A lot of things have gone right for the Yankees this year. This is not one of those things.
Yankees announce Gleyber Torres needs Tommy John surgery on his left elbow
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 19, 2017
The Yankees top prospect was running a 144 wRC+ as a 20-year-old in Triple-A, and was being groomed to replace Chase Headley as the team’s third baseman (who has an 86 wRc+) in the not-too-distant future. He also would have provided depth at the middle infield spots, and given the team another dynamic young player for the stretch run.
The UCL isn’t as important for hitters as it is for pitchers, but even while this injury is to his non-throwing arm, this will still knock Torres out for the remainder of the 2017 season. The Yankees press release notes that he’s expected to be ready for the start of spring training next year.
With Torres out of the picture, the Yankees are probably going to have to turn to the trade market now if they want to upgrade over Headley for the second half. Which is particularly interesting, because the Red Sox might also be looking for a third baseman over the next six weeks, and with J.J. Hardy on the shelf, it’s possible the Orioles could look for a 3B, with Manny Machado shifting over to shortstop. That would leave three A.L. East teams potentially trying to outbid each other for the same crop of mediocre veteran options.
Regardless of what the Yankees do at third base, this is bad news for Torres, who was on the verge of being a big leaguer. Hopefully he recovers in full and this doesn’t have a detrimental effect on his career, which still looks quite promising.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.