3 Reasons Spencer Torkelson Ready To Break Out For Tigers in 2023

The Detroit Tigers made first baseman Spencer Torkelson the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. But amidst all the excitement and anticipation over his major league debut in 2022, his rookie season didn't quite go as planned. He hit .203 with a .604 OPS in 110 games. 

But there are three pretty good reasons why Torkelson is set to come into his own in his sophomore year, and break through as the top prospect he was projected to be.

1. The team believes in him

Despite the disastrous rookie season, which included a mid-season demotion back to the minors, the Tigers gave Torkelson a full vote of confidence this offseason, shown mainly by the fact that they didn't go out and bring in a veteran first baseman as a "just in case" backup. 1B is his to run with. 

“It’s just belief,” manager AJ Hinch said, per Chris McCosky of The Detroit News. “We know he’s a good player. We knew he needed experience. We knew he made a lot of adjustments from September into the winter. And we believe in him as a player. And the way you demonstrate that is by trusting him and by putting him in a position to be the good player that he is."

2. He's getting back to pounding the fastball this spring

After an uncharacteristic year in which Torkelson hit just .220 off fastballs in his major league debut season, he's getting back to teeing off on them. 

“I’m always on the fastball and when I’m going, I’m not missing,” he said. “It’s just been getting back to myself, trusting my eyes. Even when those barrels (hard-hit balls) are caught, you still feel good. You can’t look at the scoreboard. It’s just, ‘I hammered that ball,’ and take that to the next at-bat.”

“I’ve always hammered fastballs,” Torkelson said. “That’s how I knew that last year was not who I am.”

3. Comerica Park fences moved in for 2023

A winter makeover at the Tigers' home ballpark saw the outfield walls moved in  and lowered, making the park more friendly for hitters like Torkelson.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports