The Detroit Tigers selected phenom Spencer Torkelson with the 1st overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft, and so far, he looks every bit as good as advertised.
In his first season of professional baseball spread across three clubs (High-A West Michigan (31 games), Double-A Erie (50 games) and Triple-A Toledo (40 games), Torkelson hit.267 with 30 home runs, and 91 RBIs 121 games.
And he’s expected to make his long-awaited MLB debut sometime during the 2022 season.
“It’s really cool to have the opportunity,” Torkelson said Thursday from his new offseason home in Gilbert, Arizona. “I’m sure Riley is the same way: Obviously, you want to make your big-league debut, but you want to win. You don’t want to show up and be like, ‘All right, I made it to the big leagues, everything’s good.’
“We want to succeed there. We want to help the team win.”
Of course, there was certainly a learning curve going from 57 games played to 121.
“The thing I took most from 2021 was learning how to play professional baseball,” Torkelson said. “It’s the same game — everyone says that — but it’s a little different because you’re playing every day. In college, I played 57 games in my longest season. This year, I played 121.”
“Every level is an adjustment,” Torkelson continued. “I was kind of naïve going into spring training like, ‘Oh, I’ve succeeded in baseball before, so this isn’t going to be an issue.’ All of a sudden, I’m struggling. It was like, ‘All right, that didn’t go as planned.’ But it definitely helped me out in the long run. There are going to be times like that, and just knowing your keys, knowing yourself and knowing how to get out of the funk faster.”
The Tigers made considerable strides in 2021 under new manager A.J. Hinch, and fans are excited to see what 2022 has in store for the team that could also potentially feature fellow highly touted prospect Riley Greene.
“I’m just excited to get better and show up to the field every day,” Torkelson said. “Sometimes in the offseason, it feels like your life doesn’t have any meaning. It might just be me, but I just want to play baseball.”
– – Quotes via The Detroit Free Press Link – –