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Aaron Boone defends Gleyber Torres, but metrics don’t hold his error-prone glove in high regard



Following the Yankees’ 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Dodgers on Friday, Aaron Boone said that nobody talks about the good plays that Gleyber Torres makes.

So let’s start there: the second baseman started a smooth double play in the second inning, and he made a pretty backhanded play on a 104.6-mph Gavin Lux grounder in the third.

Torres recorded a few more routine outs throughout the game, but the only play of his that got attention immediately followed the Lux grounder.

That’s when Enrique Hernández took a half swing and lofted a lazy popup to shallow right field. Torres, calling off Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge, went for a basket catch and dropped the ball, which had an expected batting average of .050.

“He dropped a popup,” Boone said after the extra-inning loss. “That’s how he catches popups. Not necessarily how I do it, but he’s really good at catching them actually. So I get it and I don’t want it dropped, but it does happen. And I can’t recall going back now six, seven years that he’s dropped a popup. And he catches them like that a lot. It’s how he slows the game down a little bit, but I get how sometimes it looks to people.”

The blunder gave Torres nine errors for the season. As of Saturday morning, that figure led all major league second basemen.

He’d have a few more if not for some questionable official scoring decisions.

While some of Torres’ errors — and baserunning decisions — often look more like mental lapses than physical ones, Boone came to his player’s defense on Friday.

“You gotta parse it out a little bit and see what actually is happening,” the manager insisted, “and the reality is the last month of defense for him has been really solid, including a couple really good plays tonight.”

Torres made four errors between May 7 and June 7.

Of course, there are better ways to evaluate defense than counting errors. However, several commonly used metrics don’t hold Torres in high regard, either.

Entering Saturday, Torres ranked 11th in Outs Above Average (1), Defensive Runs Saved (-1), Fielding Run Value (1) and Defensive Runs Above Average (1.3).

He ranked 19th in UZR (-1.5).

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