With the first overall pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, the Detroit Tigers selected slugging corner infielder Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State. Expected to be a major power source that glides through the minor leagues, Torkelson actually entered Saturday homerless in his first 14 games in Class A-Advanced, slashing just .180/.368/.220.
A zero occupies the home run column no longer for Torkelson. He went deep on Saturday:
Perhaps the floodgates will now open. After going number one and being such a prolific power hitter in college, it's easy to understand the possibility that Torkelson might have been pressing in light of the goose egg. Now that it's out of the way, he can settle in.
Torkelson, 21, hit .337/.463/.729 with 33 doubles, 54 homers and 130 RBI in 129 career games at Arizona State. He also tore up the Cape Cod League in two separate summer stints. Simply: He's hit everywhere, so it's really only a matter of time until he gets insanely hot here in the lower levels of the minors.
Here's what R.J. Anderson wrote about Torkelson this past spring:
Torkelson became the first collegiate first baseman to ever go No. 1 when the Tigers popped him out of Arizona State (they announced him as a third baseman at the time). While it's fair to have reservations about almost any and every right-handed first baseman, there's a lot to like here. He has the bat speed, strength, and barrel control to hit balls long and hard; the approach to accept walks and keep his strikeout rate in check; and the mind to make on-the-fly adjustments to his swing or gameplan. Torkelson probably won't add a ton of value positionally or on the basepaths; he won't have to in order to be a quality part of a lineup.
The smart money is on Torkelson heating up and seeing Double-A at some point this summer. It wouldn't be surprising to see him in the Tigers' lineup at some point in 2022, but that's a long way away.
For now, congrats to Torkelson on his first of likely many professional home runs.