Detroit Tigers sending Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene to Arizona Fall League

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers are sending a talented group of young players to the Arizona Fall League.

This year, the Tigers will have at least seven players participating, headlined by top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, who could land on the team’s 2022 Opening Day roster coming out of spring training.

Others from the Tigers competing for the Salt River Rafters are shortstop Ryan Kreidler and right-handers Chavez Fernandez, Wilmer Flores, Zack Hess and Garrett Hill. The AFL season begins Oct. 13 and wraps up with the AFL Championship Game on Nov. 20.

Torkelson and Greene are ranked as the Tigers’ Nos. 1 and 2 prospects, respectively, according to MLB Pipeline. The duo — nicknamed “Tork and Greene” — represented the Tigers in the All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field this July.

Kreidler comes in at No. 10 on the list of top prospects.

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Torkelson, 22, made the jump from High-A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo this season.

The first baseman finished with a .267 batting average, 30 home runs, 91 RBIs, 77 walks and 114 strikeouts over 121 games between the Whitecaps (31 games), SeaWolves (50 games) and Mud Hens (40 games). For Triple-A Toledo, Torkelson hit .238 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs, 23 walks and 36 strikeouts.

After waiting in Double-A Erie, Greene, 21, was promoted Aug. 16 with Torkelson. He hit .301 with eight triples, 24 home runs, 84 RBIs, 63 walks and 153 strikeouts across 124 games for the SeaWolves (84 games) and Mud Hens (40 games).

At the Triple-A level, Greene shined with a .308 batting average, eight homers, 30 RBIs, 22 walks and 51 strikeouts. He seems on track to make the Opening Day roster, possibly as the starting center fielder, if he succeeds in spring training.

The Tigers drafted Torkelson No. 1 overall in 2020, after picking Greene No. 5 overall in 2019.

Kreidler, 23, had the biggest breakout season of any prospect in the system. He hit .270 with 22 home runs, 58 RBIs, 56 walks and 158 strikeouts over 129 games. He did so well in Erie that he was included with Torkelson and Greene in the promotions to Triple A.

For the Mud Hens, Kreidler impressed with a .304 batting average, seven home runs, 22 RBIs, 24 walks and 39 strikeouts over 41 games, along with providing above-average defense as a shortstop. The Tigers drafted him in the fourth round from UCLA in 2019.

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Fernander, 24, logged a 3.68 ERA, 26 walks and 56 strikeouts over 58⅔ innings in 33 games (three starts) between High-A West Michigan (11 games) and Double-A Erie (22 games).

Flores, 20, also posted a 3.68 ERA, but he finished with 24 walks and 90 strikeouts across 66 innings in 14 games (13 starts) in the Florida Complex League (3 games) and Low-A Lakeland (11 games).

The Tigers picked up Hess in the seventh round of the 2019 draft from LSU. The 24-year-old advanced to Erie for two outings and three scoreless innings, but not before making 43 relief appearances — spanning 49⅔ innings — for West Michigan.

He combined for a 3.42 ERA, 35 walks and 69 strikeouts over 52⅔ innings out of the bullpen.

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Hill, 25, stood out with a 2.72 ERA, 28 walks and 99 strikeouts in 75⅔ innings as a starter for the Whitecaps (13 games) and the SeaWolves (4 games). He didn’t miss a beat upon his promotion, ending the year with a 3.40 ERA in Double-A.

In Arizona Fall League games, MLB is testing potential rule changes, such as limiting the shift, the automatic strike zone, pitch timers and larger bases.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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