NEW YORK -- The Yankees have never boasted back-to-back Rookie of the Year Award winners, but with Gleyber Torres compiling an impressive follow-up to Aaron Judge's remarkable campaign, they may want to begin clearing some shelf space.• Vote Torres on 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star BallotTorres crushed his 13th home
NEW YORK -- The Yankees have never boasted back-to-back Rookie of the Year Award winners, but with Gleyber Torres compiling an impressive follow-up to Aaron Judge's remarkable campaign, they may want to begin clearing some shelf space.
• Vote Torres on 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot
Torres crushed his 13th home run, a three-run shot off left-hander Blake Snell, in the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Rays on Thursday night. It was the second consecutive game with a homer and the third in five games for the 21-year-old, who leads all Major League rookies in homers and RBIs (33) since making his big league debut on April 22.
"I'm working every day," Torres said. "I don't think about homers. I just try to put the ball into play and help, do my job every time. If I get a homer, I'm happy. If I get a base hit and help the team, I'm happy. I just try to take good at-bats, believe, focus and do my job."
While the Yankees believed Torres would develop into a valuable piece of their lineup, he has ascended to an elite level more quickly than anticipated and is playing like an All-Star. No one has been more caught off guard by the surge than Torres, who slugged 24 home runs in 1,591 plate appearances over five seasons in the Minors, and called this recent stretch "weird."
"I think when you mature every day, every at-bat, I believe in what I can do," Torres said. "I try to put the ball in play, help my team. If I get something good, it's good for me."
Torres has belted 10 homers in his past 89 plate appearances, and he leads all Major Leaguers with five three-run homers. His 13 homers are the seventh-most in American League history through 45 games and the third-most by a Yankee, trailing Gary Sanchez (19) and Kevin Maas (15).
Since May 2, only J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox (17) has hit more balls out of ballparks than Torres; Michael Trout of the Angels has also hit 13 homers in that span. Yankees manager Aaron Boone points to Torres' ability to adjust within at-bats, noting that Torres can look bad on an early pitch, then recover to work a deep count.
"He's hit a lot of different pitches out for home runs, whether it's offspeed pitches, fastballs, different quadrants of the strike zone," Boone said. "He's shown the ability to handle different pitches, the ability to go the other way into the big part of the field. His in-game adjustability is something I've been pleased with."
Before Judge in 2017, the Yankees' most recent AL Rookie of the Year winner was Derek Jeter (1996). Others have included Gil McDougald (1951), Bob Grim (1954), Tony Kubek (1957), Tom Tresh (1962), Stan Bahnsen (1968), Thurman Munson (1970) and Dave Righetti (1981).
"I think for me, the most important is to try to help my team any second, any opportunity I've got," Torres said. "I'm just focused on the game, focused on the opportunity I've got to help my team and do my job. I think that's most important."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.