Tyler Wade first stepped into the Bronx in 2017, so naturally, it feels like the Yankees have had him forever. The speedy base stealer was expected to be just that and not much more during his time in the Bronx.
Many would expect him to walk when he hits free agency in favor of a team that will give him consistent at-bats. 

In 2019 (as I wrote last week), Gleyber Torres was seen as the next great shortstop for not just the New York Yankees but for baseball – a likable guy who had a great personality and was pretty good.

Since his big 2019 postseason, where he hit .324 with three home runs and 10 RBI, he has been virtually non-existent on both sides of the ball.

We knew his defense was shabby, but it looks like that has transferred over to the batter’s box now.

Torres’ offensive metrics are some of the worst among shortstops in baseball. He is in the bottom 10 in the league in home runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and runs scored. Compare that to 2019, where he led the league among shortstops in home runs, third in RBI, seventh in runs scored, slugging percentage, and OPS. 

Since the start of the 2020 season, he has not been effective, and Tyler Wade has emerged as a very solid big league player. His offensive and defensive numbers this season are superior to Torres’. Wade’s on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS all beat out Torres comfortably. Both of their OPS+ is below league average, but Wade has Torres beat 92-87.

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Defensively, it is not even close. Now, realize the playing time is scarce for Wade, but Torres can only play shortstop and second base while Wade can play any position except pitcher, catcher, and first base. Wade’s fielding percentage across all positions he plays is .992, while Torres at just two positions is down to .913. The only qualified shortstop that has more errors (18) than Torres is Bo Bichette with 24.

Given the numbers, which the Yankees say they watch and care so much about, why is Gleyber Torres still in the everyday starting lineup over Tyler Wade?

Aaron Boone and the front office claim that something is there for Torres and that they’re waiting for it. When you’re the New York Yankees and are fighting for a playoff spot until the final day of the regular season, you can’t keep waiting for players to produce. At some point, the players that do produce, like Wade, need to be in the lineup more consistently. 

The constant soft treatment of Gleyber Torres and other Yankee stars is frankly a disgrace. Torres hasn’t hit for two years, has never fielded the ball well, and has had more mental lapses than anyone else on the team. All of Torres’ win probability statistics are either even or negative. His defensive WAR is -0.4.

The extended love for underperforming players is baffling. There’s no doubt that Torres can show that 2019 potential at times, but he is a liability for the rest of the 2021 season and can’t be trusted in games down the stretch.

Wade gives the Yankees’ versatility, contact, speed, and a spark to a one-dimensional offense. His defense outweighs any offense he provides. Any offense you get from Wade is a bonus, and it has been more productive than Torres.
The Yankees could make life a whole lot easier on themselves by inserting Wade at shortstop, Gio Urshela back to third base, and DJ LeMahieu back to second base with Anthony Rizzo still at first base; that is the Yankees’ strongest offensive and defensive infield for the rest of the season.

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