The former top prospect in all of baseball certainly lived up to the hype in his first two seasons when he hit .275 with an .849 OPS, and blasted 38 home runs in 2019.
But after becoming the every day shortstop, he struggled on both sides of the ball. He hit just 12 home runs in 2020 and 20212 combined, and was left out of this year’s Opening Day starting lineup.
While his overall numbers this season still aren’t great (.222 average, .702 OPS, five home runs, 18 RBI), he’s still been one of the most clutch players for the pinstripes this year.
“I feel like I’m coming to the ballpark…and just feel like later in the game, I’ll have an opportunity,” Torres after his five-RBI afternoon on Wednesday. “So mentality is just be ready, do my cage work, my ground balls, my BP, and just be ready for any opportunity. The game, every inning changes for any one reason… Confidence wise, really good right now, and just be patient every time I go to home plate, and try to do damage every time.”
“Seeing how he’s handled everything has been really, really god. How you’ve hoped. And on those days, he’s had some really big at-bats off the bench. One of the reasons he’s had success in that role, too, is because he’s ready, and that’s been good to see,” said Aaron Boone.
In his first 11 games, Torres hit just .143. In his next 13, he hit .317 with a .610 slugging percentage while notching two walk-off hits in that span. He then went 0 for his next 11 before going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and two-run single on Wednesday.
That second slump was a product of some bad luck, says Boone.
“I think those at-bats have been there. Didn’t get any results yesterday, but feel like he’s right there. He’s on time – kind of grabbed me before his first at-bat, trying to get some hits, because he knows he feels good at the plate. Smoked a ball up the middle the first time, lined out right into the shift there up the muddle, and then got enough of one, a big hit to get us some tack-on runs there… Just more good at-bats by him in some big situations, obviously,” said Boone.
Despite his couple of rough stretches, Torres says he has a lot of confidence when he goes up to the plate now, despite not necessarily being a mainstay in the lineup. In his last 17 games, he’s hitting .273 (15-for-55) with an .839 OPS – numbers that are very similar to his first couple of seasons in the big leagues – with four homers and 16 RBI.
“I feel really good. My swing is getting better and better, and I’m working hard every day to be the way I want to be. But so far, so good. I think [my] confidence is back, and that’s the most important thing for me…
“Last year was a struggle for me. After the season, I saw too many videos. Working, working in the cage, all that kind of stuff, and now, all of that work I put in the offseason, it shows every time I go to home plate… Just try to be on top of those situations and be simple.”