Top prospect Torkelson makes pro debut

Detroit Tigers

May 5: Goes 0-for-3 in pro debut
The first regular-season game of Spencer Torkelson’s professional career is in the books. The Tigers’ top prospect made his debut at High-A for the West Michigan Whitecaps in the 2021 Minor League season opener on Tuesday.

Batting in the No. 2 spot and playing third base against the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Padres’ High-A affiliate, Torkelson went 0-for-3 with one walk and three strikeouts.

The 21-year-old drew his walk against left-hander Ethan Elliott in the third inning. He struck out against Elliott in his first at-bat and against right-handers Felix Minjarez and Austin Smith in his last two at-bats.

April 29: Assigned to High-A
The road to Detroit will take Spencer Torkelson to Class A West Michigan when the Minor League season begins next week. Rosters were revealed for the entire Tigers farm system on Thursday as prospects get ready for their first Minor League games in nearly two years. Full-season affiliates begin play next Tuesday.

Torkelson, the top overall selection in last summer’s MLB Draft, becomes the first top overall pick to pass through West Michigan in franchise history. He joins fellow 2020 Tigers pick Dillon Dingler, Daniel Cabrera and Trei Cruz at West Michigan in the Whitecaps’ first foray into High-A ball. Parker Meadows and Bryant Packard return, joining Cabrera in what should be a stacked outfield, along with reliever Zack Hess. More »

March 30: Lessons from Spring Training
Torkelson’s first Spring Training as a professional player ended Tuesday with a ball fitting of the top prospect’s frustrations — a 409 foot drive caught on the warning track. There were no Tork Bombs, but there were plenty of learning experiences. He went 1-for-27, his lone hit a single on March 13 against the Phillies, with four walks and 16 strikeouts. His most famous cut came from his makeshift attempt at opening a can while making dinner, a mishap that would be a footnote for most prospects but a story for baseball’s most recent top overall Draft pick.

Torkelson, MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 overall prospect, earned high marks through it all, not only for his work ethic, but his humility and sense of humor. Still, his frustration was evident after his at-bats. He didn’t chase many pitches, which was good, but he was caught indecisive on pitches in the zone.

Torkelson will likely open his pro career at High-A West Michigan, general manager Al Avila said; the Whitecaps begins their season on May 4. Until then, he’ll be staying in Lakeland to take part in Minor League camp. More »

March 13: First Spring Training hit
After a slow start to his first Spring Training, Torkelson lined his first hit of the spring in a pinch-hit appearance versus the Phillies. Torkelson broke an 0-15 spell to start the spring, lining a base hit to left field in the Tigers 9-3 loss. Gameday »

March 4: Rolling with the punches
The early scouting reports from Spencer Torkelson’s first Spring Training are in: 70-grade power, 80-grade sense of humor and humility.

“I think everyone goes through it every now and then,” the Tigers’ top prospect said of his pratfalls. “But I chose a pretty good time to do it, the first week of camp.” More »

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