At this point, Gleyber Torres’ slump isn’t just some outlying flash in the pan.
The Yankees are into their fourth month of a disappointing season that has seen them fall woefully short of early-2021 expectations that projected them breezing through the American League East on their way to a pennant.
While the pitching has been suspect — headlined by the new-found struggles of Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman after MLB’s crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances — and the offense has been sputtering, the Yankees’ star shortstop has been a shell of his former self this season.
After slashing .271/.340/.493 with an .834 OPS over his first three MLB seasons, Torres is batting a measly .238 with a .635 OPS with just three home runs and 26 RBI in 72 games.
The loss of power has been dramatic considering Torres was averaging 22 home runs per season and an even more impressive 35 round-trippers per 162 games entering this year.
All the while, there has been little evidence that the 24-year-old will be able to pull himself out of this, especially as of late. Over his last 18 games heading into Tuesday night’s action against the Seattle Mariners, Torres is 7-for-63 (.111/.223/.127) with a .320 OPS, three RBI, and 22 strikeouts.
It’s left the Yankees searching for answers, as manager Aaron Boone attempted to diagnose Torres’ struggles last week.
“I think it’s mechanical,’’ he said. “I think physically, he’s sound.”
Normally when a player encounters mechanical issues at the plate or at the mound, a quick demotion to the minor leagues is necessary to help get him back on track.
That should be the case for Torres — and it likely would have happened under normal circumstances in which the Yankees are challenging for the AL East lead or the best record in the American League. After all, offensive is Torres’ calling card considering his glove has been a liability at times.
But a team that’s 10.5 games out of first place and currently fourth in their division doesn’t have much else to turn to for help, especially with a trade deadline looming at the end of the month that could see the Yankees shockingly become sellers, should they continue to “fall like a stone,” as general manager Brian Cashman described.
So that could leave Torres trying to figure it all out with a big club that is trying to sort itself out in the process. Not the greatest environment to try and fix a young, promising hitter.