Detroit Tigers: Spencer Torkelson Number 1 Prospect in Baseball

After hitting an RBI single against the Altoona Curve in the first inning, Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson, left, greets teammate Drew Ward coming out of the dugout on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie.P1seawolves061821
After hitting an RBI single against the Altoona Curve in the first inning, Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson, left, greets teammate Drew Ward coming out of the dugout on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie.P1seawolves061821 /
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With Wander Franco getting the call up for the Tampa Rays tonight, where does that leave the ranking of Detroit Tigers infielder Spencer Torkelson?

As far as prospect rankings go, Baseball America ($) is the gold standard among most of the lists. We have recently seen many Detroit Tigers hit the top 100 in the last few years with Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Riley Greene.

There is also MLB Pipeline, which has Torkelson at number three, Greene at 15, and Manning at 18. But there is one thing about both lists the Detroit Tigers have in common and that is, there has never been a  prospect out of the Tigers system to be ranked number one.

Interestingly enough, since the list began in 1990 on Baseball America, three former number one rated prospects have played for the Tigers. Former Michigan high school standout out of Taylor, MI, Steve Avery, who was the first number one in 1990 (he played in Detroit 2003). Todd Van Poppel who was number one in 1991 (pitched for the Tigers in 1996) and Delmon Young in 2006 (played for Detroit in 2011 and 2012)

Does anyone win a trophy for being number one? No, but it is a nice notch to have for an organization in their belt. But it got us to thinking, how close is Spencer Torkelson to being the number one prospect on either list?

After a slow start to his season, Torkelson has been one of the hottest hitters in all of minor league baseball. He has made the early adjustment to Double-A and looks like a different hitter since his early outings down at West Michigan. Torkelson has been driving the ball to all fields and at first base, looking more and more at home.

Taking out personal bias as I have seen him three times this season and looking at the list on both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, let’s see who is ahead of him. Wander Franco was number one on both.

Baseball America:

2. Adley Rutschman

3. Julio Rodriguez

4. Jarred Kelenic

5. Spencer Torkelson 

MLB Pipeline:

2. Adley Rutschman

3. Spencer Torkelson

There are all the stat lines for each player. For any fan who reads the box score each evening or watches the highlights on any social media channel, you only see the best portion of each player unless you go to games and see full at-bats.

Based on the recent impressions of Spencer Torkelson, he should get heavy consideration for being the number one overall prospect on either list.  Once Wander officially graduates from prospect status which is when according to the collective bargaining agreement. 

"To qualify for rookie status, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or have accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club(s) during the 25-player-limit period, excluding time on the injured list or in military service. The rankings continue to follow the guidelines laid out by the Collective Bargaining Agreement in terms of who falls under the international pool money rules. Players who are at least 25 years old and have played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible."

For any prospect fans out there, if you have seen these players, where does Spencer Torkelson stand in your mind? A month ago, this discussion could not even be had but his recent surge has given Detroit Tigers fans a glimpse of possible future things to come.

This is a fun debate to have the respected fanbases. It will be interesting to see as the lists change.

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