LAKELAND, Fla. — On a day the Detroit Tigers received bad news on one top prospect, they announced the other top young player has made the Opening Day roster.
General manager Al Avila announced Saturday that Spencer Torkelson will be on the Tigers’ 28-man Opening Day roster when the season begins Friday against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.
“We’ve made that decision,” Avila said.
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The 22-year-old first baseman was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft out of Arizona State, though the Tigers billed him as a third baseman. He is the No. 4 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.
Torkelson is hitting .280 (7-for-25)with four doubles, three RBIs, two walks and four strikeouts in 12 games this spring. The Tigers informed Torkelson of his roster status in manager AJ Hinch’s office, with Miguel Cabrera present.
“He was very excited and very emotional,” Avila said of Torkelson. “Miggy officially gave him the first baseman’s glove. Miggy was part of it and proud of it. Tork, you could tell he was very emotional.”
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Torkelson hit 30 home runs with 91 RBIs last season over 121 games at three levels in the Tigers’ minor league system, batting .267 with a .383 on-base percentage and .552 slugging percentage.
He played 40 games for Triple-A Toledo, hitting .238 with 11 home runs.
“The main thing with him is the day-to-day preparation,” Avila said. “He’s batting in every at-bat. He’s not overmatched. At first base, he’s handling it very well. When you see him play on a daily basis, he looks like a guy that can handle anything that comes his way.”
Outfielder Riley Greene, the No. 5 prospect in baseball who was set to start in center field, has a fracture in his right foot and will miss the start of the season. He fouled a pitch off his foot Friday against New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, continued the at-bat, tripled and scored, before exiting with a limp.
“A timeline at this point would be unnecessary,” Hinch said Saturday. “I don’t know.”
The Tigers, before the foot injury, had planned to announce Greene would make the Opening Day roster, along with Torkelson.
“It was heading that way, I would say,” Avila said. “Riley wasn’t doing anything to discourage us. Unfortunately, the injury came at a bad time. … Our hope is that he can get back on the field soon, and at that point, we can make another decision.”
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