Gleyber Torres is currently the leader in at-bats of the week. He has competed with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton for the best hitter on the team. He is either putting the ball in play with authority or drawing a key walk. Last Friday against Cole Irvin, I witnessed one of the best at-bats from his career. He did not give in and took athletic swing after athletic swing before Irvin finally missed ball four out of the zone. The at-bat was 12 pitches, so let’s jump into it while I have your attention.
Pitch 1 (0-0 count)
Gleyber has been taking first pitches in almost all of his at-bats. He has been very strategic in his aggression, and this at-bat was no different.
Pitch 2 (1-0 count)
When a hitter is patient early in the count, it’s perfect to lay in a curveball like Irvin did here. It’s a great opportunity to get back into the count if you’re behind like he was here. A hitter simply will not swing at it unless they’re sitting on the pitch, but hitters don’t sit on curveballs. In a 1-2 count, look for Irvin to challenge Gleyber around the edges.
Pitch 3 (1-1 count)
I appreciate Irvin forcing Torres to beat him with a good location. This pitch at the very top of the zone is hard to get on top of, even if it’s only a 93 mph fastball. Like we saw in the last at-bat of the week, Torres took a solid swing with only one strike in the count. He’s living by the philosophy that the first two strikes are yours and the second is the team’s.
Pitch 4 (1-2 count)
Ooof, this is not a good 1-2 pitch. It’s your chance to get a groundball double play and it slips out of your hand. It happens. After this, you have to flush the past and focus on executing the 2-2 pitch. From Gleyber’s perspective, you’re feeling confident that Irvin doesn’t have his best stuff and you can battle back even in a two strike count.
Pitch 5 (2-2 count)
I love the intent in Gleyber’s stance and leg kick this year. He is getting into an athletic position right away and getting into his load with purpose. With this athleticism he assured he will not be beat by a fastball and will be adjustable to slower speeds. This was so close to being a barrel. If Irvin went here again, I’d expect a barrel.
Pitch 6 (2-2 count, take 2)
This is what I was talking about with being adjustable to slower speeds. He decelerated his body once he recognized the loop and got his foot down in time to spoil a curveball on the backdoor corner. After this, he spoiled a curve and inside sinker. The expectation would be a fastball out of the zone or changeup out of the zone for the next pitch.
Pitch 7 (2-2 count, take 3)
You’re just not going to beat him on a fastball in the zone! You either have to get it out of the zone or stop throwing the pitch. Otherwise, you’re not beating him.
Pitch 8 (2-2 count, take 4)
This is basically a repeat of the previous two pitch sequence. My guess is that Adley and Irvin wanted to get a groundball, and the curve is the pitch to do it. But Gleyber proved previously that it would have to take something else to beat him. This spoil was even better than the previous one. Run back the 2-2 count for the fifth time!
Pitch 9 (2-2 count, take 5)
Okay, maybe not that far out of the zone? Another uncompetitive pitch from Irvin in at-bat where Torres was clearly in the driver’s seat. I truly don’t know where he should have gone with the next pitch. A pitch out of the zone risks a walk, and a fastball in the zone is likely to be barreled if you’re using the previous swings as prior knowledge.
Pitch 10 (3-2 count)
He was so close! A smidge more in the zone and this is hard contact. Respect to Irvin to executing on the location and making it hard on the Yankees’ second baseman, but once again, it’s clear he is not beating Torres in the zone with a fastball.
Pitch 11 (3-2 count, take 2)
I’m surprised Irvin didn’t go the changeup in the middle stages of this at-bat. Although Gleyber got a barrel on this, he was off balance for the first time in the at-bat. If I’m Irvin, I’m going back to this pitch to try and get soft contact.
Pitch 12 (3-2 count, take 3)
They opted for the curveball, and Gleyber tracked it easily as it landed a few inches out of the zone. This felt like an at-bat that he was destined to win with hard contact, but a walk is a win. It’s just another example of how great he has been to start the season. If he continues to play like this, he has a career year in store.