Gleyber Torres / Captura MLB Network
Venezuelan Gleyber Torres will no longer be the shortstop for the New York Yankees. He is a waiter again, to a degree that some have waited for weeks, even months, albeit for different reasons.
The Torres debate comes from last year, when Didi Gregorius left as a free agent and vacated his position, forcing the move. The tirade in the media and among fans worsened in early 2021, due to a defensive slump that the infielder suffered at the beginning of the campaign. And for the offensive downturn, which is already going for two tournaments.
Manager Aaron Boone made the announcement Monday. The man from Caracas returns to second base, which was his original position in the Bronx.
“It’s about taking the pressure off him,” Boone said before playing the game against the Minnesota Twins, according to the newspaper. New York Post and other means. “I think today is the day to make this move.”
The Colombian Gio Urshela will be, from now on, who will guard the short stops most of the time. DJ LeMahieu, the 2020 bat champion, will perform in the hot corner. The Venezuelan Rougned Odor will have to help from the bench.
The Yankees took the victory with their new lineup. Torres had no demands in the middle. And although he had no hits, he scored the winning run.
But what was left of the nearly two-year ordeal, for which Torres temporarily returned to the position of his loves?
The man from Caracas signed as a shortstop when he made his leap to professional in 2013, when he was still a teenager.
As shortstop he came to the New Yorkers, already a super prospect, in the famous change that sent Cuban Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for the final stretch of 2016. But it was in second where he looked better.
Torres has a 9-inning Range Factor of 3.51 as shortstop, below the 3.79 average among his fellow MLB positioners. His defensive WAR as measured by Baseball Reference is minus 0.5. According to Total Zone, he has dropped in the number of runs saved, which was positive in May and is now minus 12, when contrasted with the MLB average. Its UZR / 150 index, calculated by Fangraphs, is also negative, at minus 1.3.
Even his fielding percentage dropped. Three months ago, it was over .970 and now it’s .954, thanks to 18 errors.
Torres has spent a lot of time defending at shortstop. His work to improve with the glove has been highlighted by Boone and general manager Brian Cashman not infrequently. But the positive signs that loomed in May they experienced setbacks in all statistics.
And his offensive production, in parallel, has been the shadow with respect to the past. Between 2018 and 2019 he hit .275, with 62 homers and an .849 OPS, plus two All-Star calls. Between 2020 and 2021 he is hitting .248, with 10 homers and a .683 OPS.
Boone admitted that the constant debate and determination to improve at short stops has become a distraction, a constant weight on the Venezuelan’s shoulders.
“Last week he had problems with his defense and it definitely weighed him down,” acknowledged the pilot. “I think sometimes its drawbacks become an issue. A play becomes a novel that spans a long time. And at times that has been really unfair. There have been long periods in which he has had a really stable performance with the glove ”.
Torres looks better in middle. His Reach Factor there is about the same as in the league, counting from when he came to the Major Leagues (4.00 vs. 4.11). In 2019, her only full-time year in adultery, she had a defensive bWAR in blue numbers, not reds (plus 0.9). His fielding percentage there is .969, to .950 at shortstop.
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The corpulence of Caracas has been a help to hit home runs and be a danger with the wood. But measuring 1.85 meters, weighing more than 90 kilograms, represents a challenge to maintain the necessary range in the middle of the frame.
Perhaps, as Boone acknowledges, the time has come to remove him from the center of the controversy and allow him to flourish again in all his capacities, those that made him one of the most recognized faces in the new generation of bigleaguers. The time has come to let him be where he is best, and let him play in peace.