Tigers’ Spencer Torkelson suffers ankle sprain, finished for Arizona Fall League

Detroit News

Spencer Torkelson’s stint in the 2021 Arizona Fall League is over.

Torkelson suffered a sprained ankle in a game Wednesday and will not play again before the AFL season closes next month, a Tigers source with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed.

Torkelson was the MLB Draft’s first-overall pick in 2020 and had a huge first full season on the Tigers farm, joining outfielder Riley Greene as a prospect perhaps headed for regular work in Detroit in 2022.

Torkelson was batting .450 in seven games for the AFL’s Salt River Rafters, with nine hits in 20 at-bats, including two doubles. He had a 1.157 OPS.

But after singling and later reaching third base during the fourth inning of a game against the Surprise Saguaros, Torkelson slid into third, in ugly fashion, on a catcher’s pickoff attempt.

He left the game and later was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain.

The Tigers do not believe the sprain is serious, but he won’t play again in an AFL season that wraps up Nov. 20.

Torkelson, 22, plays first base and had a splendid 2021 season for the Tigers, dividing time at three stops: Single A West Michigan, Double A Erie and Triple A Toledo.

He batted a combined .267, with 30 home runs, and a .935 OPS. He is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the game’s No. 4 prospect.

The Tigers had already lost another of their AFL players and their highest-ranked prospect, Greene, who was ruled out after he went on concussion protocol following an Oct. 2 collision during a game for Triple A Toledo.

Shortstop Ryan Kreidler also had his AFL season ended by injury, suffering a left calf strain. He hit .200 in three fall league games. Kreidler batted .270 with 22 home runs and 58 RBIs in minor-league stops at Erie and Toledo.

Lynn Henning is a freelance writer and former Detroit News sports reporter.

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