Torres the key to Yanks’ infield defense in 2020

Torres for the defense

Gleyber Torres

If the New York Yankees are to fulfill their annually stated goal of winning a World Series, Gleyber Torres will need to take a step forward. Defensively, that is.

Indeed, with Didi Gregorius’ free-agent defection to the Phillies over the winter, the Bombers’ rising 23-year-old superstar will move to his natural position of shortstop for the 2020 season, where his glove play figures to improve, especially now that he’s playing only one position.

In splitting time between second base and shortstop in 2019 thanks to Gregorius’ nearly season-long injury, his numbers at short were superior: 11 errors (19th-most in MLB) and one defensive run saved (14th-most) in 659.2 innings. That’s compared to his stats at the pivot of nine errors (eighth-most) and minus-7 runs saved (26th-most) in 547.1 innings. Add in the fact that three-time Gold Glover DJ LeMahieu moves over to second, and it means stronger up-the-middle defense in The Bronx in 2020.

Of course, Torres’ offense is not in question. Through two full seasons in the majors, the Venezuela native has positively raked, bashing 62 home runs (including 39 last year) and driving in 167 runs while batting .275 with an on-base percentage of .338 and an OPS of .849. He’ll be part of a power-laden Yankee lineup that also includes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez and LeMahieu, the backbone of a team that many favor to win it all in 2020.

Torres and the Yankees can be seen in action Wednesday, March 11, when they take on the Miami Marlins in a preseason game airing on MLB Network from Jupiter, Fla.

Full name: Gleyber David Castro Torres

Birth date: Dec. 13, 1996

Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela

Height/weight: 6 feet 1 inch/200 pounds

Teams: New York Yankees (2018-present)

Class: Shortstop

Position: Right/right

No.: 25

Path to majors: At age 16, signed as an international free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2013; dealt to the Yankees in July 2016 with pitcher Adam Warren and outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford for closer Aroldis Chapman

Honors and achievements: Two-time All-Star (2018, 2019)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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