Gleyber Torres hit his first home run of the spring Saturday afternoon. The Yankees expect a lot of those long balls to be hit as Opening Day awaits in three weeks.
The home run went to the opposite field in right for three runs. Yes, a spring game and the pitchers at this juncture are still ahead of the hitters but this one was impressive.
And with the Yankees, expected to hit their share of home runs, perhaps without Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the Opening Day lineup, the bat of Gleyber Torres will be significant.
“I don’t think about hits or home runs just winning the World Series,” said the 23-year old shortstop before heading to Tampa last month.
Though entering his third season, Torres has shown the home run ball has become a part of his routine. a natural swing, and it has quickly gained the attention of opposing managers and pitchers.
Simple, when Gleyber Torres comes to the plate the home run ball or hit is expected. He does admit, and says numerous times, “I am still learning and trying to get better.”
And it seems that getting better has come easy. Torres, already a two-time American League All-Star, is one of those Yankees’ “Baby Bombers’ ‘ that grew up fast. Basically, he is expected to produce at the plate and has become a difficult out.
“I want to be better every year,” he said. “Stay healthy is my first thing. Just be focused for the season and do my job to help.”
Last year: 38 home runs, 90 RBI, .871 OPS. It’s simple, Gleyber Torres is not an easy out. The Yankees are in good hands from the right hand side in a lineup that has few left hand bats.
There has never been any doubts about Torres. He was acquired by the Yankees from the Chicago Cubs along with right-handed pitcher Adam Warren, outfielder Billy McKinney, and outfielder Rashad Crawford in exchange for Aroldis Chapman on July 25, 2016.
The trade, of course, all to the advantage of the Yankees. Chapman, re-acquired, is their outstanding closer. Torres, their future star up the middle in the infield.
And this upcoming season, Torres, goes back to his natural position at shortstop with the departure of Didi Gregorius to the Phillies. Second base, he handled, and for the most part there was that adjustment.
But being back at short in the Bronx, put it this way, that is a homecoming.
He said, “I’m excited. I’m really comfortable at second base. I learned a lot about that position but I’m back at my position. I feel more comfortable. I don’t feel pressure in anything. I just want to play my game and try to win games.”
His presence in the Yankees clubhouse has grown. Torres, sits by himself, and it has been that way from the beginning. And, he is not one to shy away from asking questions to some of the veterans that include longtime Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner.
Last season, the two could be seen chatting on the field. In the home clubhouse in the Bronx, Torres, a native of Caracas Venezuela, will chat with Gary Sanchez, and with the many Latino talent that comprise the Yankees roster.
And now in his third year, he is no longer known as a “Baby Bomber.” It’s the long home run balls he has hit out of the yard that have made him a promising part of this Yankees future.
That first spring home run is expected to be one of many more in 2020. His debut in 2018, and Torres became the second player in Yankees history to record at least two multi-home run games before turning 22 years old, joining Joe DiMaggio who had three in 1936.
Then he said, with his ability to speak English well, “ I just go with the pitch. I am never thinking home run ball.”
Last year, there were five multi -home run games, seventh of his young career. He does have power, also, to all fields.
“ Definitely a big part of our going forward this year,” said manager Aaron Boone who has never had doubts. So Opening Day. at shortstop, Gleyber Torres will be slotted in the lineup.
Multi-home run games in Baltimore? That has become his favorite ballpark, 19 dingers out of Camden Yards last season. And a home run hitting ballpark in the Bronx can also add to his numbers this season.
But it’s not about the numbers. For Gleyber Torres, and the Yankees, It’s all about that one goal and winning the World Series.
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