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Torres’ rough start to second half dampening season numbers

Gleyber Torres had an unwatchable start to the second half with a terrible month and a half stretch, but despite the underwhelming second half splits, he looks excellent.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Michael Urakami/Getty Images

Gleyber Torres' resurgence at second base has been a huge reason the New York Yankees have gotten to where they are today. The team's big slump coincided with the 25-year-old's worst stretch of the season, and there are no words to describe how bad it was.

Right out of the All-Star break, Torres was not performing well, even though his July numbers were still excellent. If one were scrolling through his splits on FanGraphs, they wouldn't know that was when the struggles began. However, August was a catastrophic mess. For starters, he slashed .180/.204/.260 with an OPS+ of 31 and wRC+ of 28. Not great! He also struck out 33 times in 103 plate appearances, the highest total of any month in 2022.

The good news is that Torres appears to be stabilizing again. After being unable to hit offspeed pitches to save his life, his swing has a more controlled and focused intent. He's seeing everything better in the box, and the numbers reflect that sentiment. In the limited September sample size, he's hitting .220 despite still striking out 24.4 percent of the time. Walking and getting on base could still use some work, but the power has returned, which is a huge step. He's slugging .463, which is third over the season — his wRC+ is back up to 114 too.

Overall, Torres hasn't had a bad season. He's hit 21 home runs, posted a 1.5 fWAR and 2.9 bWAR, and earned 7 DRS with 0 OAA at second base. On the Statcast side, he's hitting the ball hard — 73rd percentile in average exit velocity and 74th percentile in hard hit percentage — which is an excellent sign. But the thought turns to what kind of season he could be having if it weren't for one of the worst months we've seen out of the young infielder.

Steamer projects Torres to finish with a 117 wRC+ and an OPS of .758. It would be his third time in five seasons finishing with an OPS over .750 and the third time with a wRC+ of over 110. The good news is that it shouldn't be a problem if he keeps swinging the bat the way he is currently. The young Venezuelan is a talented player with plenty of value to provide. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the kind of reactions he was getting from the fanbase during his terrible stretch out of the All-Star break.

Things were not great for the team, and Torres struggling was not going to help bring anybody back to grips. But those kinds of months can make people question the validity of a player's performance. When the highs are high, everything is excellent, but especially in a market like New York, where greatness is expected, the lows can have fans, media members, and even the team front office questioning your spot on the team.

While months like that have been few and far between for Torres, it's important to remember that his name was thrown around in trade rumors. But he's still in New York, hitting the ball like he's known to do. His bases-clearing, three RBI double (pounded at 110 MPH, by the way) that ended up being the winner in an extra innings game against the Boston Red Sox is the perfect example.

No matter his poor performance during a particular month or month and a half, it should be well documented that Torres' slumps happen, and he finds a way to return to his usual form. His second-half numbers are not the prettiest, but the Yankees need him back for the postseason, and he's continuing to show signs of life.