Inbox: Will Torres be called to Bronx soon?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers questions from fans

April 18th, 2018
New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres thaws out a Detroit Tigers runner in a spring baseball exhibition game, Tuesday,March 6, 2018, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)John Raoux/AP

Do you think that is close to a callup? I've heard nothing but positive things from Triple-A about him.
-- John F., Brownsburg, Ind.

Indeed, the drumbeat for the Yankees to promote their top prospect is growing louder. Given 's early-season struggles, it has been suggested that the Yanks may consider bumping Torres to the big leagues sooner than they might have anticipated. Torres showed signs of rust in big league camp this spring, and that was probably to be expected, given his nine-month layoff following Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow.
However, Torres -- baseball's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- has picked up right where he left off down at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, again proving that his talent and potential are the real deal. The service time consideration is now a thing of the past, as Torres has spent the requisite 20 days in the Minors that will give the Yankees control of his 2024-25 season.
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I've believed all along that Torres would play a part in the Majors this season -- though to be honest, I didn't anticipate he would be promoted in April; May or June seemed more realistic, given his issues this spring. However, the Yanks have long subscribed to the theory that players tell you when they are ready.
General manager Brian Cashman has compared Torres' situation to that of , whose performance forced the Yankees' hand in calling him up in 2005. If Torres continues to rake at Triple-A -- and the mid-back stiffness that forced him to exit Monday's game early at Gwinnett turns out to be nothing more than a minor concern -- he could follow that same path.
Do you think a manager with some experience and maybe more of a calming influence is needed to straighten the Yankees out? They look unprepared out there, possibly due to Aaron Boone being new and overwhelmed.
-- Ken. K, North Vancouver

Anyone who expects Boone to be replaced after 16 games -- or for that matter, after one season -- has not been paying attention.
This hiring was not something that the Yankees decided upon lightly. Boone blew away the other five candidates -- so much so that Hal Steinbrenner decided to call off the second round of the interview process and authorized Cashman to hire Boone without having him fly down to Tampa, Fla., and meet with the Steinbrenner family.
Boone would be the first to admit that the team has not played up to his expectations, but it's not possible to judge his capability to run the team on such a small sample size.
What concerns you more early in the season: inconsistent bullpen performance or 's struggles at the plate?
-- Alex W., via Twitter

Given those choices, I'll pin that on the relief crew, which was supposed to be a dominant strength of this team and has not lived up to that in the early going. Their performance is crucial, considering the state of the starting rotation.
Boone has said that Stanton's track record is too good for this to continue all season, and on that note, I agree. We are talking about the reigning National League MVP Award winner, after all. The disparity between Stanton's home-road splits has been staggering, which is probably part of the reason he is hearing boos at Yankee Stadium -- they haven't seen what he is capable of, at least in person.
Stanton is 3-for-35 with 20 strikeouts as a Yankee in New York, while he has gone 10-for-31 while wearing road gray. Those numbers have to even out, and as Boone said on Tuesday, "Eventually the league will pay for some of his early struggles."
has not been very productive all season. Has there been talk about sending him down to the Minors to work out his mechanical problems?
-- Bill P., Hopewell, N.Y.

A demotion to the Minors is not something that the Yankees are considering at this time, especially since with Tommy Kahnle's injury, they are going to need to lean on Betances for big outs in the near future.
On the positive side, pitching coach Larry Rothschild has said that Betances is commanding his four-seam fastball well and that his breaking ball is consistent. One area for concern, as detailed recently by the wonderful Katie Sharp, would be Betances' diminished spin rate.
Thus far in 2018, Betances' four-seam fastball has averaged 2,297 rpm and 96.7 mph. That's well below his 2017 averages of 2,430 rpm and 98.3 mph, and even below his April 2017 averages of 2,570 rpm and 97.6 mph.
What can be gleaned from this data? Generally speaking, high-spin fastballs lead to more strikeouts, while low-spin fastballs produce more ground balls. Betances is right around league average, which is not where you want to be as far as avoiding damaging contact.
What is the latest status for ? Do you think he gets called up if is still on the shelf?
-- Jimmy R., via Twitter

Frazier is continuing to gain momentum as he recovers from the late February concussion that he sustained in the Yankees' second exhibition game of the spring, participating in extended spring camp action down in Florida.
The Yanks are proceeding cautiously, but as long as Frazier continues to hit his checkpoints without a setback, it is conceivable that he will be playing in Minor League games within weeks. You'll probably see him play for Class A Advanced Tampa and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Frazier would be considered for a big league promotion.