Torres' instant impact with Yanks is no accident

Second baseman says success in big leagues is product of hard work

July 4th, 2018

NEW YORK -- When talks about the success he's enjoying in his rookie season for the New York Yankees, he makes it clear that he's not taking anything for granted. But the 21-year-old isn't entirely surprised that he's hit the ground running either.
Torres entered 2018 as MLB's No. 5 overall prospect, per MLB Pipeline. After missing the latter portion of the 2017 campaign due to Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm, he started the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .347 in 14 games before making his Major League debut on April 22.
The Venezuelan native hasn't looked back. He entered Wednesday's series finale against the Braves hitting .296 with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .913 OPS in 239 plate appearances.
"A few things have surprised me, obviously. I had never played at this level and I've done things I'd never done before," Torres said on Tuesday at a news conference for Spanish-language media at Yankee Stadium. "On the other hand, I worked hard. I always tried my hardest, always did things the right way. I think this is the reward for my hard work in the Minor Leagues. Nothing is handed to you. I think hard work does it all. I simply have to keep working hard and try to improve every day."
A shortstop by trade, Torres has also given New York stability at second base, a position that is relatively new to him. He first started playing the position in the Minors in 2016, following the trade that sent him from the Cubs to the Yankees for closer . With Didi Gregorius entrenched as the Yankees' starting shortstop, Torres' flexibility has allowed him to have regular playing time.

"Confidence," Torres said. "I think that's the main thing -- to trust that I can help the team at that position. I think that's been the key to my success so far. I feel very comfortable at that position. Long-term, I don't know. I'm very comfortable [at second base]. The main thing is helping the team, be it at second base or another position."
Torres has also been adapting to -- and enjoying -- his new city.
"It's New York," Torres said. "There are so many things to see. Every chance I get, I try to get to know the city a little better and get to know the people, how the world works here."
The newest Baby Bomber could soon command an even bigger stage. He has a shot at suiting up for the American League in the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, though it would most likely be as a reserve. In the most recent ballot update for the 89th Midsummer Classic, Torres was in second place -- albeit a distant second -- behind his fellow countryman and reigning American League MVP, of the Astros.
"I don't get ahead of myself," Torres said about a possible All-Star selection. "I simply live the present moment."
Torres' debut to date also makes him a front-runner for Rookie of the Year in the American League. Should they both continue to perform, teammate also figures to warrant consideration for the award.

Yankees first-year manager Aaron Boone has been impressed with the way both youngsters have approached the big stage.
"They're both really talented players, really good players," Boone said. "They are both aware of that. They play with confidence; they have a swagger in their step. But I think what I love about them is that they have all the attributes that it takes to be a great player -- the confidence and all that -- but there's a humility about them.
"They are all about team. They love their teammates. I think they love coming to play and being a part of this club. And that rubs off and that shows every single day. I think when they've hit a little valley and -- it hasn't been a lot -- when they've struggled for a couple days, they are able to pretty quickly make adjustments, which is a nice attribute to have and not always easy for a young player."
Torres is well aware that the key to his success will be making those adjustments as pitchers around the league adjust to him.
"You can't get comfortable," Torres said. "Everyone is making adjustments. I have to keep making adjustments so that I can improve. Just do my best every day and keep working hard on my defense so that I can help the team."