The New York Yankees and their fans are in a tailspin. Through 17 games, the Yankees are just 6-11, which is tied for the worst record in the American League. The team's lineup — comprised of elite power bats like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres — has the worst slugging percentage in baseball.
Fans are not happy about it. The team was supposed to be a juggernaut, one of the best in the American League. With everyone on the club scuffling, fans are salivating for a scapegoat.
On Wednesday, Torres found himself in that position. He became a target for anger after failing to run hard on a ground ball to the catcher.
Torres was — admittedly — not running at 100 percent on the play. He was also thrown out by roughly seven steps, so hustling wouldn't have changed the outcome of the play. Sure, Torres would have been closer to first when he was thrown out, but he still would have been out.
Given Torres' struggles — he's hitting just .186/.294/.220 — fans, and at least one local reporter, viewed the play as a reason to say Torres shouldn't be in the majors anymore.
Aaron Boone says he'll talk to Gleyber Torres
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game he would talk to Torres about the issue, according to CBS Sports' Mike Axisa.
"I think anytime you have that kind of situation where the guy has to get off the mound, you better get after it," Boone said. "That's got to be better"
Torres admitted after the game he should have put more effort into running to first. He also said he was frustrated with his performance, and that the end result of the at-bat only added to his disappointment.
Should fans be concerned about the Yankees' struggles?
While things haven't been good in the Bronx, it's literally April 22. It's been a year since we had a normal MLB regular season, but you shouldn't overreact to 17-game samples when the season lasts 162 games.
Need proof? Fine. In 2019, the last normal MLB regular season, both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners led their divisions April 22. Those teams went on to win 69 and 68 games respectively. The Washington Nationals sat in fourth place in the National League East. They went on to win the World Series.
A 17-game sample isn't useful enough to make broad assumptions about players or teams. On April 22 in 2019, Torres was hitting just .238/.275/.429. He finished the season with a .278/.337/.535 slash line and popped 38 home runs. Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola had the third-worst ERA in the majors on April 22 that year.
All of this is to say, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Stanton and Torres aren't all going to hit under .200 for the entire season. All of those players will get it together at some point. The Yankees will go on a winning streak and get back to .500. They'll continue to win and contend for the division again.
When the Yankees make their annual playoff appearance, fans won't even remember getting mad at Torres for not running out a groundout in April. It's easy to overreact early, but try to be patient. It's a long season.
The Yankees will be just fine.
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