The little engine that could: how valuable is Ronald Torreyes?

Ronald Torreyes was recently sent down to make room for Greg Bird, but there is no denying his importance to this team.

Somewhat hidden among Judge, Stanton, Betances, and Sabathia stands the 5’8” Torreyes. Who would have thought that this 150-pound specimen could provide so much value to a Major League baseball team? Well, we now have players like Jose Altuve and Marcus Stroman who have proved otherwise.

Torreyes initially signed with the Reds as an international free agent back in 2010. He never made it to the Majors with them and was traded to the Cubs. In 2013, he was traded again, this time to the Astros. Two years later, it was the same story, this time with Torreyes heading to the Blue Jays organization. And a mere month later, he was once more shipped off to the Dodgers before being designated for assignment. But the story doesn’t end there. Toe was then traded to the Yankees, but DFA’d once again and claimed by the Angels. And if that’s not enough, they DFA’d him ultimately leading him back to the Yankees. What he’s done since then has many wondering how he bounced around as much as he did.

Across three seasons in New York, he has hit .288 in 532 at-bats. He also owns a career .984 fielding percentage, having played second, third, short, and even right field. Heck, he’s even the team’s emergency catcher.

He features above plus speed: his average sprint speed this season is 27.4 miles per hour. In a lethal lineup that features a few strikeout-heavy players, Torreyes is one who is consistently well below the Major League average in strikeout rate. This year, his mark sits at 14 percent while the league average is all the way up at 23 percent. In today’s day and age, there is something to be said about someone who is able to routinely put the ball in play. The below graphic shows in his Yankees career he has been able to make contact a decent percentage of the time even on pitches out of the zone.

This year in particular, Torreyes is continuing to prove his worth by hitting more line-drives: he hits them at a 25 percent clip compared to 17 percent last season.

Lastly, he is a great clubhouse guy. He is front and center in acts such as the Toe-night Show and being lifted up by Didi Gregorius to give Aaron Judge a high-five after a homer. Aaron Boone even went on to comment after his demotion to Triple-A, “you could feel it in our clubhouse…it was rough.”

The Yankees decided to hold on to 13 pitchers to help navigate playing 14 games in 13 days, but giving the way Torreyes has performed and his positive clubhouse contributions, it seems as if it is just a matter of time before he is back up in the Big Leagues.


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