Spencer Torkelson Looks To Overcome Slow Start
The start to Spencer Torkelson’s pro career was far from textbook.
Drafted first overall out of Arizona State in 2020, Torkelson had to wait until 2021 to play his first official game.
When he did, he suited up for High-A West Michigan this season. While Torkelson started the year 1-for-16 and didn't homer until his 15th game, his former ASU coach Tracy Smith wasn't concerned.
He has seen Torkelson overcome slow starts.
“During the fall of his freshman year, I saw his work ethic, in terms of understanding his craft,” Smith said. “He would put in the time on the practice field, and just the time that he would spend with our hitting coach Mike Earley, just talking about hitting.
"I think it was one of those things that made me see that this guy is a little different."
Drafted by the Tigers as a third baseman, Torkelson has seen time at both infield corners this season. Though his first 17 games he hit .220/.377/.305 with 14 walks and 18 strikeouts.
“I promise it's a slow start,” Smith said. “Reaching out to him, my simple advice was, 'Be in the moment. Only a handful of people on this planet will ever understand what you're facing.' Spencer is a kid who wants to please. He's very proud and he has a lot of pride in his game, but he also wants to do well by the Detroit Tigers."
Smith advised Torkelson to "be in the moment" and be good at every workout and practice.
“For Tigers fans, I’d say not to worry about it," Smith said. "This dude is one of the best hitters. He's a generational-type hitter.
"When he relaxes, settles in and becomes himself, he is going to be just fine."
— Navigating his first season at Double-A, outfielder Riley Greene was fitting right in. The 2019 first-rounder batted .268/.384/.463 with four home runs through his first 21 games for Erie.
— Outfielder Jacob Robson was building a case to get back to Triple-A Toledo. Over his first 18 games for Double-A Erie, the 26-year-old hit .424/.531/.712. Robson played the entirety of the 2019 season at Triple-A.