The powerhouse that once was the Yankees lineup is temporarily off the rails, save for the contributions coming from right field and shortstop. But for the second season in a row now, hidden beneath Murderer’s Row and the rest of it is the underpaid best tenth man in baseball. All rise, this time, for Ronald Torreyes.
If not for Jose Altuve who plays baseball on another stratosphere, Ronald Torreyes might best claim the title as the Best Little Man in Baseball at 5’8″ 151 lbs. But one title that should be an award but isn’t that Torreyes can claim with little or no argument is the Best Tenth Man In Baseball.
Strange as it may seem, Torreyes does not dress in the Yankees parking lot. There’s a locker for him in the clubhouse, even though reporters seem to have a hard time finding it. Torreyes does all his talking with his play on the field, though, and in case you’ve missed it, Torreyes is leading the team in hitting with a .438 batting average.
Despite playing in fewer games (11), Torreyes has more hits (14) than Tyler Wade and Neil Walker combined (13), plus more hits than Gary Sanchez (12), even though Sanchez has double the at-bats of Torreyes. And in 50 more at-bats than Ronald Torreyes, Giancarlo Stanton has only one more hit than the “Little Guy.”
Money? Well, we won’t get to that until the upcoming offseason when Torreyes is eligible for arbitration for the first time. Hopefully, then, the table can be made more level. In the meantime, he goes out there and plays ball whenever Aaron Boone inserts him in the lineup for $615,500. Rationalizing those meager dollars, it’s the equivalent of more than 35 trillion bolivares in Torreyes native land of Venezuela.
Of late, Boone has jettisoned Torreyes into the starting lineup in a desperate attempt to wake up the bottom of the Yankees order. But until those behind and ahead of him get going, the value of Torreyes as a spunky see the ball hit the ball hitter will not be realized.
Splitting games mostly between second and third base, Torreyes has also seen action at shortstop when Gregorius needs a blow. In 2017, he played seven different positions for the Yankees, though with the crowded outfield this season, he is not likely to reach that mark again.
By definition, Ronald Torreyes is a role player. Every Major League team needs one, and the player needs to have a disposition that sets aside ego and the desire to play every day in favor the team. With all the money at stake in the game today, and that money being generated by numbers, it is unique to find a player who is not only willing but capable of assuming that role.
Surrounded by players who are perennial All-Stars like Aaron Judge, Stanton, and Gary Sanchez, it is a rare occasion for Ronald Torreyes to be thrust into the spotlight. One did occur last June though, as seen here…look only for the genuine outpouring of camaraderie and respect granted to Torreyes by his teammates:
Let’s leave it at this. Ronald Torreyes will not hit .400 for the Yankees this season. He might not even get 400 at-bats. But every time the Yankees call his name, he will be there, swinging that big bat off his narrow shoulders, and showing how a little guy with a lot of heart can succeed in this game we call baseball.
Here’s an update: Thanks for the read. The Yankees have announced that Gleyer Torres will be joining the Yankees as soon as tomorrow (Sunday). Meaning Ronald Torreyes will slide back to the role he has become best suited for, with Torres given the opportunity to shine in a lineup that surely needs some shining, until the next time Torreyes is needed to bail out the Yankees.
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