Ronald Torreyes should remain on Phillies roster

Ronald Torreyes #74 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Ronald Torreyes #74 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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One of the most controversial Philadelphia Phillies decisions back in late March was creating a 40-man roster spot for infielder Ronald Torreyes. He has been on the injured list for most of this season, but now has returned and has shown his value.

No, it is not his two-RBI double in Tuesday’s seven-run eighth inning, or going 2-for-3 the game after. Not even manager Joe Girardi praising him for being a “baseball player” and always ready to go. Torreyes is here because of what the other infielders on the Phillies roster can’t do — play defense.

Comparing Ronald Torreyes to other Phillies infielders

Torreyes, 28, isn’t exactly young, so there is little hope for him to develop into anything more than he is. The veteran isn’t what we would call a “good hitter,” as the best long stretch of his career was three seasons with the New York Yankees, where he had just an 81 OPS+.

While Torreyes hasn’t played a lot for the Phillies, there are a few small defensive stats in recent seasons that we can look at. Back in 2017, the only year Torreyes played enough games to qualify for this stat, Torreyes ranked in the 87th percentile for Outs Above Average.

Looking at the other Phillies players right now, here is how they fall in this category this season:

  • Alec Bohm — 10th percentile
  • Didi Gregorius — doesn’t qualify for 2021, but ranked in just the 1st percentile in 2020
  • Jean Segura — 33rd percentile
  • Nick Maton — 2nd percentile
  • Brad Miller — doesn’t qualify; has played a lot of outfield
  • Scott Kingery — doesn’t qualify; has played a lot of outfield

The Phillies simply don’t have anyone we would consider a good defensive infielder, so Torreyes provides some defensive stability.

Another way we can look at the defense is through UZR/150 — Universal Zone Rating through a 150-inning sample size. We can really only examine Torreyes’ shortstop UZR/150, as he only has four second base innings (along with 16 innings at shortstop).

Comparing Torreyes’ 21.4 UZR/150 with other Phillies infielders

  • Alec Bohm — 2.5  (third base)
  • Didi Gregorius — -4.0 (shortstop)
  • Jean Segura — -7.1 (second base)
  • Nick Maton — 6.5 (second base); 5.2 (shortstop)
  • Brad Miller — 7.2 (second base); 25.4 (third base)
  • Scott Kingery — doesn’t qualify; has played a lot of outfield

Is this Torreys stat perfect? No, but it does prove something that not all of these other infielders have proven yet. When Torreyes plays, he doesn’t kill the Phillies defensively.

Until the Phillies provide some quality infield depth outside of Torreyes, his value will be needed on the 26-man roster.

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