Gage Workman didn’t have to wait until he turned pro to learn the importance of adaptation.
As a junior at Arizona State in 2020, Workman played just 17 games before the pandemic halted the rest of the season in March.
He again played the waiting game to hear how his future would be impacted in the 2020 draft.
“I think that year was more so unpredictable, just because for a long time there was no date for the draft, and there was no round (number),” Workman said.
“It just was more questions, just wondering if we were even going to have a draft—or were we going back to college. Just all the questions that were floating around and so much speculation.”
When the dust settled, Workman was the Tigers’ fourth-round pick, and he found himself sharing an organization with ASU teammate Spencer Torkelson, whom the Tigers drafted first overall.
“It was awesome,” Workman said. “(Torkelson) called me right after and he was super cool about it. He’s a great teammate, so there’s not too many guys you’d rather play with.”
Workman was not invited to Detroit’s alternate training site but did play at instructional league.
“I’m actually super glad I was able to go to (instructional league) just because I was able to get the first taste of the (pitchers) we’re going to be facing, just the competition level,” Workman said. “It helps when you do that, when your stats and numbers don’t count. You can ease your way into it a little bit.”
Workman began the 2021 season at Low-A Lakeland and finished at High-A West Michigan. He hit .246/.326/.434 with 12 home runs in 118 games. He played shortstop exclusively after playing third base in college.
“Toward the last couple weeks of (last) season, I think my main adjustments were just to calm everything down and quiet everything down,” he said. “Just give myself a chance to see pitches, recognize pitches and be able just to swing at the pitches I want and not get myself out as much.”
— Righthander Ty Madden coasted through his first spring training challenge after being the Tigers’ supplemental first-rounder out of Texas last year. He struck out both Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson in their first face-off. “He knows how to handle himself,” an American League scout said of Madden.