Draft Day Decision: Why Gleyber Torres Isn’t Necessarily A Player To Target (At The Cost) For 2020

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Gleyber Torres is coming off a highly impressive season where he appeared to emerge as one of the elite players in the game:

546 At Bats
.278 Batting Average (152 Hits)
38 Home Runs
90 RBI
96 Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.337 On Base Percentage
.535 Slugging Percentage
.296 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Those numbers have led NFBC drafters to target Torres early and often, with an average ADP of 29.44 (including being selected as early as 15th).  Is he worth a selection in the first three rounds (and if you want to ensure getting him reaching up into the second round)? 

Outside of a spike in power you can argue that the underlying metrics were far too similar to his rookie year, when he hit .271 with 24 HR over 484 PA.  Unfortunately the list of potential question marks is rather lengthy.  First let’s run down the key numbers:

SeasonSwStr%O-Swing%Hard%Oppo%FB%
201814.0%34.4%38.4%25.1%42.7%
201913.2%35.1%39.7%23.6%41.9%

The biggest question sits with his approach, as he continues to swing and miss and chase outside the strike zone at elevated levels yet improved his strikeout rate to 21.4%.  He was even better in the second half (20.1% strikeout rate), but he struggled to make consistent contact against any type of pitch (13.82% Whiff% against “hard” pitches was his best mark). 

While his BABIP isn’t impressive, the other numbers also bring question into his ability to maintain an elevated mark.  In the second half his Oppo% was all the way down to 19.7% and his fly ball rate rose slightly to 43.0%.  Those marks indicate that he was swinging for the fences and could lead to a further drop in his BABIP, and in turn his average.

That would put a lot of pressure on his ability to maintain his power surge.  Playing half his games in Yankee Stadium helps and he showed just as much power on the road (21.4% HR/FB) than at home (21.5%).  He also added 26 doubles and 0 triples, and his average exit velocity of 89.0 mph ranked him 127 out of 250 qualified hitters.  That doesn’t support the surge, and even a small drop in his power coupled with a potential for the strikeouts to rise and the BABIP to fall could cause a significant regression.

Coming off the year that he did it makes sense that fantasy owners are clamoring to select him, but that doesn’t make it a wise.  Just consider that someone like Bo Bichette, and his 20/20 potential, is available with an average ADP of 72.08 or Max Muncy at his average ADP of 75.70.  Both of those bring better value, and also allows you to use your second/third round pick on more secure, higher upside options.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savants, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our 2020 preseason rankings:

PositionLast Updated
Catchers02/10/20
First Basemen02/13/20
Second Basemen02/18/20
Third Basemen02/21/20
Shortstops02/24/20
Outfielders--
Starting Pitchers--
Relief Pitchers--

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