Baseball is a sport of routine and consistency. An everyday player gets roughly 550 at-bats over the course of a regular season, with slumps and hot streaks as a part of the deal, for even the great ones. The best hitters maximize their hot stretches, decreasing the impact of their slumps in their final slash line.
Certain hitters are streakier by nature, but there isn’t such a thing as a purely streaky career. Hitters evolve, hitters decline, but there is almost always an arc that can be well-explained ... unless you’re talking about Gleyber Torres.
Through five seasons in the big leagues, the Yankees’ second baseman has experienced about as much, if not more, than some hitters do over the course of an entire career. He’s been the elite prospect who hits the ground running and is on his way to being a perennial All-Star. He’s been the flash in the pan, a poster boy for the juiced ball, and more recently the solid-if-unspectacular complementary piece.
Torres reached the All-Star Game in each of his first two seasons, hitting 62 bombs in a little under 1,000 at-bats, and looked like one of the more exciting young hitters in the game. Then came 2020 and 2021, and Torres simply fell off a cliff, with a 95 OPS+ in those two years.
Entering the 2022 season, Torres had two superb years, and two subpar ones, and although the consensus was that he was probably going to settle somewhere in between, it is still fascinating to look at how his 2022 season stacks up with the rest of his career.
The 2022 version of Torres provided what was ultimately a career average year for the former Cubs prospect, even though his production didn’t even come close to matching anything he had ever done in a baseball field.
Here is an interesting group of stats:
Gleyber Torres career ISO: .190
Gleyber Torres 2018-19 ISO: .235
Gleyber Torres 2020-21 ISO: .111
Gleyber Torres 2022 ISO: .194
None of this is a big surprise. After all, the volatility of his career has been well-documented, but it doesn’t make the results any less staggering.
So what does this mean for Gleyber Torres moving forward? The Yankees’ second baseman will likely always be linked to that ferocious start to his career, and how he measures up to it, and putting aside how unfair that may be, it is simply a reality, but it doesn’t mean this team can’t appreciate who Gleyber Torres is now.
Torres finished the 2022 season as roughly a three-win player depending on which formula you want to look at, and was an above-average bat for the Yanks at second base — even through all of his inconsistencies.
The Yankees have some question marks looking ahead to next season, but it is pretty clear at this point that Torres has reestablished himself as an important part of this team, even if more in a complementary role than what was originally envisioned for him. Although they could still potentially find a way to trade him to tweak their team for 2022, that value remains.
The potential is still there, and we certainly can’t label Torres, as this is who he is when he is all of only 25 years old. Regardless, if he can keep up a level of consistency with what he demonstrated in the 2022 season, he’ll have all the opportunities to continue to grow, and be the best hitter he can be for this organization.