He brings stability to second base, diversifies the lineup, and gives a sluggish team a shot in the arm. Will that be enough to propel the Yankees on an extended winning streak? That remains to be seen, but the odds just improved significantly.