The last time the Yankees had a 23 year old shortstop was 1997–Derek Jeter. During that year, he was the reigning AL Rookie of the Year and ended up hitting .291/.370/.405/.775. In 2020, another exciting 23 year old will be manning shortstop for the Yankees: Gleyber Torres.
With the departure of Didi Gregorius to Philadelphia, the mantle of everyday shortstop falls to Torres, barring something unforeseen. In the last two seasons, Torres has more than proven himself, but that was mostly as a second baseman. Now, he’ll shift back to his natural position of shortstop and, presumably, a new role as a leader.
Cliche or old school as it may sound, shortstop is a position of leadership on a baseball field. Off the field, the last two Yankee shortstops have also been leaders to one degree or another. Jeter was the team’s captain and Didi was, pardon the pun, a gregarious presence in the locker room and away from the stadium as well. With CC Sabathia retiring, the returning Brett Gardner will likely be the ‘main’ team leader and Aaron Judge, in a Jeterian way, is also front and center. As a shortstop, though, and a budding superstar, it wouldn’t be imprudent to assume some leadership should be coming from Torres as well.
Torres has consistently shown a readiness and willingness to be available and accountable publicly, so it’s not a stretch to assume he does the same privately with teammates. There are practically no doubts about Torres’ play and the value it adds. And there shouldn’t be many, if any, about his ability to shift into a leadership role, even at such a young age. The Age of Gregorius is over; now, it’s going to be Gleyber Day, every day. I can’t wait to celebrate.