It wasn’t a surprise that the Tigers selected Spencer Torkelson with the first overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft (though announcing him as a 3B was a mild surprise, that doesn’t mean he’ll stick at the position). There’s a lot to like in regards to his bat, as he brings a blend of approach and power that could move quickly through the minor league system. Check out this quote from the Tigers’ Amateur Scouting Director Scott Pleis, courtesy of MLB.com:
“He’s one of the most polished hitters we’ve seen in the Draft for quite some time, showing plus-plus power and excellent plate discipline. We’ve been tracking Spencer’s growth and performance since his breakout freshman season at Arizona State, and are excited to see him grow in the coming years.”
As noted in the article by Jason Beck, Torkelson is more than just a power bat. Here are a few points that can’t go overlooked:
- He drew 41 walks compared to 45 strikeouts over 57 games, with just 4 walks being intentional during his sophomore season. According to Arizona State’s bio on Torkelson, over his college career he had 104 K vs. 110 BB, further supporting his strong approach.
- His “ability to hit home runs to all parts of the field was a critical trait to draw him to Detroit, where Comerica Park’s deep dimensions pose a challenge for many dead-pull right-handed hitters”.
- Arizona State’s bio also notes that he finished second in career home runs at ASU with 54, just two short of the record (56 by Bob Horner). He also finished with a career .729 SLG, just behind Mitch Jones’ .731 for best in school history.
There were consistent comparison to Kris Bryant, while Baseball America’s scouting report noted:
“Torkelson may be the safest pick among those at the top of the draft thanks to his outstanding hitting ability and the most usable power in the class. He could rise quickly through the minor leagues, and gets compared to Mets first baseman Peter Alonso.”
That’s an intriguing pair of names to be compared to and shows the type of splash he could make when his time comes. The question now is where does Torkelson fit among Tigers’ prospects? In most organizations he’d vault right to the top, but Detroit isn’t most teams. Casey Mize remains locked into the top slot and while you could argue Matt Manning, the presence of Mize often overshadows his talent and causes him to be overlooked. With that in mind, here’s how the Top 10 currently looks:
- Casey Mize – RHP (Grade – A)
- Matt Manning – RHP (Grade – A-)
- Spencer Torkelson – 3B (Grade A-/B+)
- Tarik Skubal – LHP (Grade – B+)
- Isaac Paredes – 3B (Grade – B)
- Riley Greene – OF (Grade – B)
- Daz Cameron – OF (Grade – C+)
- Willi Castro – SS (Grade – C+)
- Alex Faedo – RHP (Grade – C+)
- Jake Rogers – C (Grade C)
Sources – MLB.com, Baseball America, Arizona State University
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: