About two weeks ago, when rumors of a Gleyber Torres promotion started to swirl, we took a look at what kind of immediate contributions could be expected from the 21-year-old when he began his major league career.
All the Yankees needed for the promotion to be a success was a solid glove and some added offensive production at the bottom of the lineup. We figured there would be plenty of time for him to blossom into a star, right? Well, it’s only been a week and a half, but Torres has absolutely exceeded immediate expectations. He even helped round out a Yankee lineup that surged through a nine-game winning streak.
In terms of offensive contribution, serving as an upgrade to Tyler Wade and Neil Walker was not the most difficult of assignments, even for a kid getting his first taste of the bright lights. Wade and Walker had been awful at the plate, so as long as Torres kept an OPS above .450, he would already be an upgrade over both of them.
Through his first nine games, Torres doubled that desired mark, carrying an .802 OPS. It would have been even higher had it not been for a ridiculous diving catch by Kole Calhoun on Friday night to rob Torres of a certain double. No matter for Torres, as he stroked a two-bagger the very next evening in a 2-for-5 night as the Yankees rolled to an 11-1 win.
Torres went hitless through his first seven major league at-bats but went nine for his next 21 after recording his first big league hit. He already has three multi-hit games to his credit, and has recorded only one multi-strikeout game (against Justin Verlander, who strikes out everybody multiple times). Torres is clearly seeing the ball well, and has settled into the ninth spot in the lineup, collecting his first nine hits in 23 plate appearances from the nine hole. Given the production (or lack thereof) the team had before Torres arrived, he has been a major upgrade to an already stacked lineup.
At just 21 years old, Torres has also shown an ability to remain poised in the batter’s box, even when he finds himself down in the count. Torres has had 12 at-bats when facing an 0-2 count, and finished four of those plate appearances with a hit. That’s compared to striking out just three times in those situations. Torres is not wandering from his usual approach at the plate when he gets behind, and it’s paying off.
Of course, that’s just half of the youngster’s contributions so far. Torres has already shown flashes of an exceptional glove at second base, one that is better than any other options the Yankees currently have. He is definitely an upgrade from last year’s second base fixture, Starlin Castro. Torres has range, a shortstop’s arm and a slick glove to form a phenomenal defense up the middle with Didi Gregorius to his left. That’s not a bad duo at all.
It’s a small sample size, but the knee-jerk reaction to Torres has to be overwhelmingly positive. He clearly is major league ready in the field and at the plate. Given the team’s current alternatives at second base, Torres should be here to stay.