New York Yankees rookie phenom Gleyber Torres is on-pace to hit 32 home runs this season and easily runaway with the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award, but that doesn’t mean he considers himself worthy of partaking in the 2018 Home Run Derby:
“I’m not a home-run hitter,” Torres told the New York Post on Wednesday. “I’m a contact hitter.”
While Torres’ assessment is spot-on, his power surge at the Major League level has been noteworthy. Generally, most professional baseball players generate more power at the Major League level than in the minors, but Torres has already set a career-high for home runs in a single-season at any professional level with 14 Major League home runs. His previous high was 11 in 2016 split between the Double-A and Triple-A level.
The 21-year-old Torres is hitting a home run every 13 at-bats, a better rate than power hitters like Joey Gallo, Kyle Schwarber, Giancarlo Stanton, Edwin Encarnacion, and Paul Goldschmidt. The only blemish on Torres’ record right now is his fielding at second base, where he has already racked up nine fielding errors. However, at the same time, Torres has two defensive runs saved to his credit.
Even though he won’t be hitting at the derby, it’s likely that Torres will get to hit in the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. While Houston Astros superstar Jose Altuve will start for the American League, Torres will likely be voted in as coaches in a backup role. Fellow Yankees teammates like Aaron Judge, Dellin Betances, Arolids Chapman, and Luis Severino also figure to join Torres at the event in Washington D.C.
Torres is slashing .291/.347/.560 on the season with those 14 home runs and 35 runs batted in, and has accumulated 1.7 in WAR.
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