Sunday, May 9, 2021

Make no mistake: The fate of the Yankees still hinges on Gleyber Torres

It seems weird to note, but yesterday's Yankee batting hero didn't belt a homer. Nope. Gleyber Torres went 2 for 5 with two singles and two RBIs. Both hits resounded: one tied the game, one won it, and neither was spanked. One floated to right-center, and one wobbled down the third base line. That's okay. As Horton the elephant would say, "A ribby's a ribby, no matter how small." And these days, one game above .500, the Death Barge will take whatever it can get.

We are now six weeks into the Great 2021 Gleyber Experiment, in which we sought to convert an all-star 2B into a formidable SS, creating the next Jeter. (Or you might say the next Didi, or even our response to the Mets' Francisco Lindor.) 

Here's where everything stands. Among MLB shortstops, Gleyber ranks:

18th in OPS with a meager .623. (Three slots below Didi Gregorius, and one ahead of Lindor, who has been booed.) 

21st in RBIs, with 7. (Didi has 22; Lindor 6.)

14th in batting average, at .241. (Didi at .234; Lindor at .190.)

30th in homers, having yet to hit one. (Didi has 4, Lindor 2.)

15th in errors, with four (Didi has 6, Lindor 2.)

14th in fielding percentage, at .969. (Didi ranks 25th, Lindor 10th.)

If you want a quickie comparison between the '21 Yanks and first-place Redsocks, consider the SS position. Boston's Xander Bogaerts is having an MVP season: 7 HRs, 20 RBIs and a .357 average, third among all MLB hitters. The Redsock offense has boiled behind him. (He bats cleanup behind Verdugo - .311 - and Martinez - .339. Ouch.)

So... where are we?  

1. The numbers don't lie: Thus far, Gleyber has been mediocre, like the Yankees. 

2. His fielding has improved after the retirement of Jay Bruce, who tried gamely but failed at 1B. 

3. Nothing suggests he is heating up. Over the last week, Gleyber is 4 for 18. In the month of May, six for 22. 

4. He had a rotten 2020: .243 with3 HRs and 16 RBIs. (The MLB leader, Jose Abreu, had 60.) The Yankees later pooh-poohed his troubles, blaming the pandemic and even suggesting that Gleyber arrived in camp out of shape. Weird.

5. The future of the Yankees hinges on their lone young, ascending everyday starter: Gleyber is 24.

6. It's time to ponder the possibility that this is not a slump but the new normal. 

So... have I completely depressed you? 

Because yesterday did bring a laser beam of hope. Two key hits, which helped the Yankees avoid a three-game losing streak and a lost series, as they prepare to hit Tampa, their new City of Death.  

I don't suggest that Aaron Boone benches Gleyber. Really, what option does he have? Tyler Wade cannot hit, Gio Urshela is having trouble enough staying healthy at 3B, and down in Scranton, Kyle Holder has yet to get a hit in 2021. We have one shortstop, one future, and it is Gleyber.

So... we wait and watch. But make no mistake: The player who matters most is not our DH or our RF, or even the all-purpose LeMahieu. It's the guy who plays Jeter's position, and thus far, he hasn't been very good. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boston's SS has 20 RBI and Gleyber has just 7. So that 13 RBI difference is probably good for at least 3 wins, maybe 4. Roughly estimating, we've played 1/5 of the season. 4 wins times 5 is 20 wins. That's basically the difference b/w a team that has a cleanup hitter driving in runs and an offense like ours that flat out sucks. The difference b/w first place and mediocrity.

The win yesterday was about as flat a win as you can get. A dribbler that couldn't break a pane of glass, that five infielders couldn't field. Not exactly an exhilarating exhibition of skillful play, this game. It was so boring that I dosed off for about 4 innings. But we finally stole one that the other team deserved to win.

I don't know if Gleyber will wake up. Perhaps this is all that he is. Across the water, Francisco Lindor is stuggling just as badly, although it looks like he is starting to break out of his funk. So Gleyber is not alone in his offensive struggles. Half the hitters in the majors are hitting under .200. There were a lot of good signs yesterday. We hit a couple of balls through holes and went the other way, winning a magic runner/extra inning affair.

The Hammer of God

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


Ham's statement that "half the hitters" are under .200 woke me up. Went to MLB's stats page, sorted by BA.

There are 166 "qualified" guys listed there. Of those, 22 are hitting below .200. So I guess it only seems that way -- but, wait --

With 30 teams, there should be upwards of 350 hitters, right? A bunch did not qualify (in plate appearances). You can choose to get a listing of "All players" instead -- there are 35 pages of this. Lots of people hitting .000.

So Ham could still be VERY right!

=====

Somehow, the NYYs are underrepresented below the line -- only 1 of the 22 (guy who plays CF and switch-hits) is a Yankee.

Re-sorted by OBP, 42 guys are under .300 in OBP. Again, only 1 Yankee among the 42, and it's the same doo-hickey.

Stat page is here: https://www.mlb.com/stats/ -- there are 6 after it for qualifiers. You can sort by any of the headings.

======

Mike Trout with an OPS of 1.230 is #1. Top Yankee is #19, GStanton (OPS = .911).

2nd-ranked Yankee, at #50, is AJudge (OPS = .819).

So the NYYs have 2 of the top 50 ranked batters.

But wait --

GO TO THE NYY page, and select stats, and there are 16 hitters presented. Not counting Wade (batting .200) and Miggy (.000) -- there are still SEVEN hitters beneath 200 --

jeeeeesh!

(and Tauchman, listed, is one of the 7 above .200 -- means we've got 6 guys currently on the team above .200. Including Ursh, who is hurt, and Higgy, who may be fading a bit)

NYY stat page -- https://www.mlb.com/yankees/stats/batting-average?playerPool=ALL

=====

Yes, I realize batting average is an ancient, discarded stat. But it still seems to matter. Yankees rank 11th in the AL in BA, with .223. 5th in OBP at .318. 8th in OPS, with .701.

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

Until Torres is moved backed to his natural position I don't think you can count on him to be what he has already shown to be... average in field and just slightly better at the plate albeit his numbers so far are below average. This team as constructed just doesn't have that magic that will get you excited for deep playoff run to WS.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I've been pleased to see more hustle—"ginger," as they used to call it—out of Gleyber, as seen in his three-steal run the other day, along with much better fielding, and some willingness to take what he's given and hit to the opposite field.

But overall...yes, he seems hugely diminished as a player...

JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER BUDDING SUPERSTAR FROM THE CLASS OF 2017.

Judge is trending rapidly downward. Miggy and Sevvy are still trying to recover from devastating injuries—as they have been for YEARS. Frazier is still frustratingly inconsistent. Monty is mediocre. Bird is a gone goose, as is Dustin Fowler, with Sanchez soon to follow.

All the legions of "can't-miss" young pitchers we were bringing up...missed. Estevan Florial...has a high ceiling.

MORE THAN COINCIDENCE???

Everyone gets hurt. No one gets better. Ladies and gentlemen, your New York Yankees.

Kevin said...

Judge "rested".

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