Thanks to an impressive streak by Ronald Torreyes, it has become very challenging for the New York Yankees to move the little guy to the bench.
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Yankees wouldn’t even be having his conversation.
Ronald Torreyes, who had only batted six times from July 23-August 18, finally got an opportunity to play regularly once third baseman Chase Headley suffered a sore Achilles and the little man did not disappoint.
Listed as 5’10,” the utility infielder has been the starting third baseman since August 19 and has produced a slash line of .538/.571/.885 with his first major league home run and an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.456.
His overall batting average of .298 makes him the third-shortest rookie to bat over .295 through 100 at-bats in Yankees’ history. Only Buddy Rosar and Phil Rizzuto were shorter yet as impactful as Torreyes has been in their rookie seasons.
Let’s get back to numbers that matter, though.
In Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the 150-pound Torreyes went 2-for-3 with his seventh extra-base hit in eight games and was robbed by Manny Machado of his eighth in as many games.
On the other side of the ball, he has played extremely well defensively, like he has all year, but considering that Torreyes has not had steady playing time all season, what he’s doing with the bat is practically unheard of.
Now, as manager Joe Girardi claims Headley will get more playing time, the debate arises on whether Torreyes has earned the starting spot at the hot corner for the remainder of the season.
For starters, this is a pretty solid problem to have. The “little engine that could” is an incredibly athletic youngster that giving his team a jolt with his success (6-2 in Torreyes’ last eight games).
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Headley, on the other side, is hitting .281 with 12 home runs in his last 90 games and is a proven veteran player who still has significance to this 2016 Yankees’ team.
However, with New York 3.5 games back of a playoff spot it has to be time to go with the hotter hand on the field and at the dish.
Torreyes’ defensive runs saved above average per 1,200 innings sit two runs more than that of Headley’s total at third base this season while his fielding percentage is slightly greater (.971 compared to .967).
By no means will the rookie who has spent time with seven different organizations – including the Yankees twice – emerge into Rizzuto or the next Jose Altuve, but just like the World Series champion may be the hottest team going into the playoffs, the Yankees should have that same mentality in choosing Torreyes as their starting third baseman for the remainder of the season.
Again, he will not be the most valuable player or spark a championship run, but given the fact that this team is just 3.5 games out of a playoff spot and are the best team in the AL East since he’s gotten regular playing time, this is a no-brainer.
Torreyes has earned the starting role, for now. Let the little engine that could do his thing and potentially help New York make an improbable appearance in this year’s postseason.