Like me, when you saw that Ronald Torreyes would be starting more often once Didi Gregorius went down with an injury, you were worried. Basing the opinion off of Torreyes’ weak bat from the past, there wasn’t much hope that he’d do much of anything in the lineup. Sure he would give the team a dependable glove, but nowhere in his past was there a suggestion that he would be almost EXACTLY what the team needed during these past few weeks of Gregorius’s absence.
Yet as these weeks have moved along, the more Torreyes has played, the more it feels like he needs to stay in the lineup. He has been the best defensive player on the infield by a wide margin, his contact oriented approach has helped on a team that strikes out a lot and subjectively, it feels like he has been that spark the lineup has needed all season.
Oh man. Ohhhh man. 7-2 Phillies via Old Friend Ronald Torreyes pic.twitter.com/NmFNkKlgbD— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) June 12, 2021
Ronald Torreyes gets us on the board with his first homer since...— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 1, 2021
However, we all know things must come to an end, especially when they involve money. The fact is that Didi Gregorius will return to the starting lineup whenever he is ready, maybe due to his contract, maybe due to his overall talent. Torreyes will go back to being a role player on the team, serving either as a pinch hitter or as a competent fill-in for players needing a day off.
It’ll be a shame too. Torreyes has been hitting rather well for the team, coming up clutch when needed as seen above, as well as playing some sterling defense.
Ronald Torreyes breaks the tie with a bases-loaded double to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead! pic.twitter.com/H2nfjPikkF— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) May 19, 2021
Ronald Torreyes: WEB GEM— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 10, 2021
(originally called safe at 2nd, but overturned ) pic.twitter.com/FrVXbw3Fl7
At the risk of sounding very old man-ish about the state of the game, Torreyes has gotten by this year by doing the things that the Phillies are not good at doing: making contact and not getting on base. His .284/.304/.403 line in only 70 plate appearances, so it’s not exactly the biggest sample size. His strikeout rate is up in 2021 (18.6%) over his career average (13.5%), but he is also hitting the ball harder this year than he has in a while. Granted, 82.5 mile an hour exit velocity isn’t exactly scalding, but it is higher than anything he has done since 2017.
He’s given the team the kind of boost playoff teams need when they’re stuck. Without Gregorius, the team would have been forced to rely on Nick Maton at shortstop and while he showed signs that he maybe might have been able to handle the job, their internal judgements were different. He rarely faced lefties and would have had to platoon according to them. Maton also struggled at the plate prior to being sent down, going 0 for his last 20. Between Maton and Alec Bohm, the other struggling youngster, the team needed to make a decision as to who should have stayed. At this point, with Bohm bouncing back a little and Torreyes also playing well, it looks like they made the correct decision.
So when Gregorius comes back and gets reinserted back into the lineup, Torreyes will fill in when needed. Judging by what he has done this year, he’ll more than likely be successful. On a team full of superstars, let’s appreciate the contributions Torreyes has made thus far this year.