National analysts react to Tigers’ selection of Spencer Torkelson

The Detroit News

Reaction from national analysts on the Detroit Tigers’ selection of Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft on Wednesday night:

►Dan Mullen, ESPN: The safest pick in this draft, Torkelson belted 54 home runs in 129 career games at Arizona State. Torkelson fills a major system need and gives the Tigers a slugger who should make his way to the majors quickly. Detroit has a strong group of pitching prospects, but 19-year-old Riley Greene was the only real hitting prospect of note until the Tigers made the consensus top player in the draft the No. 1 overall pick. The Tigers announced Torkelson as a third baseman after he played first base primarily during his career at Arizona State. He becomes the first third baseman to go No. 1 overall since Pat Burrell in 1998.

Spencer Torkelson

►Jason Beck, MLB.com: The Tigers are staking their future on the Arizona State slugger’s sweet, efficient power swing providing the offensive punch they need to complement their pitching prospects and form Detroit’s next contender. Not only does Torkelson boast home run power, he boasts the kind of power to all fields to make spacious Comerica Park look normal, something many right-handed hitters struggle to do. Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook saw Torkelson in all three of his college seasons. He compared Torkelson to Kris Bryant, whom he saw in college at the University of San Diego, and J.D. Drew.

►R.J. Anderson, CBS Sports: Torkelson hit .337/.463/.729 with 54 home runs in 129 games as a Sun Devil, and he broke Barry Bonds' freshman record with 25 home runs in 2018. Detroit added the best all-around offensive talent in the draft to their pitching-rich farm system. What was not expected, however, was the Tigers taking Torkelson as a third baseman. He dabbled in the outfield in college but was mostly a first baseman. The Tigers will try Torkelson at third and make him show he can't play the position before sticking him at first. Remember, the Tigers put Miguel Cabrera at third base to make room for Prince Fielder.

►Matt Martell, Sports Illustrated: Torkelson is the most established power hitter in this year’s draft. He led all Division I hitters with 25 home runs as a freshman in 2018, and followed that breakout season up with 23 as a sophomore. At 20 years old, Torkelson projects to be a mainstay in the middle of the order by the time the Tigers are ready to contend again. Interestingly, Torkelson was not drafted out of high school like a lot of top college prospects. Now, he’s the first overall pick.

MLB Draft: Day 2

► When: 5 p.m. Thursday (Rounds 2-5)

► TV: MLB Network, ESPN2

► Tigers: They have five remaining picks – two in the second round (38, 62), and one in rounds three through five (73, 102, 132). The No. 62 is a compensation pick.