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Former Tigers’ No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson to be optioned down to Triple-A, per report

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Once regarded as a future cornerstone in Detroit, first baseman Spencer Torkelson will be optioned by the Tigers back to Triple-A following the club’s 8-4 win over the Red Sox on Sunday, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reports

The 24-year-old Torkelson was the top overall pick of the 2020 draft out of Arizona State. Through his journey through the Tigers’ system, he produced at a high level and was a consensus top-five overall prospect going into the 2022 season. Torkelson struggled as a rookie in 2022, but he seemed to make strides in 2023. 

Last season, he put up a 105 OPS+ and tallied 31 home runs and 34 doubles in 159 games for Detroit. The expectation was that the 2024 season would be his next step toward stardom. That, however, hasn’t been the case. Through 54 games this season, Torkelson has a slash line of .201/.266/.330 (69 OPS+) with just four home runs. 

Perhaps more concerning is that Torkelson this season has also seen his quality-of-contact indicators crater. Specifically, he currently now ranks in the 43rd percentile in exit velocity, the 18th percentile in barrel rate, and the 42nd percentile in hard-hit rate. Additionally, he’s in just the 8th percentile when it comes to hitting the ball at the optimal launch angle for power production. Add it all up, and his expected level of production is even lower than his actual outputs. That’s a troubling trend for any player, let alone one who mans a bat-first position like first base. 

It’s of course too soon to declare Torkelson to be a bust or anything of the sort – he’s too young for that. However, he’s clearly in need of a reboot and perhaps an entire overhaul of his swing and approach at the plate. 

As for the Detroit team Torkelson is departing, their win over Boston pushed them to 29-30 on the season. 

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