Torkelson hits first MLB homer

Keeping tabs on the No. 4 overall prospect

April 14th, 2022

We'll be posting daily updates on Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson this season, with the latest news on the No. 4 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline.

April 13: Torkelson hits first MLB homer
Spencer Torkelson sounded almost apologetic talking about his first Major League home run Wednesday.

He didn’t stand at home plate and watch the 396-foot drive carry into the left-field seats, nor did he flip his bat. He took a few steps to get into his home-run trot, but that was about it. From there, he made his way around the bases with a smile on his face.

Still, with the Tigers trailing at the time, he was worried about the look. More >>

April 12: Torkelson notches first big league hit
After a string of called third strikes on the corners and no luck on balls in play, Torkelson’s first Major League hit was a stroke of fortune to end an 0-for-10 start.

After watching Red Sox lefty Rich Hill drop a 71 mph curveball in the zone for a called first strike, Torkelson caught up enough with Hill’s ensuing 89 mph fastball to hit an opposite-field line drive to right-center field. Right fielder Christian Arroyo made a diving attempt at it but only deflected it behind center fielder Kiké Hernández.

Torkelson looked up around first base, saw the deflection and cruised into second with a smile as he signaled to the Detroit dugout. More »

April 11: Torkelson gets scheduled day out of lineup
Spencer Torkelson was out of the lineup on Monday, but it was a scheduled day off -- in other words, it wasn’t a reaction to his slow start. He entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and lined out against Austin Davis, then struck out in the eighth against Phillips Valdez. The 22-year-old is now 0-for-10 to begin his Major League career.

“Tork belongs here,” Hinch said on Monday before the game. “This is just eight at-bats. He's drawn a few walks and I think, quite honestly, probably had the toughest strike zone of any hitter in the first series. It's a matter of perspective. If a ball had dropped in and he's 1-for-8 as opposed to 0-for-8, or if he had not gotten called out on strikes with barely a ball going in the zone, [he] could've had four walks instead of three. There's just so much that could change in a matter of one or two at-bats. Tork's going to be just fine.”

Among Torkelson’s seven strikeouts were four called third strikes. Two of those happened in Sunday’s loss to the White Sox, including one on a slider off the plate after a first-pitch called strike on a slider inside. However, Hinch said he doesn’t believe Torkelson is getting the “rookie treatment.”

“I think it's just bad luck, some pitches that were pretty close that didn't go his way,” Hinch said. “I think the days of breaking in young guys from umpires [are over]. They're graded through technology on ball versus strike, not age.”

April 10: Torkelson still searching for elusive first MLB hit
Torkelson went 0-for-2 with a walk in the Tigers' 10-1 loss to the White Sox at Comerica Park, dropping him to 0-for-8 on the young season.

April 9: Torkelson walks twice, goes 0-for-2
Torkelson's frustration at the plate continued in his second MLB game -- he struck out twice, though he also drew a pair of walks in the Tigers' 5-2 loss to the White Sox.

April 8: Torkelson hitless in debut, but shines defensively
Spencer Torkelson, the No. 4 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, made his much-anticipated MLB debut for the Tigers on Friday against the White Sox at Comerica Park. While he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts at the plate, it was his glove that made an impact in Detroit's 5-4 win over Chicago -- Torkelson made several sparkling defensive plays, including a diving catch of a liner off the bat of Chicago's Leury García that had a Statcast-tracked exit velocity of 101.8 mph.

April 6: Torkelson talks Opening Day
Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson is known for his massive home runs, but there’s a great personality behind it. The same guy who hit 30 home runs in his first pro season last year also helped the grounds crew pull the tarp in a sudden rainstorm in Binghamton, N.Y., while playing for Double-A Erie.

A day after Torkelson learned he had made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster, he sat down with for a quick interview. More »

April 6: Torkelson's best moments
At some point on Friday, Spencer Torkelson will step to the plate in Detroit’s Comerica Park for his first Major League at-bat, after the Tigers announced their top prospect will make the Opening Day roster. That debut will be the culmination of a life in baseball and his biggest by far … well, at least to this point.

To understand how the 22-year-old first baseman got to this point, let’s revisit a timeline of some of Torkelson’s best moments in the sport. More »

April 6: What to expect in the Majors
Miguel Cabrera hugged Spencer Torkelson as part of a big announcement at the end of Spring Training. He might as well have passed a torch in the process.

Ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, Torkelson will make his Major League debut as the Tigers' first baseman on Opening Day, April 8 at home against the White Sox.

Detroit’s top prospect hit .280/.406/.440 over 12 games this spring as of late Saturday, exhibiting a good approach and contact rate that helped earn him a roster spot. More »

April 3: Torkelson hits first Spring Training homer
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- 's first at-bat since finding out he made the Tigers roster produced his first Tork Bomb in a Tigers uniform.

It’s only Spring Training, but Torkelson’s first homer of camp was the kind of at-bat that demonstrated why the Tigers believe he’s ready for the Majors. It’s not just the power, but the patience and perseverance.

“It’s probably the best at-bat he’s had, certainly at the Major League Spring Training level,” manager A.J. Hinch said, “against a really good pitcher who had really good stuff today.”

Torkelson battled Phillies starter Aaron Nola for 11 pitches in the second inning with a keen awareness of his strike zone, despite a first-pitch called strike that might have been a tad inside. He fouled off five consecutive pitches, six in total, as he waited for a pitch he could drive. He also ignored a pair of two-strike off-speed pitches that dove out of the strike zone.

“It felt great,” Torkelson said. “Like some of my other long at-bats, they showed me all their pitches. Before I got to two strikes, I saw his changeup, saw his slider and I saw his good two-seamer, so with two strikes it’s a lot more comfortable seeing everything he’s got and knowing how he’s attacking me. He was trying to get me in.”

Finally, after Torkelson shrugged off a changeup to run the count full, Nola went back to the fastball in virtually the same spot he drew the first-pitch called strike. Torkelson turned on it and sent it over the Phillies bullpen to left field to a group of fans hanging over the concourse railing, a 403-foot drive according to Statcast.

“I had a good approach, knew what he was doing,” Torkelson said, “and just did a little bit better.”

Torkelson had been more of an all-fields doubles hitter this spring, spraying line drives around the park. He barely missed a home run at Joker Marchant Stadium a week ago with a drive that hit off the wall in the depths of left-center field. However, his patience at the plate has been consistent all spring, including an eight-pitch walk off Connor Brogdon earlier in camp.

“He’s battling every at-bat. He’s not overmatched,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Saturday. “When you see him play on an daily basis, he just looks like a guy that can handle anything that comes his way.”

The at-bats are something he has handled since college, though his approach has evolved as a pro.

“Not being afraid to strike out is a big deal,” he said. “You have to be loose up there, even with two strikes. I think it evolved in a sense where I can tell the way the pitcher’s attacking me. It's maybe a maturity thing, realizing what pitchers are doing to me more frequently.”

April 2: Torkelson makes Opening Day roster
Spencer Torkelson, welcome to the show. The Tigers' top prospect -- and the No. 4 prospectin baseball -- will be on the Tigers' Opening Day roster, general manager Al Avila said Saturday. More »

March 30: Torkelson OK after collision with Báez
Rarely in Spring Training is there a popup that sends a first baseman clattering into the shortstop. Rarer still does the first baseman take the brunt of the collision.

“If Javy wasn’t so good at baseball, he should be a middle linebacker,” Spencer Torkelson said of teammate Javier Báez. “It was like hitting a brick wall.”

The play came on Tarik Skubal’s final pitch in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s 7-1 Tigers win over the Phillies. Johan Camargo popped it up to the first-base side of the infield, prompting Torkelson to call it. But a strong breeze blowing right to left sent the ball towards the other side of the mound as Torkelson kept tracking it.

“I initially thought it was going to be over there, too,” Skubal said. “I came off the mound and I heard him say, ‘I got it,’ and I go, ‘Thank God, I’m outta there.’ So I went to first base, and then I see the wind start to push that ball, and I didn’t hear anything else. I was kinda like, ‘I’m getting out of here. Let the guys that are supposed to catch the ball do that.’”

Problem was, both Torkelson and Báez thought they had it. By the time the wind was done with the ball, it was right in front of Báez, who camped under it as Torkelson essentially bounced off him.

“We called it simultaneously,” Torkelson said. “I called it. I didn’t hear anyone else call it, so I’m going to keep going after it.”

No one was injured, other than maybe a bit of Torkelson’s pride.

“I made sure Javy’s all good,” Torkelson joked.

Torkelson went 0-for-2 with an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly.

March 29: Is Tork closing in on a roster spot?
As Spring Training began, Tigers officials were candid in saying that top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene would be given genuine opportunities to make the Opening Day roster.

One week before the start of a highly anticipated season in Detroit, the close friends are on the verge of fulfilling their dream of debuting together in the Major Leagues.

To the extent that Greene, 21, and Torkelson, 22, have been tasked with playing their way onto the Major League club, the numbers suggest they are doing so. Torkelson has an .851 OPS while accumulating the most at-bats of any Tiger in Grapefruit League play. As of March 29, Greene’s 1.383 OPS was the second highest of any Spring Training hitter who had yet to debut in the Majors (min. 15 spring at-bats).

“We want them to make the team,” Tigers general manager Al Avila told “That’s our hope. That would mean they’ve been successful and are in a position to help us make the playoffs this year.” Full story »

March 20: Torkelson drives in a run
Torkelson's bat appears to be ready for the season. The Tigers' top prospect picked up his first RBI of Spring Training on Sunday as he drove a ball into the right-field corner in the first inning. Torkelson finished the afternoon 1-for-3.

March 20: Torkelson named No. 4 prospect
The hype and accolades just keep coming for Torkelson, who has been named the No. 4 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list. The Tigers' No. 1 prospect is coming off a strong first full season, during which he reached Triple-A and hit 30 homers over 121 games. There's plenty of excitement around Torkelson and his power bat and it's widely expected he'll make his Major League debut at some point in the 2022 season.

March 11: Torkelson taking part in minicamp
Looking to get a head start in preparation for the 2022 campaign, Torkelson is one of several Tigers' prospects taking part in minicamp. The 22-year-old has not only been hitting in the cage, but has also taken live batting practice and received some game reps during back-field contests. More »