Spencer Torkelson, the Detroit Tigers' most consistent hitter this season, was named Tiger of the Year by the Detroit Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. This marks the first time I participated in the voting, and I would like to express my gratitude to the fellow writers in the organization for the opportunity to be part of this chapter. The chapter has been giving out this award since 1965.
Torkelson is in contention for the Silver Slugger Award as one of four American League first basemen finalists. He led the Tigers in games played (159), home runs (31), doubles (34), and hits (141). Torkelson's 31 homers were the most by a Tigers player in a single season since Miguel Cabrera, with 38, and Justin Upton, with 31, in 2016. The last Tiger to win the award at first base was Cabrera in 2008.
Spencer also made history as the first player in Tigers' history to record 30 or more doubles, 30 or more home runs, and 90 or more RBIs in his age-23 season. In the second half of the season, Torkelson hit 19 home runs and put up an impressive OPS of .816.
Other candidates that were considered for the award and received at least one vote:
1. Eduardo Rodriguez
The pending free agent led the team in bWAR (3.5) strikeouts (143) and innings pitched (152.2) over 26 starts
2. Tarik Skubal
The left-hander came back with a vengeance after flexor tendon surgery. So much so that he was, according to FanGraphs, the most valuable pitcher in all of baseball. His FIP (2.00) was ranked first and his strikeout rate of 32.9% was second, next to Braves starter Spencer Strider.
3. Kerry Carpenter
Carpenter, as well as catcher Jake Rogers, received one vote for Tiger of the Year. Carpenter posted a batting average of .278, an on-base percentage of .340, and a slugging percentage of .471, resulting in an OPS of .811 over 118 games. He, Rogers (21), and Torkelson were among three players who hit 20 or more home runs for Detroit.