/Gleyber Torres Emergence as Playoff Star in Game 1 Is Ideal Timing for Yankees

Gleyber Torres Emergence as Playoff Star in Game 1 Is Ideal Timing for Yankees

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 07: Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees celebrates after his solo home run off Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins in the second inning in game three of the American League Division Series at Target Field on October 07, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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It’s safe to say Gleyber Torres likes the postseason.

The New York Yankees second baseman hit .417 with three doubles, a home run and four RBI in the Yanks’ division series sweep of the Minnesota Twins.

He essentially matched that output in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and five runs batted in in a 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Left fielder Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Gio Urshela added solo home runs to round out New York’s offensive attack. Masahiro Tanaka threw six shutout innings against a deep Houston lineup, and the bullpen added three more scoreless frames. But the night belonged to Torres.

“Man, they’re going to be telling stories about that kid for a while,” outfielder Aaron Judge told reporters. “He’s going to be a Yankee great, I know it.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04: Aaron Judge #99 and Edwin Encarnacion #30 of the New York Yankees celebrate after scoring off of a RBI single hit by Gleyber Torres #25 against Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins during the third inning in game one of

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Torres is only 22, but you could argue he already is a great Yankee. And his emergence in the playoffs is coming at the perfect time for New York, which is now 4-0 this postseason and has outscored its opponents 30-7. Torres has driven in nearly a third of those runs.

After hitting .271 with 24 homers and an .820 OPS in his rookie campaign in 2018, Torres exploded for 38 homers and an .871 OPS. He’s also made the All-Star team in each of his two big league seasons.

As James Wagner of the New York Times pointed out, two other players in Yankees history have earned multiple All-Star nods before their 23rd birthday: Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.

October, however, is when Yankees legends are truly born. 

On that note, check out this fact courtesy of MLB Stats:

His output against Minnesota was good, and he hit .308 in last season’s ALDS loss to the archrival Boston Red Sox. But Saturday felt like the moment Torres cemented his status as a playoff star.

There is a lot of baseball left, obviously, before a champion is crowned. The 107-win Astros aren’t going to roll over; they defeated the Yankees two years ago in the ALCS and still have co-aces Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in their holster after starting right-hander Zack Greinke in Game 1.

After that, if the Yankees advance, they’ll need to win four more games against either the St. Louis Cardinals or surging Washington Nationals before they hoist their 28th Commissioner’s Trophy.

However far they advance, bet on Torres being in the middle of the action.

He’s young, he’s energetic, he grins like he’s having a great time. Most importantly, he’s hitting the cover off the ball and leading a potent lineup loaded with dangerous, more experienced sluggers.

If he wasn’t a household name outside of the Bronx before this, he should be now.

Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

“He does it with a smile,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who acquired Torres in July 2016 from the Chicago Cubs, told reporters after the Twins series. “You see the personality playing out while he’s consistently having success. It’s a talent that very few possess.”

Indeed, Torres is a rare, infectiously fun talent. And he’s flashing it on the biggest stage under the brightest lights for arguably baseball’s most iconic franchise.

“I just go to the home plate believing what I can do,” Torres said in postgame remarks Saturday. He’s made believers of everyone else, too.

The champagne is on ice for now, and the confetti will only fall if New York wins seven more contests. For now, it’s safe to sayunequivocallyGleyber Torres likes the postseason.

     

All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.


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