RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s been a couple of days since NC State star baseball players Jose Torres and Tyler McDonough heard their names called in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Torres was taken by the Red Sox with the 75th overall pick in the 3rd round. His teammate McDonough was selected 14 picks later by the Reds. When they spoke with the media today about the experience it was obvious the thrill of hearing their names called by big-league teams hadn’t worn off.
“It was awesome just to be able to be considered to be a draft pick especially as high as the second or third round you know,” said Jose Torres. “It’s also nerve-racking of course because you really don’t know who’s going to take you so you’re just kind of waiting to see who’s going to communicate first and the Reds were that team.”
“I’ve never been to Fenway until today actually but yeah it’s a dream come true that’s for sure,” said McDonough. “(Fenway) been the number one field that I’ve always wanted to visit and I got to see it today.”
Torres, who was tabbed as one of the top defensive shortstops in the NCAA this season, made 50 starts in 52 games played this season at the position. He showed off his power in his first full season with the Pack with 10 home runs, a .533 slugging percentage and 44 runs batted in.
McDonough was one of the most consistent players in the nation this year, holding an NCAA-best 53-game reached base streak that went from the beginning of the 2020 season until May 11 and reached safely in 53 of the 55 games he played in this year. Both players heaped high praise on their time in Raleigh and attributed their growth and development into MLB draft picks to the NC State program.
“I’ve learned a lot. I talked to (associate head coach Chris) Hart the other day, and we were just talking about how I got on campus and how my time there was. I was just telling him how much better I got as a player and as a person. Just as a time coming in as a freshman and coming into the spring, I just go so much, so much better,” said Torres. “I’ve got so much love for NC State, for the coaches, for the players, for (communications director Lizzie Hattrich) people like Liz and everybody that works with us. I’m extremely blessed to have played for a top program like that.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff, with (head coach Elliott Avent) Avent, Hart, assistant coach Clint Chrysler and assistant coach Joey Holcombe,” said McDonough. “They definitely taught me a lot of things that I’m going to carry on to my pro ball career, but it’s meant a lot. I’m going to carry a lot from playing at NC State.”
McDonough was eligible for the shortened 2020 MLB Draft, but he was not selected and returned to school for his third season. In his final season, he finished second on the team with a .339 clip and led the squad with 79 hits, 58 runs scored, 21 doubles and 15 home runs. He earned Second Team All-ACC, DI Baseball Third Team All-America and ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-Region honors this season. Needless to say, coming back was the right decision.
“Last year, with the season getting cut early, I was fine with coming back. So I was ready to go but I wasn’t ready to go because I wanted to play one more full season with the Wolfpack,” said McDonough. “But this season, after everything that happened, I thought it was a great way to end it. I was ready to go this year and get my pro career started.”
Torres was a First Team All-ACC and Freshman All-ACC selection. He made eight errors this season and just 10 in his career (69 games) at shortstop. He follows in the footsteps of great NC State shortstops that came before like current Nationals shortstop Trea Turner.
“It just shows how good Hart is with developing infielders and just the program in total. It just shows the hard work he puts into it. This shows a lot of things that maybe doesn’t show on paper,” said Torres. “Just to be considered the next in line is awesome, but it’s great. It just shows how good the program is and how good the program is at developing players. I cannot say anything better about the developing aspect of NC State University.”
Following in the footsteps of those that came before, yes, but Torres is looking to blaze his own trail to the big leagues and likes his chances with the Reds organization.
“I’m excited on the direction that the organization is going. They seem to develop guys. We have a lot of young talent coming up,” said Torres. “It’s going to be a really exciting couple of years for me to be able to play for that team and hopefully make the big leagues and help that team make it to a World Series and win a couple of championships. I’m very excited to get going. I’m hungry to get out there and get better and get my pro career going.”
Meanwhile, his teammate McDonough was who played outfield was actually drafted as an infielder. When asked where Boston will put him on the diamond his answer was typical.
“I have not gotten any confirmation what position I’m going to be playing. I’m going to be bouncing around, kind of like Brock Holt,” said McDonough. “I’m going to get work everywhere, so second, short, third, the outfield positions. I told them whatever gets me on the field.”