Detroit Tigers’ Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson ranked among top-5 prospects in baseball

Detroit Free Press

Three Detroit Tigers prospects, including two nearing their MLB debuts, were ranked among baseball’s best.

Tigers top prospect Riley Greene will get an opportunity to make the Opening Day roster. Spencer Torkelson, the second-best prospect in the organization, could join him.

On Tuesday, Baseball America released its annual top 100 prospects list and the Tigers have three members: Greene (No. 4), Torkelson (No. 5) and right-hander Jackson Jobe (No. 79). Detroit was the only franchise with two top-five prospects and one of two with multiple players in the top 10.

The 21-year-old Greene hit .301 with 24 home runs in 124 games for two teams in the minor leagues last season. Torkelson, 22, produced a .267 batting average with 30 homers in 121 games for three teams. They reached Triple-A Toledo together in August.

“Greene has rocketed up the minors since the Tigers selected him fifth overall in the 2019 draft,” Baseball America writes in its latest report. “With a sweet, powerful left-handed swing, he projects to be an offensive force in the middle of the Tigers lineup and an all-star regardless of whether he ends up in center field or a corner.”

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Two teams have six players on the list, eight have five players, two have four players and 10 — including the Tigers — have three players. There are three teams with two and four with one. Only one team, the Chicago White Sox, is without representation on the top 100.

Greene posted a 11.9% walk rate and 27.6% strikeout rate in Triple-A last year. He hit .308 with eight home runs and a .554 slugging percentage in 40 games for the Mud Hens, after spending his first 84 games with Double-A Erie.

Baseball America crowned Greene as the Tigers’ new No. 1 prospect in December as part of its preseason top 10 rankings for each farm system. Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, dropped to No. 2 on the list.

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To go with Torkelson’s 30 home runs, he showed his above-average plate discipline with 77 walks and 114 strikeouts. The first baseman hit .312 with five homers for High-A West Michigan (31 games), .263 with 14 homers for Erie (50 games) and .238 with 11 homers for Toledo (40 games).

“The top overall pick in the 2020 draft hit 30 home runs and rose three levels to Triple-A in his first full season,” Baseball America writes about Torkelson. “His patience at the plate and enormous power have him set to be a middle-of-the-order force in the Tigers lineup for years to come.”

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The Tigers drafted Jobe, from Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City, with the No. 3 overall pick in 2021. His prep career ended in mid-May, and the draft wasn’t until mid-July, so the Tigers chose not to ramp him back up to pitch professionally last season. He signed for a $6.9 million bonus.

The 19-year-old is expected to make his pro debut in 2022.

“An athletic right-hander with an assortment of pitches that could grade out plus or better,” Baseball America writes about Jobe. “He throws hard, but it’s his ability to manipulate his secondary stuff that sticks out, particularly with a slider that should lead to big strikeout numbers.”

MORE ON JOBE: How Jackson Jobe went from barely touching 90 mph to Tigers’ top pick

Baseball America’s top 10 prospects, in order: Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles), Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners), Bobby Witt Jr. (Kansas City Royals), Greene (Tigers), Torkelson (Tigers), Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles), Gabriel Moreno (Toronto Blue Jays), Shane Baz (Tampa Bay Rays), CJ Abrams (San Diego Padres), Anthony Volpe (New York Yankees).

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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