Is Gleyber Torres going the Rizzo way?

Gleyber Torres is seen during the Yankees vs. Braves game in Atlanta on Aug 16, 2023.
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Yankees’ Gleyber Torres is having a tough time maintaining his performance. He used to be one of the team’s most reliable hitters throughout the season. But in the recent 5-0 loss to the Braves, he hit two double plays. This is part of a worrisome pattern he has been facing to the dismay of the Yankees.

In the past six games, Gleyber Torres has hit the ball in a way that has led to six double plays. This is something that has never happened before in the Yankees’ history, according to Stathead. This has made it harder for the team to score points during a tough period.

Even many think he is following Anthony Rizzo, who has a similar performance this season — a frustrating and long rut after a good start.

Gleyber Torres’ unfortunate record

On Tuesday night, Gleyber Torres did something that made him stand out in the history of the Yankees team. But unfortunately, it’s not the type of achievement you’d want to be known for. He hit a ground ball to the third baseman in the seventh inning. This play led to a record that is not so good for the Yankees. Gleyber Torres became the first Yankee player ever to hit six double plays in just six games, as pointed out by Katie Sharp from Stathead.

There are only three teams that have hit into more double plays than Gleyber Torres did at the same time. Right now, he has hit 17 double plays this season, which is tied for the fourth most in the history of baseball. 

Gleyber Torres and his son watching his mobile at Yankee Stadium.

According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, there had been a bit of a few-day struggle for Gleyber Torres and he had been hitting the ball on the ground more frequently. At the same time, Boone also noted that he is quite skilled at avoiding such situations.

“Just a little bit of a few-day funk for him where he’s been putting it on the ground a little bit,” Boone said of Gleyber Torres. “Usually he does a good job of avoiding that as much as anyone, really.”

In the first 113 games he played at the beginning of the season, Gleyber Torres hit the ball in a way that led to 11 double plays. But recently, in his last six games, he hit the ball in a way that caused six double plays. This sudden increase has now put him in fourth place for the most double plays in the entire league this season, with a total of 17.

On Tuesday, both times Gleyber Torres hit into double plays happened right after Aaron Judge started an inning with a walk. In total, the Yankees made 21 outs during the game against the Braves’ pitcher Bryce Elder, and out of those, 12 outs were made by hitting the ball on the ground.

Boone defended his second baseman

Following the game, the Yankees’ manager, Aaron Boone, supported his second baseman. He said that the player was having a bit of a rough time this week, even though he usually doesn’t hit the ball on the ground much. Boone continued to stand by his words on Wednesday afternoon.

Gleyber Torres
credit: New York Post

Boone commented that Gleyber Torres had been doing a good job offensively and was typically not someone who hit the ball on the ground. Boone pointed out that Gleyber Torres was skilled at getting the ball in the air or hitting it on a line consistently, which was one of his strengths.

“I think Gleyber has done a really nice job offensively, he’s one of those guys that’s been as consistent as anyone,” Boone said. “Gleyber is one of our guys that does a good job of not putting the ball on the ground typically, he’s a guy that gets the ball in the air and gets the ball on a line pretty consistently, something he does really well.”

Boone’s opinion matches Gleyber Torres’ performance this year. He has been possibly the Yankees’ most reliable hitter throughout the year and has a ground ball rate of 38.7%. In 2023, only 42 other qualified hitters in MLB have a lower ground ball rate than Gleyber Torres.

Another reason for Gleyber Torres’ recent stretch of bad luck is that he’s batting right after Aaron Judge. During Tuesday’s game, Judge started the inning by walking twice. Unfortunately, both times Torres came up to bat, he hit into double plays, which means Judge was taken out quickly from second base. For the final game of the series in Atlanta on Wednesday, Gleyber Torres and Judge switched their positions in the lineup. According to Boone, this change wasn’t directly due to Gleyber Torres hitting into double plays a lot. It was mainly because the Yankees wanted to “mix things up” while they were looking for ways to improve their performance on offense.

The Yankees manager also noted that teams were becoming cautious when pitching to Aaron Judge. With Gleyber Torres before him, the Yankees plan to create more chances.

“Obviously teams are pitching carefully, understandably, to Aaron,” he said. “If we can get an extra opportunity to get a guy on the front of him, if Aaron continues to get on like he does, it’s a chance for someone in the middle to come up with a big one to hopefully put some crooked numbers on.”

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