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ASU Baseball: Former No. 1 pick Torkelson heading to the show

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Big League Tork Bombs incoming

Richard Martinez/House of Sparky

Following an impressive showing in spring training camp, former No. 1 overall pick and No. 4 overall prospect on MLB.com, ASU alum Spencer Torkelson has been called up to the Detroit Tigers' opening day roster according to team general manager Al Avila.

Torkelson joined Rick Monday (1965), Floyd Bannister (1976), and Bob Horner (1978) as Arizona State’s fourth top selection in the MLB Draft following the COVID-shortened season of 2020. He had an impressive spring camp as a non-roster invitee slashing .280 with four extra-base hits and an excellent on-base percentage of .406.

In his two plus one shortened seasons as a Sun Devil, Torkelson emerged as the nation’s premier power threat from the moment he stepped on campus, clubbing 25 home runs as a freshman in 2018 to break Barry Bonds’ record for longballs as a freshman.

As a sophomore in 2019, Torkelson nearly matched his total with 23 dingers, leading the Pac-12 for the second-straight year while racking up 66 RBIs for a Sun Devil team that would go 38-19 on the year.

By the time COVID-19 cut short Torkelson’s junior year, he had compiled a total of 54 home runs (two short of the program record) in 129 games at ASU, a rate that is unheard of in college baseball today.

Seeing his ridiculous power at the plate and ability to play both first and third base effectively, the Detroit Tigers made Torkelson the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, with a signing bonus of $8.4 million, still a record for the highest check to a draft prospect in league history.

With the massive expectations on his shoulders, Tork did not shy away in his first full year in the minors. Throughout 2021, the native of Petaluma, California rose from high A ball all the way to Detroit’s triple-A affiliate in Toledo, a rise not seen in prospects very often.

Across three different levels, Torkelson’s production remained stout as he produced 30 home runs to knock in 91 runs, all while hitting a respectable .267 with an elite on-base percentage of .383 plus a ridiculous .552 slugging mark.

Following his standout spring, the Tigers have made the decision to bring Torkelson with them to Detroit for opening day likely to man first base as an anchor in the middle of A.J. Hinch’s lineup.

With the acquisitions of LHP Eduardo Rodriguez and all-star shortstop Javier Báez, Torkelson will look to be an impact bat for a team looking to compete in 2022 as he hopes to live up to player comparisons with the game’s elite hitters in Paul Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso.

According to DraftKings, Torkelson currently sits at +450 odds to walk away with the 2022 AL Rookie of The Year award, second to Kansas City’s Bobby Witt.