Going into the 2018 regular season, the New York Yankees were viewed by some as the most well-rounded team in Major League Baseball. And despite their slow start to the year, the Bronx Bombers have rebounded and do, in fact, possess the best record in the game (37-17). More significantly, the recent emergence of infielder Gleyber Torres has the Yankees on the verge of a dynasty.
The date was April 22: It was Torres’ much-anticipated MLB debut. Unfortunately for the Yankees’ faithful, the 21-year-old disappointed going 0-for-4. But he picked himself up and is showing why management is so high on him. Going into Saturday night, Torres was hitting .325 to go along with nine home runs and 27 RBIs. He’s getting on base, showcasing the ability to hit at a high level, and is taking the Yankees’ offensive firepower to new levels.
Going into Saturday night, the Yankees were second in runs scored (303) and first in home runs hit (88). And when you consider the fact that Torres is excelling at the plate with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Miguel Andujar (who’s been great at third base and is hitting for contact) and Giancarlo Stanton by his side, the Yankees lineup may be the best grouping baseball has to offer.
The Yankees acquired Torres as the focal point of a trade sending closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in 2016. And while many were high on the infielder blossoming into an everyday player, it appeared as if he may become trade bait before this season as the Yankees had a plethora of prospects and little to no starting jobs for the taking.
Instead, Torres has forced the issue, been a potent force at the plate, and may be the team’s second baseman of the future. Ironically, the Yankees ended up signing back Chapman in free agency the offseason after they traded him, and based on the way Torres is producing in his rookie season, that swap may go down as one of the best transactions in franchise history. Sure, he has to improve his play in the field and become better on the basepaths, but the rookie’s bat is outweighing his woes.The @Yankees are building a potentially dynastic team, and rookie infielder @TorresGleyber is a big reason as to why.Click To Tweet
An intersting wrinkle to Torres’ success is the fact that he’s hitting at or near the bottom of manager Aaron Boone‘s order. It is a bit odd that Boone isn’t hitting someone who is playing at the level that Torres is in a power spot or, at the very least, higher up in the order. But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And, the rookie hitting that low in the order balances out the Yankees lineup and makes things more challenging for the rest of the American League, especially in potential postseason play.
The Houston Astros have the best rotation in baseball. Whether it be Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, or Lance McCullers, there’s no off-day, so to speak, versus the Astros. With that said, the Yankees are 5-2 versus the Astros this season and have proven that they can win in the Bronx and on the road (the Yankees took three out of four games in Houston and two out of three in New York against the Astros). They’ve also gone 3-3 versus the Boston Red Sox and swept the Cleveland Indians at home. Simply put: The Yankees can compete with other powerhouse ballclubs.
Year in and out, youngsters have come on the scene and become a focal part of the Yankees’ future. In 2015, Greg Bird showcased the ability to be a power lefty bat, and the organization refuses to lose faith in him to this day. The ensuing year, Gary Sanchez took the league by storm at the plate when he was sent up from Triple-A in August. Last season, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino established themselves as arguably the team’s two most prominent figures. This year, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar have been the story.
Can the Yankees be the team that represents the American League in the World Series? While they very well could be, general manager Brian Cashman would be wise to get busy on the phones and engage in trade talks for top-of-the-rotation pitchers considering how the Yankees rotation has been hot and cold. Texas Rangers lefty Cole Hamels and Detroit Tigers righty Michael Fulmer are two of the more notable arms poised to be included in trade talks before the MLB trade deadline. While they would likely pursue only one starter via trade, the Yankees certainly have the farm system and depth to swing a number of deals for starting pitching. They could center trades around outfielder Clint Frazier, lefty Justus Sheffield, and/or righty Chance Adams. But, at this point, the Yankees will be hanging up the phone on any trade that involves Torres.
This season was supposed to be about Judge and Stanton being in the same lineup and this team playing in the World Series — which is looking like a legitimate possibility. But beyond this year, the Yankees can only get better. You could make the case that neither Judge (26), Sanchez (25), Torres (21), Andujar (23), or Bird (25) have hit their ceilings at the plate or in the field. Then, you throw in Stanton (28) being under contract for the long run, and Gregorius (28) being under contract for another season, and the Yankees have a core that’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future — outside of potentially Gregorius. If they make a move for starting pitching and/or bolster their bullpen at the trade deadline or in the offseason, the Yankees will be entering a new dynasty.
Torres is hitting at an All-Star level making what’s already a lethal Yankees lineup even better; it’s a core that’s destined to be the driving force of a World Series contender for the next five years (at least).
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