Detroit Tigers select Spencer Torkelson in FanGraphs’ Mock Draft
Fangraphs produced their first mock draft of the season, projecting the Detroit Tigers will select Spencer Torkelson first overall.
The MLB draft is two weeks away, meaning everyone is kicking their coverage of the players involved into overdrive like we have here at Motor City Bengals. Included in the trend is the staff over at FanGraphs – with industry staple Eric Longenhagen at the helm of their prospect coverage. He produced his first mock draft for the 2020 draft season, and to the surprise of nobody, he projected the Detroit Tigers would select Spencer Torkelson first overall.
The reasons why he may end up being the top choice in this year’s draft class is obvious. He’s a premium offensive talent with the ability to hit for contact and power at a high level. He outclassed every pitching staff he faced in 2020, batting .340/.598/.780 in his limited action on the year. Those numbers are virtually incomparable to any player in today’s game, but they aren’t too far out of sync from his career .337/.443/.723 line with the Sun Devils.
As the year wears on, the wave of reports indicating the Tigers will opt for Torkelson only gets stronger. Longenhagen adds to that consensus with his mock, saying “the industry thinks Torkelson is the heavy favorite to go first overall and generally sees him as a cut above the rest of the prospects in the draft.”
There’s also a chance that he could wind up being more than a defensively limited first baseman, which some are afraid will cap his value in the long run. Scouts are split on whether he’s athletic enough to handle a more challenging position (perhaps third base or left field), but he’s not the caricature on the field that Prince Fielder was and he’d almost certainly be playing one of those positions if Arizona State didn’t have a loaded defense.
In an article for The Athletic ($), Cody Stavenhagen argued for trying the first baseman at another position as a pro regardless of his uncertain odds of success there. “The Tigers might just try Torkelson in the outfield regardless,” he wrote. “They have little to lose — a move back to first base in Triple A or the major leagues wouldn’t be too difficult of a transition.” In any case, it’s obvious Torkelson would become the crown jewel among position players in the Tigers system.
Another point of interest to Tigers fans is the lack of shortstops mentioned in Logenhagen’s writeup. We recently reported on rumors of Detroit’s interest in drafting a player from that demographic with their second round pick. As a whole, the crop of collegiate shortstops is pretty weak at the top and the best player in the group, Nick Loftin, isn’t even being seriously considered as a top-20 player in this draft class. However, there are rumors of a run on those players leading up to the Tigers’ second pick. It’ll be interesting to see how things fall into place on day one of the draft.
Of course, nothing is sure until draft day, but the fact that none of the players we’ve heard the team is interested in drafting were projected to be taken in the first round by FanGraphs means the team may have a shot at getting their guy with that pick.
In short, the Detroit Tigers are in good shape to walk away from Day One of the draft with two feature players in their future offensive core. Barring something unexpected, it will be a nice change from the direction we’ve seen this management group take so far, with Spencer Torkelson at the tip of the spear.