Detroit Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson needs a breakthrough.
The 2023 season is getting closer by the day. Spring Training is less than a month away. The Detroit Tigers' 2023 outlook is quite scary. After an off-season full of questions, there is not much to be excited about. Moves were made, but many fans are still frustrated.
While some fans may feel like there is nothing to be excited about or nothing to pay attention to in 2023 with this Detroit Tigers team, there is. Riley Greene will likely come out in his second season looking to build off a successful start.
Greene's performance was impressive; he showed his tools and made it clear he can develop into an everyday big-league outfielder with a bat that will work well in the Tigers lineup. His battery mate, Spencer Torkelson, has not had the same experience.
Torkelson was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2020 MLB First-Year Amateur Draft and worked through the system as the presumptive no.1 prospect with Greene trailing him. But Torkelson has not been able to get things rolling in the big leagues.
His tools in college with Arizona State had the makings of a generational talent. Torkelson's abilities with the bat were ranted and raved about, and it felt like the Tigers were coming away with the best talent in the draft class, someone who was going to be the face of this franchise.
As 2023 comes into focus, Torkelson is hoping to find his footing in his second season in the big leagues. It's not that his door is closing already, but he must show strides in the right direction. Torkelson played in 110 games with the Tigers in 2022, where he slashed .203/.285/.319 with 16 doubles, a triple, and eight home runs with 37 walks and 99 strikeouts.
After breaking camp with the team, he had two stints with the Tigers but found himself back in Triple-A with the Toledo Mud Hens for a reset. He played in 35 games with the Mud Hens, where he slashed .229/.348/.389 with six doubles and five home runs while walking 23 times and striking out 41 times.
The offensive tools have not been there. One of the biggest issues that Torkelson has shown is swing decisions. Being able to avoid the swing and miss or taking strikes was an area of struggle for the infielder.
The good news is that Torkelson still has time. But 2023 has to be a breakthrough season for him. I'd like to see him come out swinging. The slash line needs a boost with some more doubles and, hopefully, some more home runs with Comerica Park's fences being adjusted.
Beyond that, looking for Torkelson to make better swing decisions is key. Ultimately an improvement on his BB:K ratio would be nice for him to show he's making better decisions in the batters' box. Do not give up on Torkelson yet, but he needs to have a breakthrough season in 2023.