Torkelson, Kreidler leave AFL with injuries

October 22nd, 2021

The Tigers ended their season a few weeks ago hoping to use the Arizona Fall League to give three of their top position-player prospects a head start on 2022. Now, Spencer Torkelson and Ryan Kreidler have joined outfielder Riley Greene in exiting the AFL due to injury.

In each case, the motivation to send them to Arizona at the end of a long season -- the push to get them ready to compete for spots in Detroit next spring -- is the same motivation prompting the Tigers to be cautious.

Torkelson, Detroit’s top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, sprained his right ankle Wednesday while sliding back into third base on a pickoff attempt.

The injury was expected to sideline Torkelson for a “significant amount of time,” a source told MLB Pipeline’s William Boor. With four weeks left in the AFL schedule, the Tigers decided Friday to have the slugging corner infielder focus on getting healthy. He’s expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

Kreidler, Detroit’s 10th-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list, will also miss the rest of the AFL season after suffering a left calf strain. The slick-fielding shortstop played in just three games for Salt River, batting 2-for-10 with three walks and six strikeouts. Like Torkelson, he’s expected to be healthy for Spring Training.

The Tigers went through a similar decision earlier this month with Greene, their No. 2 prospect. He had been slated to join Torkelson in Arizona, but an outfield collision at Triple-A Toledo on Oct. 2 led to him entering concussion protocol, and prompted the Tigers to pull him out of an AFL assignment and send him home to recover.

Detroit announced Friday that Greene completed his concussion protocol, performing physical activities at the team’s Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla., without symptoms. He’s now into his regular offseason training program.

Torkelson and Kreidler's situations were different from Greene's for a few reasons, starting obviously with the type of injury. Torkelson was off to a hot start in the AFL, batting .450 (9-for-20) in seven games with eight walks and five strikeouts. He was also playing while staying at home, since he lives in the area during the offseason.

But like Greene, Torkelson has been through a long first full season of professional ball. They were both in Major League camp for Spring Training in February, saw significant action in Grapefruit League play, then joined Minor League camp at the end of March and into April. Kreidler wasn’t officially part of Major League camp, but he saw a lot of game action in Spring Training as an extra player.

Their Minor League seasons began in May, but continued into the first weekend of October when the Triple-A season was extended by two weeks to coincide with the end of the Major League regular season. Add in the Fall League, and Torkelson had played for eight months straight without much of a break. Even for a young athlete at peak health, it’s a long stretch. Now, all three prospects have a well-deserved chance to rest up and unwind.