Will This New York Yankee Be Comeback Player Of The Year?
Baseball coaches will tell you that young players will often struggle offensively, if they are not comfortable at their defensive position. Even in the Major Leagues, strong offensive players that are bounced around to unfamiliar positions in the field can encounter simultaneous difficulties at the plate. Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets is a prime example. The Yankees have their own case in point and they hope to fix that in 2022.
Last season, Gleyber Torres was moved from his preferred second base position to shortstop. Torres had played shortstop but not on a full-time basis. The move was a disaster in the field and at the plate. The two-time All Star hit only 9 home runs and had the worst OPS of his young career at .697. Times have changed this spring training.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have declared that Torres will be the Pinstripes primary second baseman this season. That displaces 3-time gold glove winner, oh yeah and two-time batting champion, DJ LeMahieu. You have to have be thought of pretty highly to displace a guy with those credentials.
The decision to put Gleyber Torres at second and leave him there is paying off this spring. The 25 year-old Venezuelan continued his blistering spring on Monday by hitting a home run to right-center off lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez on the first pitch of the game against the Tigers. Torres is now 8-for-19, hitting .421 so far this spring.
Newsday.com's Anthony Rieber reported that manager Aaron Boone said he’s noticed that Torres is using his lower half much more than he has in recent years. Reiber said that Torres agreed, saying he’s gone back to what worked for him in the past.
Torres told newsday.com, “Overall, I feel really good and confident in myself. I tried to change my mechanics a little bit. For sure, I lost power and I used too much of my upper body. Doing this for long as a player, you think too much, and I tried to fix everything in one day. Mentality-wise, it’s try to be a little more consistent, my work, my routine, and be focused with the hitting coach. Every conversation, I ask how he sees me. He tries to be on top of that situation and just be more focused in those little things because I know it helped me a lot.”
If this spring is an indication of things to come, Gleyber Torres is back. That isn't good news for Major League pitchers. The two-time All Star is young and only getting better. After the numbers he posted his first two seasons in the Bronx, that is a scary thought. This should be an awesome year for Gleyber.