The horrid spring performance that Detroit Tigers fans are looking away from

The Detroit Tigers faithful riot about Javier Báez but are sweeping Spencer Torkelson's struggles under the rug.12
Mar 10, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA;  Detroit Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson (20)
Mar 10, 2024; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson (20) / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are nearing the end of Spring Training, and there are plenty of storylines to follow. One of the ones that fans have jumped on is the struggles of Javier Báez. Guilty as charged, I've written about his horrid spring here at MCB and have held worries of my own when it comes to the Tigers shortstop.

But quietly, another Detroit Tigers player is having a Spring Training from hell—but it's seldom talked about. Fans seem to be sweeping it under the rug and looking the other way. Spencer Torkelson, that's right, the former first-round pick who's still seemingly finding his way.

Once again, I'm guilty as charged. I've looked the other way on Torkelson and, frankly, would buy all the Torkelson stock in the world if that were a thing. I believe Torkelson will take some serious strides in 2024, and I am trying to remain positive, discarding the horrid spring performance.

However, as someone who often rakes Báez over the coals and is overly critical, it only seems fair to point out that Torkelson has been struggling this spring as well. The former first-rounder has not done well at the plate, and something has to change before the team kicks off the season on the 28th.

Spencer Torkelson has struggled for the Detroit Tigers this spring.

Torkelson has played in 13 games this spring, amassing 31 at-bats in which he has hit a measly .129/.250/.226 with four hits. Notably, three of those four hits this spring have resulted in doubles for Torkelson. That's certainly interesting. He's walked four times and struck out 12 times.

It may not be as bad as Báez's line, but it is certainly putrid and cannot leave a lot of hope for Tigers fans as the team gets ready for the 2024 season. But Torkelson's struggles do not feel the same as Báez's. Maybe it's the bias and disdain toward Báez showing, but he's been lost at the plate.

Báez has swing-and-miss issues and has struggled to get anything going, chasing pitches and just looking plain awful. Torkelson, on the other hand, has been hitting the ball. His 12 punchouts on 31 at-bats is still over a 30% punchout clip, but he's still putting the ball in play.

He's only hitting .211 on balls put in play, and a majority of his contact is on balls hit on the ground. Torkelson needs to do some work on matching planes and using that strength of the barrel we all know he has. I'll stand by Torkelson with good confidence that he will figure things out in April.

But something had to be said with a horrid spring going unnoticed or at least not talked about. It's been a rough spring for the former first-overall pick, but there's hope.