Not long ago, Spencer Torkelson was considered the best power hitter in college baseball, on his way to being a top pick in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Torkelson, as we now know, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, and despite having millions of dollars that he did not have a couple of months ago, he now just one of the guys on the Detroit Tigers taxi-squad in Toledo.
Former Detroit News writer Lynn Henning recently spoke to Torkelson about his adjustment to professional baseball and how he is handling things in Toledo with the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong.
“We’re playing baseball, and not a lot of people can say that, so I think I’m handling it great,” said Torkelson, who in fact became the 2020 draft’s first choice and who six weeks ago signed an $8.416 million contract with the Tigers. “I’m having a lot of fun, just embracing it all. A lot of guys who’ve been in the organization longer than I have are showing me the ropes — the do’s and don’ts of learning how to be a professional baseball player.”
Torkelson spoke about facing Major League-caliber arms on a daily basis and how different it has been from facing college pitchers.
“Good experience to face these high-quality arms, these guys with velocity, tight breaking balls, and change-ups,” said Torkelson, who on Aug. 26 turns 21. “Every guy on the mound is good. There’s no comfortable at-bat.
“You’ve got to grind out every single at-bat. It kind of wakes you up. It’s not as easy as in college. There’s a learning curve here. But it’s fun to see progress in the batter’s box.”
“You have your bad days, you have your good days,” said Torkelson, who broke all kinds of power and batting records during his ASU days. “Sometimes you forget that you once knew how to hit, because these guys give you such a nasty sequence.
“But then you have to forget about it. You clear your head. It’s not like in college where you can get out of bed most any day and get one or two knocks and be successful. Here, you’ve got to focus on every single at-bat
“They (pitchers) aren’t going to take a pitch off, so you’re not going to take a swing off.”
“They always throw a pitcher’s pitch. And you can’t hit a pitcher’s pitch. You’ve got to wait for a mistake. These guys don’t make many mistakes, so you’ve got to be on it.”
One thing is for sure, Spencer Torkelson has all of the tools to become a very good Major League Baseball player for the Detroit Tigers. The question is, will Tork put it all together and help lead us to a World Series?
Only time will tell.
–Quotes via Lynn Henning, Detroit News– LINK