Tigers send struggling rookie first baseman Spencer Torkelson back to Triple-A

Tigers send struggling rookie first baseman Spencer Torkelson back to Triple-A

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Detroit Tigers announced to reporters Rookie first baseman Spencer Torkelson was optioned to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday.

The relegation continues a trend of disappointment for Torkelson in 2022. He cracked Detroit’s Opening Day roster, but months of struggle followed. Torkelson batted .197/.282/.295 (68) in 83 games for the Tigers this season. OPS+) with just five home runs. He struck out in 25.5 percent of his plate appearances, worse than the league-average figure of 22.3 percent. Perhaps more telling is that Torkelson just isn’t running the ball with any authority. Right now, he ranks in the 39th percentile in hard-hit rate and the 19th percentile in expected slugging percentage.

The 22-year-old came into the year as one of baseball’s top prospects. Before the season, our own RJ Anderson ranked Torkelson as No. 8 baseball overall prospect — was slightly lower than most outlets. Anderson then wrote:

“Torkelson, the No. 1 pick in 2020, went all the way to Triple-A in his first professional season. Overall, he performed like you’d expect someone with cleanup-hitter aspirations: batting .267/.383/.552. with 30 home runs and a 14.5 percent walk rate. He is often compared to the White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn because of their similar profiles: each has big raw power and a feel for hitting, as well as the intelligence to adjust as needed. (Vaughn, for his part, 2021 had a disappointing rookie campaign in .) The Tigers announced Torkelson as a third baseman on draft day, and they continue to crosstrain him at both corner-infield positions. Scouts still expect him to end up, however, at first base. The Tigers are poised to compete in 2022. As it happens, Torkelson will make his debut early in the season.”

It’s certainly too early to write off Torkelson or start thinking of him as a bust candidate. However, the Tigers have decided that further development is in order, and it wasn’t even seen a few months ago.

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