“I’m really looking forward to playing in Arizona again,” the 22-year-old Torkelson told MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo. “Going to school here, I almost took for granted how great it was, how great the atmosphere and the energy was.”
The California native joined prospects from four other organizations — the Brewers, Diamondbacks, Mets, and Rockies — on the Salt River roster for approximately a month’s worth of games in the annual showcase to close the books on a stellar season that featured three stops across the Minor Leagues.
While Torkelson said he isn’t looking to work on one specific element of his game in the AFL, he knows that he’ll be able to raise his baseball IQ while sharing the field with some of baseball’s brightest future stars who are also looking to break through to the big leagues next year.
“They’re great guys. On the baseball field you know they’re very good and they know what they’re doing,” Torkelson said. “It’s going to be really fun to just kind of pick their brains and talk to them; see how they go about their routine and what they do in the cage or just what works for them.”
After spending time at the Tigers alternate site, Torkelson was assigned to High-A Western Michigan, where he hit .312 with five home runs and 28 RBIs across 31 games in his professional debut.
The first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Amateur Draft earned two more promotions and a trip to the 2021 Futures Game throughout the course of the season, finishing the year hitting .276 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in September as a member of Triple-A Toledo’s roster.
Following a full season of adjustments and challenges MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect is not looking back at his accomplishments, but rather focusing his energy on earning an opportunity at an Opening Day roster spot with the Tigers next year.
“I’ve had a long season, but my body still feels pretty good. The way I look at it is next year my goal is to play 162 games and beyond, so for that to happen I think playing an extra 20-30 games in the Fall League can only help me.”