Spencer Torkelson knows what he needs to do to get back to Tigers after demotion

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

The Tigers had to swallow a pretty bitter pill when they finally decided to demote Spencer Torkelson to Triple-A after 54 games of struggle in the big leagues. Torkelson was their first overall pick in 2020 and showed real potential in his first full season last year, when he only missed three games, hit 31 homers, and even lent his glove to Miguel Cabrera in the future Hall of Famer's last game as a Tiger in what felt like a changing of the guard.

All of that made Torkelson one to watch this year, part of the core of young Tigers players that the front office was basically begging fans to be excited about in hopes we'd forget that the team wasn't aggressive on some of the offseason's top free agent talent.

It was a lot for Torkelson to live up to and, unfortunately, he couldn't. His batting average never broke .250 through April and May, and it took him until mid-May to hit his first home run of the season. He went hitless on June 1, his last start in the majors before he was optioned.

Down in Triple-A, Torkelson didn't pretend it was disheartening to be sent back down, but emphasized his commitment to working hard to get back to Detroit.

Spencer Torkelson still projecting confidence and determination after demotion to Triple-A

Torkelson has appeared in eight games since June 4, and it looks like he may finally be getting his groove back down in Toledo. Of course, Triple-A success doesn't always translate into major league success, but there is a mental element to be able to recover a swing at a still-high level that will hopefully spur Torkelson along.

He went hitless in his first minor league start, but then he proceeded to have three back-to-back multi-hit games and collect 12 total bases. His first Triple-A homer came at the end of that stretch, on June 7.

In those eight games, he's hitting .344 with a .967 OPS with the homer and seven RBI (almost half of what he managed in 54 games in the majors).

While they wait for Torkelson to prove he's ready to come back, the Tigers have mostly relied on Mark Canha at first while giving Gio Urshela and even Colt Keith a reps or two there, while Riley Greene has shifted to left, Matt Vierling to center, and Wenceel Pérez to right to make up for Torkelson's absence.