| Detroit Free Press
Spencer Torkelson smashes home run in Tigers instructional league game
Detroit Tigers infield prospect Spencer Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020 MLB draft, smashes a home run to LF in instructional league game in Lakeland, Fla., Oct. 19, 2020.
Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
All five of them — third baseman Spencer Torkelson, outfielder Riley Greene, right-handers Casey Mize and Matt Manning and lefty Tarik Skubal — are among the best 31 prospects in the game. The annual preseason list was released Monday.
Torkelson leads the Tigers at No. 5 overall, followed by Skubal (No. 20), Mize (No. 28), Manning (No. 30) and Greene (No. 31). Mize and Skubal made their MLB debuts in 2020, while Manning, Torkelson and Greene are still awaiting their call-ups.
Baseball America’s top-10 prospects, in order: Wander Franco (Rays), Adley Rutschman (Orioles), Julio Rodriguez (Mariners), Jarred Kelenic (Mariners), Torkelson (Tigers), Sixto Sanchez (Marlins), Cristian Pache (Braves), Ian Anderson (Braves), Dylan Carlson (Cardinals) and MacKenzie Gore (Padres).
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Mize logged a 6.99 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 13 walks in 28⅓ innings for the Tigers last season. Skubal finished with a 5.63 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 32 innings.
Earlier this month, Tigers general manager Al Avila predicted Manning will start 2021 in Triple-A Toledo, Greene in Double-A Erie and Torkelson in High-A West Michigan.
Manning and Greene haven’t played minor-league baseball since 2019, as farm systems shut down in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years ago, Manning — the No. 9 overall pick in 2016 — posted a 2.56 ERA, 148 strikeouts and 38 walks in 113⅔ innings for Double-A Erie. Greene — the No. 5 pick in 2019 — had a .271 batting average, five homers and 28 RBIs between three low levels of the minors.
The Tigers expect Torkelson, the No. 1 pick in 2020, to serve as a franchise cornerstone, impactful enough to help relieve them of the rebuild. He hit .337 with 54 home runs and 130 RBIs in 129 games across two-plus seasons at Arizona State.