In recent days, fans and some media circles have been talking about how the New York Yankees need to find a way to improve their infield defense, specifically the shortstop position. It’s true, Gleyber Torres, the starting shortstop, hasn’t been good at the position: this year, he had a -5.0 UZR, a -13.0 UZR/150 and -9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS.)
DJ LeMahieu, a solid defensive second baseman, is set to enter free agency, and Gio Urshela, someone with a good defensive reputation but divisive statistical profile, is under contract.
SNY’s Andy Martino proposes an idea for the New York Yankees to improve the shortstop situation: re-sign DJ LeMahieu, bringing a defensive-minded shortstop and moving Gleyber to the hot corner. Gio Urshela? Trade him, he says.
“The Yanks could tighten their defense by re-signing LeMahieu to play second base, moving Torres to third base, trading Gio Urshela and bringing in a shortstop like Andrelton Simmons or Brandon Crawford,” he wrote.
He defends his idea, saying that scouts and metrics say that the Torres experiment at short “hasn’t worked out. Torres seems to be lacking in some basic skills and instincts like knowing when to cover the bag — odd for a player who came up in the minor leagues as a shortstop — and doesn’t have the range that is ideal for the position.”
Do the Yankees need to upgrade the shortstop position?
The Yankees’ Torres was in the bottom two percentile in Statcast’s defensive metric outs above average.
“Most evaluators believe that Torres is best suited to play second base. But that’s LeMahieu’s position, and the Yankees need his bat and quiet leadership. A year ago, the Yankees considered trading Luke Voit to create more lefty-right balance in the lineup. Doing so now would achieve a different objective in freeing up first base for LeMahieu. But Voit has emerged as a star, and should probably stay.”
“That leaves Urshela as the odd man out if the team wants to keep both LeMahieu and Torres. Although we’ve grown accustomed to watching Urshela make exceptional plays at third base, the advanced stats tell a different story, ranking him behind 80 percent of MLB third basemen in outs above average,” he said.
What do you think about the idea? Feel free to use the comments section to weigh in.