It may be a joke, but Aaron Boone is certainly not laughing.
A day after telling WFAN that it was “a joke” that Gleyber Torres was not selected to the All-Star Game, Boone got a chance to double down. After all, Torres was also not selected as one of the three American League replacements selected Wednesday, despite slashing .295/.363/.544 with 19 homers and 48 RBIs going into the game against the Mets. He added two more RBIs that evening.
“I think it’s a joke that he’s not on that team,” Boone said Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field. “I mean, Gleyber Torres not an All Star? You can kick rocks on that one. That’s ridiculous. He’s been unbelievable for us, a first-place club. The offensive consistency he’s had, the power, the on base, the playing both positions in the middle infield. It doesn’t seem right to me that he’s not on that team.”
Torres, while more understated, tended to agree: “I feel great that he says that word [ridiculous]. I think it’s true, but like I said, we don’t control that and just be ready for next year and try to make the team.”
His play, too, told the same story.
With two outs and two on in the seventh, Torres worked a seven-pitch at bat off Wilmer Font, fouling off a 94-mph fastball before adjusting and hitting the one mistake Font made: a 94-mph sinker over the heart of the plate. His single to left scored DJ LeMahieu to give the Yankees the 5-1 lead and give Torres his second RBI of the night.
In the first inning, he singled off Jason Vargas to drive in Aaron Judge and give the Yankees a two-run lead.
“A little bit [surprised],” Torres said about how he reacted to the news, especially since he made the team last year with numbers that paled to this season (he finished with a .271 average, and 24 homers).
“I didn’t play because of injury,” he said. “This year, I thought I put really better numbers and I don’t know. It’s kind of weird, but I don’t control that. I’ll just prepare better next year and try to make the team.”
Instead of Torres, second baseman Brandon Lowe, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and pitcher Jose Berrios have been selected to replace Tony La Stella, Jake Odorizzi and Hunter Pence. The original All-Star rosters are chosen via a mix of fan vote, player vote, manager selection and the Commissioner’s office. The replacements were selected by the All-Star team manager, Alex Cora, and the Commissioner’s office.
Torres leads all qualified American League second basemen in home runs, is third in batting average, first in slugging and second in on-base percentage, behind LeMahieu. Compare that to the second baseman who was selected on Wednesday, Lowe: A slash line of .276/.339/.523, all lower than Torres’ numbers. Lowe has 16 homers going into Wednesday, three lower than Torres, and 49 RBIs going into Wednesday’s game.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Boone responded when asked why he thinks Torres was snubbed. “Obviously, every team need to be represented. I understand there’s a lot of moving parts that make it difficult and ultimately, every year you have guys that are certainly deserving that don’t get in that game. But the Gleyber is one of those that’s a head scratcher for me.”
Boone said he broke the news to both Torres and Luke Voit — who also seemed to have a good chance of going — in London. Voit, though, would not have been able to play anyway — he has a mild abdominal strain and won’t be back until after the break. Torres’ absence in more noticeable, both for his impact, his youth, and the progress he’s made.
“I think he’s appreciated now around the game as a great player,” Boone said of Torres. “ I feel like his game in little, subtle ways has improved so much as well and those are things that we challenged him on and I feel like he’s met every challenge and he continues to become this polished, well-rounded player at such a young age.”