Torkelson, Dingler earn Double-A promotion

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — Tigers top prospect Spencer Torkelson slugged his way from High-A West Michigan to Double-A Erie, earning a promotion up the organizational ladder along with top catching prospect Dillon Dingler.

The promotions put Detroit’s top three offensive prospects — and three of the Tigers’ top four prospects — in Erie, teaming Torkelson and Dingler with outfielder Riley Greene. Add in shortstop Ryan Kreidler, who shares the team lead with six home runs, and four of Detroit’s top 21 prospects will be in the same formidable lineup.

It’s the second prospect collection in as many seasons for the SeaWolves, who had Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Joey Wentz in their rotation in 2019.

The Tigers announced the moves Sunday evening. Both had been anticipated following general manager Al Avila’s comments Friday that the front office was in discussions on when to move the Torkelson/Dingler duo up.

“We’re very excited about Dingler and Torkelson at this point,” Avila said during a Friday afternoon session with reporters discussing the state of the organization. “Obviously, they were struggling, particularly Torkelson, and now he’s bounced back and he’s showing why he was the first pick [in last year’s MLB Draft] and why Dingler was the [Tigers’] second pick.”

Torkelson and Dingler spent six weeks at West Michigan, the first Minor League stop of their pro careers after spending Spring Training in Major League camp as non-roster invites.

Torkelson, the No. 3 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, struggled for his first 2 1/2 weeks, going 9-for-50 with two extra-base hits — both doubles — 14 walks and 18 strikeouts. His advanced judgment of the strike zone was evident, but he took time to convert that into solid contact.

Once he began centering pitches, he heated up quickly, showing the formidable power that made him a star at Arizona State. He hit his first pro home run on May 22 at Wisconsin as part of a three-hit game, then went on a tear. From that game through Sunday, Torkelson batted 25-for-59 (.424) with nine doubles, five home runs and 20 RBIs. Among his majestic Tork Bombs was a 442-foot homer to straightaway center on June 3 against the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, Mich.

Torkelson’s 1.009 OPS tops the High-A Central. His .440 on-base percentage ranks second. His .312 average ranks fourth.

Dingler had a steadier path through the league, going hitless in just nine of 32 games, delivering consecutive hitless games just twice. He batted .240 with an .836 OPS in May before starting June with four consecutive multi-hit games, including a three-hit performance against the Great Lakes Loons that included a 445-foot grand slam and a pair of doubles.

Dingler finishes his Whitecaps tenure batting .287 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. His .925 OPS ranks fourth-best in the league.

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