In this week’s 2022 Fantasy Baseball Trends column, we will look at the recent hot streak from Gleyber Torres and determine what he has changed this year to produce at such a high level.
We have all heard the jokes about how Gleyber Torres only hits well against the Baltimore Orioles. This season, the Fantasy production is coming at the expense of every team he faces.
Will it continue and can we count on Torres producing elite fantasy value for the rest of the season?
There are some interesting and encouraging trends and shifts in Torres' approach at the plate that should cause us to feel optimistic about the recent surge for the rest of the 2022 MLB season.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Trends: Gleyber Torres Has Figured It Out
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When Gleyber Torrres broke out in a big way in 2019, he looked like the next 22-year old middle-infield wunderkind like Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter of Yankee days gone by. But 2019 is also where he got the reputation as an Oriole-killer. And it was well-deserved.
That season, Torres hit .278/. 337/.535 with 38 home runs and 96 RBI. Simply unbelievable numbers for someone that young. But a tremendous amount of that damage was done against Baltimore. despite playing just 18 of his 144 games against them, he hit 13 home runs, drove in 20 runs, and slashed .394/.467/1.046. That's a 1.512 slugging percentage in 75 plate appearances against them.
But, while Torres has continued to hit the Orioles well over the next two seasons, 2020 and 2021 were largely disappointments for the Yankees' second baseman. In the shortened 2020, Torres only hit three round-trippers in 42 games. 2021 was an injury-filled year and Torres only managed 13 home runs and a .259/.331/.366 slash line.
So far in 2022, Torres has found the stroke again. At .267/.314/.524 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI through 60 games, he is making a strong push for another 30 home runs, and his first 100 RBI season.
It's a been a couple major mechanical changes that Torres has made at the plate this year. It's our job as fantasy managers to determine whether it is enough to keep up this torrid pace.
Can Gleyber Torres Keep Up the Pace For the Rest of the Season?
The primary issue for Torres the last two seasons has been way too many ground balls. At over 41% each of the last two years, he fell off of the line drive and fly ball pace that gave him so much power in his first two seasons.
This year, the pendulum has swung back the other direction in a huge way.
And for as good as it's been the whole season, it has been at another level over the past month. In the last 30 days, Torres leads the majors with a 64.7% fly ball rate and is fourth with a 23.5% groundball rate.
Getting the ball off the ground and in the air with more authority has led to career-best Statcast numbers for Torres. His 50% hard-hit rate puts him among the top 22 players in baseball and has given Torres a lethal combination that has allowed the power to come roaring back. If we were seeing massive luck leading to Torres' success we would have to pump the brakes. But the batting average on balls in play is the lowest of his career (.273) and he is striking out only 18% of the time (21% for his career).
Outlook for the Rest of 2022
Gleyber Torres also gets the added benefit of being part of the rising tide lifts all boats situation in New York. Their offense has been electric all season, and Torres is frequently seeing men on base in front of him this year. Almost half of his plate appearances (106 of 228) have come with men on base.
Monday's game was interesting, because Torres stole his second base of the season, something we don't usually expect from him. But he did steal 14 bases last season, so if he adds that element back into his game in the second half of the season, this is a true fantasy stud for the next 3.5 months.
His strong hitting has come at the expense of walks (just a 5.8% walk rate this year, a career-low). But that's to the benefit of fantasy owners, who should be able to reap the rewards of newfound power stroke from Torres all season.
Plus, he still has three more series against the Orioles. Look forward to that.
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