Ohtani who? Yankees Rookie Phenom Gleyber Torres making his case for ROY

Give credit to the Yankee front office; the Yankees have arguably the best present and future out of any team in baseball. Brian Cashman and his crew turned around the farm system seemingly overnight, producing the Baby Bombers we’ve grown to love. The past three years the Yankees have trotted out Rookie of the year caliber players, Gary Sanchez was runner-up in 2016, Aaron Judge was the unanimous winner in 2017, and Gleyber Torres is making his case in 2018.

USA  Today

Most of the talk this year has surrounded the two-way phenom that is Shohei Ohtani, who ironically spurned the Yankees during the offseason. Currently, the Angel rookie sports a 4-1 record with a 3.35 ERA in seven starts while also slashing .309/.380/.968 with 6 HR and 19 RBI in 27 games (108 PA) at the plate, and a combined WAR of 1.7. Of course, it is not even June yet, so there is plenty of games to be played, but many believe Ohtani might as well have secured the honor succeeding on both pitching and hitting, a rare feat indeed.

What about Torres? The Yankee second baseman has torn up the league since being called up earlier this season, slashing a scorching .333/.393/1.039 with 9 HR 24 RBI in 28 games (108 PA) with a 1.6 WAR. The infielder also shows impressively smooth fielding ability to go along with a hot bat, saving over five runs above the average. 

Torres is coming off a week where he homered in four straight games, and he is the youngest to do this since Miguel Cabrera in 2004. He also leads the Yankees in the average home run distance, which is incredibly impressive considering he is topping gargantuan sluggers like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Giancarlo Stanton in doing so. Torres also shows incredible maturity in his approach at the plate and knack of showing up in critical moments.


Again, it is early, but who will the voters choose come this fall? The BBWAA is notorious for surprising fans with their votes, but they do have some trends in recent years. First off, they seem to take WAR into serious consideration, voting for the WAR leader every year for the past six years besides 2015 where Carlos Correa beat Francisco Lindor despite trailing Lindor by 0.3 in WAR. Besides that, there isn’t much that sticks out in their voting.


Ohtani will, of course, be boosted by his ability as a pitcher, which alone could win him the award if he continues at this pace, but Torres has shown he is the better hitter right now by far. Also, Torres is projected to get a lot more play at the plate, playing nearly every game since coming up, while Ohtani only plays about half the games. Assuming both Ohtani and Torres stay healthy, Shohei is on pace to play in around 90-100 games at most this season, while Torres could play closer to 120-130 games, which could mean much higher total numbers by year's end. This gap could further drive the narrative that Torres is as talented a hitter, if not moreso, than Ohtani.

Friday night's game was a perfect example of this. Torres was able to drive in the Yankees only two runs, enough to secure a 2-1 win, and will likely tack on a couple more RBIs before the series end. Ohtani however, will not pitch Sunday due to his arm maintenance concerning his inning limit set by the team. The lefty can still make an impact in this series with his bat, but his pitching won’t even be noticed in this match-up. Gleyber’s influence as an everyday player on offense and defense cannot be overlooked.

 A narrative is probably the second most important thing besides the total stats for the award, and both have compelling ones to boast. Ohtani is slugging and slinging his way to the league's top, while Torres is the next Bronx Bomber star collecting his accolades among the likes of Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Babe Ruth in such a short time. However, former Nippon League players, like Ohtani, have had trouble winning the award since many view the Japanese league as prior experiences, hurting his chances of winning.


This race could likely end up a photo finish, as both players are deserving of consideration. Ohtani’s ability to win as a hitter and a pitcher will more than likely cause the voters to overlook his lack of plate appearances, and the rarity of this skill will go a long way to help his cause.  Torres, on the other hand, will likely play more games on one of the best teams if not the best in baseball, which also happens to be the league's most famous team.

Ohtani’s ability will likely give him the edge in a tight race against Torres, but if Torres can put some distance between Ohtani and himself, he could sway the vote in his direction. The newest Baby Bomber should not be passed over for a player who is an inferior hitter and seven days rest pitcher. Ohtani may be the favorite to some at the current moment, but the 21-year old Bomber is giving him his best shot.

Article by: Maxx Hotton


  1. Torres is getting better each week-Ohtani has leveled off.Should be interesting however I think Torres will win it with a clutch performance IMHO !

    1. Alot of hype has been,surrounded with shohei. Ohtani even,without his playing time,in the beginning . in my opinion,you,just cant give roy awards to part time players ,gleyber has put his heart and,soul into the season from the beginning with no time,off and,now ohtani is on the dL list. How much,longer can the huge phenom,last REALLY..I give my vote,so,far to torres he's out did shohei..hand,down


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