The 2021 MLB draft saw eight NC State baseball players selected, with shortstop Jose Torres and outfielder Tyler McDonough leading the way, going in the third round to the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox, respectively. These two players are indicative of the continued success of Wolfpack baseball players at the professional level.
Torres is the latest in a string of NC State shortstops that are progressing through the professional ranks, joining the likes of Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp shortstop and Miami Marlins prospect Joe Dunand, as well as Richmond Flying Squirrels shortstop and San Francisco Giants prospect Will Wilson. Torres credited the Wolfpack coaching staff with helping prepare infielders for the next level.
“It just shows how good [associate head coach Chris Hart] is with developing infielders and just the program in total,” Torres said. “It just shows the hard work he puts into it. ... 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.”
Despite playing in the outfield for most of his college career, McDonough could also see some time in the infield at the professional level. Much like former Boston Red Sox utility player and current Texas Ranger Brock Holt, McDonough is slated to fill in at multiple positions in his pro career.
“I have not gotten any confirmation what position I’m going to be playing,” McDonough said. “I’m going to be bouncing around, kind of like Brock Holt. I’m going to get work everywhere, so second, short, third, the outfield positions. I told them whatever gets me on the field.”
Regardless of where they line up on the diamond, both Torres and McDonough were extremely thrilled to watch each other get drafted, along with the other Wolfpack alumni taken off the board. The comradery among the Wolfpack was as strong as ever on draft day.
“That was awesome,” Torres said. “I remember when Tyler got picked, he was a couple picks in front of me, I was excited. It was like I thought that I got drafted, that’s how excited I was. The love we’ve got for each other, that team will always be together. We’ll always remember each other. Just to see all those guys sign and get drafted and all that good stuff, it’s just a great ending to a great group of guys.”
McDonough himself was in disbelief when the Red Sox made him the first State player taken off the board. Despite the ironic fact that it was Torres, and not the Ohioan McDonough, who was taken by Cincinnati, the switch-hitter was nevertheless ecstatic to be a part of the Red Sox organization.
“I couldn’t say how excited I am,” McDonough said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better organization and I’m excited to get started with them.”
Torres, for his part, is also raring to go at the pro level. Given the Reds’ recent success in developing hitters like second baseman Jonathan India and 2021 All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker, Torres could be the next young prospect to ascend through Cincinnati’s farm system.
“I’m excited on the direction that the organization is going,” Torres said. “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.”
From Boston’s on-field success with four World Series titles in the 21st century to Cincinnati’s increasingly successful farm system, it is no surprise that these two newly minted minor league Pack Pros are excited to get their professional careers underway.