Detroit Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson made the Opening Day roster. If he starts in the team’s home opener on Friday, he will make some history.
Detroit Tigers fans were hit with the sad news this morning about Riley Greene’s injury. But there was one positive that really got Tigers’ fans excited once again. 2020 1st pick overall Spencer Torkelson was told he made the team on Saturday morning.
There was a meeting that took place in A.J. Hinch’s office with general manager Al Avila and Miguel Cabrera were also present. With a big hug from Cabrera, he gave Torkelson his blessing in a unique way.
Considering that Torkelson moved up three levels last season in his first professional season in baseball, it was an easy decision. He hit .280/.406/.440 with an OPS of .846 in spring training with a home run. (7-for-25)
Why Spencer Torkelson making the team is historic.
Chris Shelton, the Tigers Rule 5 pick in 2004, started for Detroit at first base in his rookie season on June 2nd, 2005, after being called up to Toledo. Prior to that, as far as rookies who were drafted by the Tigers or signed with the ball club that went north with the team, the history is far and few in between.
You would have to go back to 1933 when Hall of Famer first baseman Hank Greenberg started for Detroit at Navin Field on April 22nd against the St. Louis Browns. He pinched hit in 1930 but never fielded the position until that day.
Before that, it was in 1929, when Dale Alexander put up one of most impressive seasons for a rookie in Tigers history. He hit .343/.397/.580 with 25 HR and 137 RBIs and became just the second Tigers player at that time (Harry Heilmann the first) to hit 20 or more home runs.
Former Tigers 1B Jason Thompson came up in June 1976 when he was just 21 years old in his rookie season and hit 14 before a strong second season in 1977 with 31 home runs. The Tigers rookie record for most home runs by a first baseman is held by Rudy York with 35.
It’s good to see Spencer Torkelson already in some rare company even before the season starts.