Tigers Select Arizona States’ Spencer Torkelson First Overall in 2020 MLB Draft

Spencer Torkelson in 2019. Image by Barry Stahl/Flickr

The Detroit Tigers didn’t make any surprises with their first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday night. Tigers took the safe route, selecting Arizona States’ slugger Spencer Torkelson.

Torkelson was previously projected as the No.1 pick by most baseball analysts, who were impressed by his hitting power and above-average defense. The 20-year-old baseman spent two and a half seasons at college, where he posted .337 batting average with 54 home runs and 130 RBIs.

According to Tigers’ general manager Al Avila, the team selected Torkelson with the intention of making him their third baseman of the future. This is despite the fact that the player spent his entire college career playing first base.

“We know he can play first, but our scouts strongly feel that he can play third base, and that’s our intent at this point,” said Avila. “He’s exactly the type of player we hoped would be there with the first pick. At this point, we’re going to send him out as a third baseman.”

Torkelson himself also doesn’t seem to oppose to the idea.

“It’s not a shock to me. I prided myself as a baseball player, and a baseball player isn’t stuck at one position,” said Torkelson.

By selecting Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers did not only make the safest pick but also addressed their need for power. The Tigers were at the bottom of AL in runs and home runs last season, so having powerful hitter like Torkelson should definitely help them out. He also fits with the team’s up-and-coming young core.

Elsewhere in the draft, Baltimore Orioles selected Arkansas’ outfielder Heston Kjerstad with the second overall pick, while Miami Marlins went pitcher with No.3 and took right-hander Max Meyer. Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays rounded up the top five selections, drafting left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy of Texas A&M and Vanderbilt’s shortstop Austin Martin respectively.