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Sadly, Gleyber Torres performed a reasonably large function within the Yankees’ disappointing 2020 marketing campaign. Dreadful protection, a mediocre offensive efficiency (106 wRC+), and a short injured record stint marred Gleyber’s third season in pinstripes. It was a far cry from what he had carried out in his age-21 and 22 seasons. Let’s break it down.
The place’d the ability go?
After a formidable energy show in every of his first two massive league seasons, Torres couldn’t discover his energy stroke through the common season in 2020. Final 12 months, Gleyber swatted 38 dingers in 604 plate appearances and recorded a gaudy .256 remoted energy. That got here proper after 24 dingers and a .209 remoted energy in his rookie marketing campaign. This 12 months? 3 lengthy balls in 160 journeys to the plate and a .125 ISO.
We wrote in regards to the 23 year-old’s offensive struggles on three separate events through the 60-game slate. He seemed unhealthy early on, continued to wrestle into mid-August, and remained punchless in September. There have been various issues that have been troubling which we addressed, together with lacking hittable pitches and being overly passive on the dish. Now that we have now the complete season within the rearview mirror, we will take a extra healthful have a look at what went awry.
First, a have a look at what Torres did towards pitches by zone location vs. final 12 months:
There’s only one sq. within the strike zone the place Gleyber improved in comparison with final 12 months: middle-in. In every single place else is a stark lower. How does that occur? I’m certain a part of it may be attributed to an absence of aggression. Simply look:
A number of the modifications listed here are fairly vital. The 2020 plot simply screams of passivity and never improved self-discipline. Certain, he laid off much more pitches out of the zone, however on the similar time, his in-zone aggression was unhealthy. Simply have a look at the 15 p.c lower in swing share on middle-middle pitches. So, it ought to come as no shock that Torres’s meatball swing share went from 84.9 p.c in 2019 to 69.8 p.c this season. That sort of strategy is admittedly going to sap energy.
Strategy is vital for Gleyber’s success on the plate as a result of he’s not precisely a Statcast darling within the first place. Final 12 months, even with the massive energy output, he was within the forty sixth and thirty fifth percentiles in Exit Velocity and Exhausting Hit share, respectively. This 12 months: forty fifth and forty second. However as a result of he was well aggressive final season, Torres had a seventieth percentile barrel fee vs. simply thirteenth this season. In English: Torres isn’t a man who hits the ball overly onerous, so he must have a sound plan within the batter’s field to succeed. That’s not one thing he appeared to have in 2020.
Assessing his play at shortstop
Torres took over the mantle at shortstop from Didi Gregorius this 12 months, however didn’t impress. He made 9 errors, 4 fielding and 5 throwing, in 40 video games on the place. Final 12 months, Torres began 73 video games at shortstop, principally whereas Gregorius was on the injured record, and made 11 errors (5 fielding, six throwing).
Nobody was anticipating Torres to be a gold glover at brief. I do know that Randy had issues about his glovework coming into this season. However on the similar time, I don’t suppose anybody anticipated issues to be this unhealthy. Whether or not it was the attention take a look at or defensive metrics, nothing shined favorable on Gleyber’s protection this season. Let’s have a look at a number of the numbers:
Yikes yikes yikes. DRS and UZR had him because the worst defender at his place. Gleyber additionally had the bottom fielding share amongst shortstops. In the meantime, Statcast’s OAA had him because the 2nd-worst defensive shortstop within the league this season, solely forward of Tampa Bay’s Willy Adames.
Aaron Boone famous within the season’s autopsy press convention that Torres can do higher with the routine play. He’s not mistaken. Have a look.
That error within the first clip was in Recreation 5 of the ALDS and was an actual present to the Rays. It pressured Gerrit Cole’s pitch rely up within the crew’s most pivotal sport of the season. Clearly, there are different issues at fault for the Yanks’ loss to Tampa Bay in that sequence and Recreation 5, however that error was pivotal too.
Now, on the similar time, shortstop simply won’t be Gleyber’s finest match. Anecdotally, Torres seemed far more snug at second base in prior years. I’m certain we wouldn’t thoughts seeing him slide again over to the keystone in 2021 if it meant he’d have a brand new double play associate in Francisco Lindor. And that’s nothing towards DJ LeMahieu, in fact.
It wasn’t all unhealthy
I don’t like that this whole piece has been a downer to date. Earlier than closing out, permit me to notice a number of good issues for Torres in 2020.
Torres set a career-high in on-base share (.356) due to a 13.8 p.c stroll fee, additionally a lifetime finest. Now, an enormous a part of that has to do together with his aforementioned overly passive strategy this 12 months. Nonetheless, it is a optimistic. Even with out the ability of prior years, Torres discovered a distinct method to contribute.
It’s additionally price noting that regardless that Torres by no means rediscovered his energy stroke, he really was fairly good for an excellent portion of the season. From August eighth and onward, the shortstop hit .298/.426/.447 (148 wRC+) in 115 plate appearances. That got here after a .119/.178/.190 (-1 wRC+) begin in his first 45 alternatives. Once more, the ability didn’t actually come round through the common season, however different aspects of his sport did.
Gleyber additionally shined on the plate in October. In 30 plate appearances, Torres had a .435/.567/.696 (246 wRC+) and hit two dingers.
Torres additionally led the Yankees in championship win likelihood added (+3.25 p.c), principally from his destruction of Cleveland pitching. Torres reached base in 8 of 10 alternatives within the Wild Card sequence and launched a dinger towards Shane Bieber. Within the ALDS, Torres hit a reasonably large homer in Recreation 4’s victory:
Hopefully a greater 2021 on the plate and within the discipline. I’m not so involved in regards to the bat and am keen to put in writing off what occurred this 12 months beneath the umbrella of the final terribleness of 2020. However the protection was one thing many have been apprehensive about coming into this 12 months and his future place continues to be up within the air.
Brian Cashman did word that the entrance workplace will consider all prospects on the place, although he additionally identified that he nonetheless believes Torres can play shortstop adequately. In any case, I feel solely Lindor may bump him from the place in 2021. In any other case, anticipate the Yankees to offer Gleyber yet another likelihood on the place. If that doesn’t go effectively, subsequent winter’s shortstop free agent class is stacked.