It is Hot Stove League 2022-23, and Gleyber Torres‘s name keeps coming up — Yank fans either want to trade him or keep him.
- NY is anticipating the arrival of top prospect Anthony Volpe this coming season, as well as expecting top prospect Oswald Peraza to take shortstop from Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
- The Yankees still have Josh Donaldson for 3rd base, and DJ LeMahieu for 3rd and 2nd as well.
That’s too many infielders.
Volpe is a shortstop — but NY could target him for 2nd base or 3rd base.
The Yankees lost Andrew Benintendi to free agency, meaning only Oswaldo Cabrera is ticketed for left field unless NY makes a trade to add another veteran hitter to the lineup.
And so the name Gleyber Torres keeps coming up in trade rumors or suggestions.
Once Upon a Time
Gleyber Torres was once himself one of the elite prospects in baseball. The Yankees got him from the Cubs for Aroldis Chapman and Torres electrified NY in his rookie season of 2018. At age 21, he finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting after slashing a 24-77-.271 (.340 OBP).
He had an even better 2nd season — 38-90-.278 (.337 OBP) and Yank fans projected him to be on track as one of the great Yankees ever.
Then came COVID and a partial 2020 season during which Torres hit poorly (3-16-.243 (.356 OBP) in 134 at bats) but it was dismissed as an aberration (although the OBP was pretty good) — and for seemingly forever, Yankee fans said he was “only 23 years old”.
Then came the end of the lively ball era, and Torres seemed affected — hitting only 9 homers in 2021 (slash line of 9-51-.259 (.331)), and now — Torres is a veteran.
The Case for Keeping Gleyber
There are a number of good reasons for keeping Gleyber Torres as the 2nd baseman for the forseeable future:
In 2022, Torres had a rejuvenation season. He was uneven — red hot at times, stone cold at times — but finished with a 24-76-.257 (.310 OBP) slash line. Those numbers are very similar to his Rookie of the Year numbers (24-77-.271 (.340 OBP)) — but came in a year of historically low batting averages.
Amongst 2nd basemen in the American League, Gleyber was:
- 4th in batting average
- 3rd in OBP
- 3rd in OPS
- 3rd in Slugging
Aka — Gleyber Torres is one of the best 3 offensive 2nd basemen in the American League.
With the elimination of the shift for 2023, expect Gleyber’s batting average to increase.
His defense — once subpar — improved to being Gold Glove-esq last season.
He stole 10 bases last year; got caught 5 times. In 2021, he stole 14 bases and was caught 6 times.
With the new only-2-pickoff-attempt rule for pitchers taking effect in 2023, expect Gleyber’s stolen base number to rise significantly.
Gleyber isn’t 23 anymore. But he is only just turned 26 years old on December 13. He’s still very young. Most hitters hit their peak between age 28-32 yrs of age.
Note these lifetime slash lines per 162 games:
- Gleyber Torres: 28-87-.265 (.331 OBP)
- Carlos Correa: 28-101-.279 (.357 OBP)
Gleyber made $6.25 M last year, and is under team control (arbitration eligible) into 2025 — meaning he is eligible to become a free agent in 2025. So the Yankees have him for the next 2 years at a very affordable salary.
Our overall recommendation is to Keep Gleyber Torres. He played like an All Star for most of last season. Volpe can slot into 3rd base. We still have to see how he and Peraza hit in the big leagues.
Gleyber’s 38-HR year seems an aberration due to the lively ball; but then also the 9-HR may have been due to him being switched to shortstop that year, and spending his time concentrating on fielding the position. Gleyber’s numbers last year were very similar to his rookie season, meaning he’s a 25+ homer guy who bats .270 with an OBP that is typically in the .330’s — and his defense at 2nd last season was Gold Glove-esq.
On top of all that, there is a marketing thing — Gleyber has spent his entire career in pinstripes, and there is something to that. Fans love to root for players they feel are ‘their own’; Yankees through and through.
Also don’t discount Oswaldo Cabrera needing any help manning left field on a permanent basis. He ripped thru the Yankee Minor League system, hitting at every level — and electrified NY with his hitting and defense last year.
Final Opinion: KEEP GLEYBER TORRES