Detroit Tigers: Top 20 prospects for 2022 – Part Two

Tigers 2021 draft pick Ty Madden poses for a photo at Comerica Park.
Tigers 2021 draft pick Ty Madden poses for a photo at Comerica Park. /
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Detroit Tigers No. 2 Prospect – Spencer Torkelson – 1B

Detroit Tigers
Spencer Torkelson smiles as he gets his bat handed to him – Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Spencer Torkelson broke all sorts of power-hitting records at Arizona State on the way to becoming one of the most celebrated college hitters of the last few decades, and the Tigers happily selected him with the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. After an ugly spring training performance and a slow start to the season, Torkelson kicked into gear and spent the next four months demolishing minor-league pitching at three different levels. His production dropped slightly every time he rose a level, and we had some questions about his hit tool, but it’s hard to argue with the ultimate results — he was one of just four minor-leaguers to end the year with 30+ home runs and a walk rate above 14%. And then he went to the Arizona Fall League and reached base in 17 of his 28 plate appearances before bowing out with an ankle injury.

There’s little doubt Spencer Torkelson will be a highly productive offensive player in the big leagues. He has 70-grade raw power, and he gets to almost all of it thanks to terrific swing decisions. He rarely chases out of the zone, and will frequently lay off strikes he can’t drive. Pitchers eventually began taking advantage of some of that passivity, and Torkelson could be sequenced into swinging right through pedestrian offerings in the zone. But in the season’s final weeks he began shooting more balls to the opposite field, and that ability to adjust bodes well for his future. Torkelson played third base early in the year, and he was passable there, but his arm was fringy and it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever be the best defensive third baseman on an MLB squad. He should be fine at first base, and he projects to his 30+ home runs on an annual basis.