The Spencer Torkelson concerns are overblown
The Detroit Tigers opened the 2023 season with a 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The team had six hits in the game, three of which came from Austin Meadows. Spencer Torkelson went 0-for-4 with three hard-hit groundouts. Those three groundouts all had an exit velocity of at least 100 mph according to Statcast.
Yet, some people think is a bad omen for Torkelson. They saw 0-for-4 in game 1 of 162 and thought "oh, he's the same guy," when that is not the case at all. The concerns are overblown.
People are paying far too much attention to the results. One of those groundouts would have been a base hit had the Rays not come ever so close to breakng the new shift rule. Second baseman Brandon Lowe was lined up about two steps to the right (his left) of second base. It is technically legal under the new rules.
You can't see it in this video, but Torkelson was visibly frustrated after this groundout. He thought the Rays had deployed a shift against him, which would have been a violation and he would have been awarded first base. But this is the Rays, after all. They are very good at finding any loophole they can find.
Another concern about Torkelson that I kept seeing is that he wasn't hitting fastballs, and if you paid any attention to spring training, you know that's false. He was crushing fastballs all March long. It was a very welcome sight. Just because he went 0-for-4 in one game doesn't make him a bust or anything like that.
The groundballs are not a concern either, at least not yet. If we're deep into May and he's still beating everything into the ground, then I'll be concerned. But for now, he's hitting the ball hard and most important, he's on time. That's pretty much all I'm worried about.
Torkelson has never even wanted to be known as a power hitter anyway. He wants to be a well-rounded hitter, something his teammate and future hall-of-famer Miguel Cabrera has always been. If Miggy wanted to hit 50-60 homers in a season during his prime, he easily could have. But he didn't. He hit 35-40 home runs instead and was perfectly content with poking balls to right field if that's all the situation called for. He was just a smart hitter. That's what Tork is trying to be. He even started trying to shoot the ball the other in Toledo in 2021.
Again, don't pay too much attention to the results right now for Spencer Torkelson. It's WAY too early for that. He's hitting the ball hard. He has enough raw power to be able to drive the ball out of the yard. The home runs will come. He just needs some time.