The Spencer Torkelson hype train shouldn’t have to wait until the 2021 season.
The Detroit Tigers drafted Spencer Torkelson first overall into a turbulent MLB environment. At the time, players and owners couldn’t come to an agreement on a 2020 season, let alone look forward to 2021 CBA talks. In a worst-case scenario, the former Arizona State infielder wouldn’t have seen the field for two whole seasons, stunting his development in the process.
With 2021 CBA talks still very much an issue, the Tigers shouldn’t wait on Torkelson to develop in the minors. The team announced their 60-man player pool on Sunday with 58 players, including some of the best prospects in all of baseball such as Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and Riley Greene. Leaving two spots empty also gives them some wiggle room, which ought to be used to give Tork an immediate shot in a shortened season.
The Tigers 60-man player pool was released on Sunday, and Spencer Torkelson wasn’t on it.
Torkelson’s power and advanced plate discipline at his age makes for a short stint in the minor leagues anyway, but given the circumstances, the Tigers ought to add him to their taxi squad at the very least. Such a decision emphasizes the fact that, at this point and time, Torkelson is undoubtedly one of the top-60 talents in an organization which finished with the worst record in baseball in 2019.
The former Sun Devil is expected to sign his contract this weekend, which could explain the Tigers’ delay in including him in this mix to begin with. The team has cast some doubt on where he projects on the diamond, as the longtime first baseman was drafted at the hot corner.
The 20-year-old’s been described as one of the best bats to come out of the MLB Draft in some time, posting an .337/.463/.729 slash line to go with 54 home runs, 33 doubles and a 110-to-104 BB/K ratio. Torkelson was ASU’s regular first baseman, but admitted he’d be comfortable at third should the Tigers choose to employ him there.
Of course, should he be given time to mature into an everyday player after this season, Torkelson could be a natural replacement at first for Miguel Cabrera, who’s spent plenty of time at DH the last few seasons anyway due to injury.
For his sake, and the Tigers’, Torkelson’s next step ought to be an unprecedented one, which includes the possibility of major league at-bats in 2020.