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It’s time for Ronald Torreyes to step up for the Yankees

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When Didi Gregorius was injured last season, Torreyes filled in nicely. The Yankees will need an encore performance in the coming days.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Yankees fans have seen Ronald Torreyes sparingly so far this season, to the dismay of many. Despite the lack of power and parity between his batting average and OBP, Torreyes has become a fan-favorite in the Bronx. That is thanks to his glowing reputation in the clubhouse, and his ability to step in for an injured infielder and fill their shoes with a vicious collection of singles.

Sunday afternoon was no different. After a rough collision with Kendrys Morales forced Didi Gregorius to the bench, Torreyes came in and promptly delivered three hits (including a rare double) to help pace the Yankees’ 12-hit attack in a 10-2 victory. Turns out, as Gregorius was later diagnosed with a “significant” bruise on his heel and possibly facing time on the DL, the Yanks will need more of that production from Torreyes. For the fans who wanted to see more of him, they’re about to get what they want.

Torreyes saw a good chunk of playing time earlier in the season when third baseman Brandon Drury was battling migraines, and while second baseman Neil Walker was struggling to find his way. From Opening Day to May 20th, Torreyes batted .339 with a .349 OBP while playing solid defense in the infield. Once the Yankees called up Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, both now Rookie of the Year candidates, Torreyes’ role became understandably diminished. He ended up being sent down when the Yanks faced a temporary bullpen depth crisis. Sunday was just his fourth appearance since May 20th. That’s about to change.

Of course, Torreyes isn’t going to replace Gregorius, because you can’t replace Gregorius, or his .919 OPS this month. When Torreyes is hot, his OPS still hovers around the .750 mark. The power isn’t there and likely never will be, but he can provide a stable glove in the infield and a consistent enough bat to get on base and set the table for the other Bombers who do have the power to clear the bases.

The Yankees would love another performance like Torreyes showed in 2017, when Gregorius missed a month after suffering an injury during the World Baseball Classic. In the first month of the 2017 season, Torreyes batted .313 with a .746 OPS, while striking out just nine percent of the time. If those are the type of numbers he can produce while Gregorius is out this time, for however long that may be, the Yankees will be happy.

Fortunately for Torreyes and the Yankees, he will be able to primarily play second base while Gregorius mends. Torres can slide over to his natural shortstop position while Torreyes mans second base, where he has the most major league experience. Torreyes has always been a solid bench player whose versatility makes things easier on managers. He also has shown an ability to step up for abbreviated everyday roles. He’ll have to do it again now as the Yanks look to solidify a playoff spot.