“We think he’s going to be a mainstay in our lineup for a long time,” the manager said.
Baseball America and MLB.com each ranked Torres the Yankees’ top prospect heading into the season, a 21-year-old Venezuelan standing 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds.
Baseball America called Torres its sixth best prospect in the game before the season while MLB.com had him at No. 5.
“Pretty much everything but the on-ice play was awesome. So we need to fix that for next year. I need to be better. But we’re not that far off,” he said then.
One year later, the Devils are a playoff team. Things were fixed. Hall was better.
“He’s the reason we’re here. And he’s the reason we’re going to continue to move on from here,” Coleman said.
It was Manning, of course, who rocked Accorsi’s football world. He saw him for the first time in Manning’s junior year, taking Ole Miss up and down the field against Auburn. The more he studied, the more impressed he was with subtleties — such as the way Manning, after an incomplete pass, would meet the receiver on his way back to the huddle, not to scold but to encourage and teach.
He recalls standing on the field for Manning’s Pro Day in New Orleans, feeling exhilarated by what he was seeing and then dejected, thinking, “It’s gonna break my heart not to get this guy.’’ Nearby, Tom Coughlin was diligently charting every throw made by Manning.
“I said, ‘Tom, I don’t give a damn about your sheet, we’re picking him if we can get him, OK?’” Accorsi said.
Sure enough, Accorsi’s fears were realized, momentarily, when the Chargers took Manning — who had previously stated he would not play for them — with the first pick. Accorsi, at No. 4, took Philip Rivers even though he had no interest in moving forward with Rivers as the Giants’ quarterback, sensing he could ship him to San Diego. The gamble paid off, a trade was made. Accorsi’s conviction on Manning hit the mark and, all these years later, the Giants have yet to replace him.