Three players facing make-or-break seasons for the Detroit Tigers

Oct 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a single
Oct 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a single / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
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3. 1B Spencer Torkelson

Torkelson, unlike the others listed above, aren't on the 40-man fringe. Regardless of what happens for him in 2023, it's fair to assume his spot on the roster is safe at season's end. However, if Torkelson essentially repeats his rookie season, he cannot be the starting first baseman for the Detroit Tigers in 2024. Hard stop.

I do still ultimately see an everyday profile for Spencer Torkelson, and given the financial investment the organization made in making him the first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, he will get every chance to realize such a role for the organization. No, Torkelson doesn't need to have an all-star season. But a .230/.310/.380 line with 20 home runs is a pretty reasonable ask to justify a starting role moving forward.

It's a perplexing profile--he doesn't have the prototypical first base size, yet he's more athletic and a better runner than the average first baseman. His exit velocities are strong, but he hit just .203 in 2022 and his xBA doesn't even suggest bad luck. He takes his walks and he rarely chases out of the zone, but his passive nature haunts him at times. To top it off, his ISO is .115 on pitches middle/middle and he's hitting just .212 in the same zone.

It's not time to panic with Spencer Torkelson, but it is time to be cautious. If improvement doesn't happen in 2023, it leaves the organization to develop a different plan for the position in the near-term. He may not lose his job in any event, but he'll most certainly lose his role.

Next. What the 2023 Detroit Tigers Opening Day lineup could look like as of right now. dark