Gleyber Torres has become a truly special player

Gleyber Torres’ career can be split into two, respective seasons. One of those seasons can be considered to be against teams better than .500, comprising 125 games, where he hit a collective .264/.325/.473 with 24 home runs. That’s about the same as, say, Avisaíl García, who hit to a 112 wRC+ and hit 20 home runs in the exact same number of games.

The other season, which people consider the major caveat of his career thus far, is against teams who are worse than .500. In those 142 games, he hit a whopping .285/.349/.543 while swatting 38 home runs. That would be the equivalent of DJ LeMahieu in OPS, and he led his same team in WAR. Of those 38 home runs, 16 came against the Orioles alone, hit in just 29 games, where he had a 1.314 OPS.

On one hand, that certainly is a caveat. The Orioles did allow a record 305 home runs, almost exactly the same number that the Twins and Yankees hit as a team. The ball played into that, which is one of the main reasons that despite Torres’ 38 home runs equates to “just” a 125 wRC+.

So heading into the postseason, it was a relatively open question as to whether the guy who slams poor pitching would be exposed to become something like a .700-.750 true talent OPS hitter when actually good pitching came to town. Well, we got a pretty good answer to that question.

Torres, in just four postseason games this year, has a triple slash of .471/.500/1.059 with two home runs, four doubles, and nine runs batted in, including five runs batted in last night, an American League record for players 22 or younger, and just one shy of the total AL record. In particular, this came against Zack Greinke, someone you would slot into the “season” in which he should have much more trouble. Part of that is Greinke’s fault, of course:

Two of those pitches, middle-middle, were a fastball and slider, and both taken for a ride as Torres smacked a home run and a double. This goes right along with where Torres does the most damage:

Overall this postseason he still has received a healthy number of pitches in the bottom-right square, but he has whiffed at a total of: zero of them, as opposed to a career 17% whiff rate. He has likewise received about 7.7% of pitches in the heart of the zone, and he has a 2.667 OPS on those.

We’re 400 words in, and I haven’t said a word about Torres’ defense. Defensive Runs Saved is not too kind to Torres, debiting him seven runs for his second base performance in 2019; BP’s FRAA rates him at about two runs below average, but his Statcast rates him rather favorably:

He also made a sparkler of a player in Game One, diving to save a single:

In Game Two and beyond, he has both the chance to seize upon this and possibly crown himself as an incredibly young ALCS MVP, or he very well could be humbled facing Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander; both are known to attack the outer and lower third of the zone, exactly the places Greinke was unable to locate to effectively.

Bad teams are not, it’s clear that Torres is a budding star as part of a Yankees core that already looks to be turning around from their comparative underdog status since facing the Astros the last time; winning on the road, with Torres leading the charge, is the perfect example of that. Before we know it, his “below .500” season will just become the player he is all the time.

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