Gleyber Torres has been nothing short of remarkable in 2019. During his sophomore season, Torres has crushed 38 home runs and has driven in 90 as a middle infielder playing both shortstop and second base. His fielding and raw hitting ability, coupled with the healthy dose of power, has elevated the former top prospect into a star in just his second year in the league.
Yet, as the 2019 season comes to an end, Torres seems to have fallen into a slump. It has largely gone unnoticed, too, most likely covered up by the Yankees winning the division and their chase for home-field advantage. If you don’t believe it, consider the numbers.
To begin with, Torres is batting a season-low .235 in the month of September and has a below-average 93 wRC+. Along with that comes an array of various other statistics that are worse than they have been all year. His strikeout percentage sits at 28.8% which is six points higher than his second-highest mark of the season which came back in March and April (22.8%). His walk to strikeout ratio (.10), on-base percentage (.260), and wOBA (.312) are all also at season-lows.
Take a closer look at how Torres has swung the bat this month with some heat maps courtesy of FanGraphs. This first shows Torres’ contact percentage from July 12 to September 1.
He hit lots of inside pitches, but also did very well with balls thrown over the middle of the plate. When looking at his next graph, however, one notices that has not been the case this past month, from September 1 - September 25.
His contact percentage has gone down noticeably on pitches over the middle of the plate. This has resulted in an increase in Torres’ pull percentage to a season-high 62.5%, and has decreased his opposite-field percentage to a season-low 14.6%. You can probably guess that on top of those last two statistics, his rate of hitting the ball up the middle has decreased to a season-low 22.9%.
Torres has simply dropped off this month. He is not being pitched to differently, and not much seems to be out of the ordinary at the plate. It looks like he is just going through a run-of-the-mill slump.
Something rather interesting, however, is that Torres cooled off last September and October as well. In those months during the 2018 season, Torres had a .233 batting average, a .297 on-base percentage, and an 84 wRC+. This begs the question, does Torres run out of gas by the end of the season? He slowed down towards the end of 2018 while playing 123 games. This season, Torres has played more (142) and is cooling off again. It’s a point worth considering.
Hopefully Torres be able to put this September slump aside for the postseason. If it’s a matter of running out of gas, maybe the few days off before the ALDS will help. The Yankees are certainly counting on him for the playoffs.