Spring Training is winding down and the regular season is just around the corner for Gleyber Torres and the 2021 NY Yankees. Entering his fourth MLB season, Torres is one of several hitters on the team who could potentially have a monster season, and he is even an AL MVP candidate if he takes another step forward this year. Being that he is still only 24 years old, this is definitely a possibility. In fact, according to the current betting odds, he is considered a top ten favorite to win the award.
Role With the 2021 NY Yankees
Gleyber Torres is clearly going to be a huge part of the 2021 NY Yankees campaign. Let’s take a look at exactly where he fits in on this loaded roster.
He is heading into this upcoming season as the everyday starting shortstop, which is the same role he had in the 2020 season. Before then, he pretty evenly split time between shortstop and second base in 2019 while in 2018, for his rookie season, he primarily played second base with just a few appearances at shortstop. While statistically, he has been better defensively at second than he has at short, the 2021 NY Yankees roster construction makes it very clear and obvious that he will be playing shortstop, as he is the only real starting option at the position.
While there may be some concerns with his defensive ability, there should be none about what his bat can do for the 2021 NY Yankees. He has all of the tools at the plate to be one of the most dangerous hitters not only on the team but in the league as well. He was selected as an All-Star in both of his first two seasons in the big leagues and improved in almost every offensive statistical category from his first year to his second.
The 2020 season is a very difficult one to judge, not only for Torres but for everyone. The season was severely shortened by the pandemic and the schedule was far different from any other year. These are major factors to consider when reviewing performance for that season, and though Torres had a “down year” in 2020, that does not necessarily mean there was any regression.
Things are back to “normal” now for the upcoming regular season and the 2021 NY Yankees lineup is loaded with great hitters. There are several different ways that they may construct their batting order after DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge take their usual top two spots, respectively. Torres is going to be somewhere in the heart of this batting order between the third and sixth spots.
Gleyber Torres Season Outlook
Being on a team with as much offensive firepower as the 2021 NY Yankees, and hitting in the heart of the order, are going to provide Torres with plenty of opportunities at production. He should often be up at the plate with runners on base and will also likely be protected by another solid hitter behind him. With how good he already is at the plate, and how much better he even can be, this looks like a recipe for a ton of RBIs. He has the potential to lead the league in that category.
There is also plenty of power in the bat of Gleyber Torres. Across 123 games played in 2018, he hit 24 home runs and then improved that number in 2019 with 38 of them in 144 games. In that same span, he improved his slugging from .480 to .535 as well as his OPS from .820 to .871.
Not only is it possible for all of these statistics to improve even more this year, but it’s fair to say that it is expected. Torres is extremely talented and not long ago, before making it to the majors, he was considered one of the top prospects in the game. He has all of the potential to be the best hitter on the 2021 NY Yankees, which would be extremely impressive considering the roster, but also one of the best hitters in the entire league.
AL MVP Race
According to Draft Kings sportsbook, only six players have better odds than Torres to win the AL MVP this year. They are Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge, Jose Ramirez, Matt Chapman, and Anthony Rendon. Then tied with Torres for the seventh-best odds are Jose Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Yoan Moncada, and Luis Robert. This means that, according to the oddsmakers, Torres is right in the mix for the award.
Being on the 2021 NY Yankees could be a huge advantage for Torres in this race. As stated before, the loaded lineup will provide plenty of opportunities and will also likely protect him from being pitched around in most cases. If he can play up to his potential this season, and there is good reason to believe that he will, Torres can put up the numbers to compete with anyone for the award.
The 2021 NY Yankees are serious contenders to win the AL pennant this year. In fact, they are the clear odds favorite at every sportsbook that offers a line for it, and rightfully so. This is another factor that could help his case. If he happens to be the best player on the best team, that holds some weight for the award. How much it helps is unclear, but it certainly does not hurt.
All of these reasons combined give Torres just as good a chance as anyone else to win the AL MVP this year. It would be a huge accomplishment for this rising star and could catapult him to the next level. He is without question going to be a big factor in how much success the 2021 NY Yankees have, for better or worse, but he is also a clear candidate to be a real contender in the AL MVP race as well. Watch out for Gleyber Torres!
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