Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on shortstop.
The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the league’s best defensive shortstops who also packs some pop with the bat. In this series, we will preview how the rest of the American League East stacks up to the Rays at the most skilled defensive position on the infield. On Deck: New York Yankees
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
AL East SS Team Previews
New York Yankees
New York Yankees Fangraphs 2020 Projected SS WAR: 4.2
The Yankees infield is a little more settled heading into this season with the departure of Didi Gregorius. Last season, Gleyber Torres split his time between second and shortstop. This season, the shortstop position is all his.
Much like his counterpart in Boston, Torress boasts a powerful bat with negative defensive value. Again, when you put up numbers like Torress has in his young career, the defensive deficiencies tend to get overlooked.
Gleyber Torres 2019 Stats:
.278/.337/.535, 38 HR, 90 RBI, 128 OPS+
Torress has spent two seasons in the major leagues and has made two All-Star games. After just 267 career games he has a 162-game average of 38 homers. By the way, the kid is just 23-years-old.
Torres came to the Yankees as the key piece in a trade sending Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for their postseason run. It was a steep price to pay but the Cubs’ front office has no regrets about parting ways with Gleyber since trading him helped them win the World Series.
The Yankees are hopeful that he’ll be able to adapt and improve his defense to at least league average as he posted -13 defensive runs saved last season. The silver lining is that -12 of that came while playing second base. In fact, for his major league career, he’s posted an rDRS/year of -4 defensive runs saved while playing shortstop.
Torress is near league-average now and with a full season to work on his craft, he should be more than fine defensively. Either way, he’s one of the best-hitting shortstops in the game and he’s only getting started.