If you follow me, you know I tend to get into violent disagreements with people about Spencer Torkelson. There's a large contingency of people who believe declared him a bust, which I never did. I think his career numbers up to this point are not acceptable. He's improved, but I'm not ready to do a victory lap for a guy with an OPS of .725. I'm also not giving up on him. And I think Spencer Torkelson will have a big year next year. Do I think you'll ever be the 40 home run, 110+ RBI guy many projected him to be when the Tigers drafted him? Probably not, but I think he can make an All-Star team at some point in his career. I've just been disappointed with what I've seen so far. Every time I say that, though, he follows it up with a great week, so he probably just bought himself a little bit more time.
Few players in baseball have been as unlucky as Spencer Torkelson has been. That's not just me saying that as a fan of the Tigers. It's the actual truth. Some MLB hitters with OPS in the .900s don't have batted ball data as good as Torkelson's. His peripherals are fantastic. When he hits the ball, he hits the ball hard. He's started to lift it a little more lately, which is a major positive sign. We've seen lots of improvements. I am curious to know what Spencer Torkelson did to umpires. I don't know if they view them as the hot shot number one overall pick who needs to be knocked down a peg. I don't see that with Tork. By all accounts, he seems to have a healthy mental makeup. He looks like a humble guy. But for whatever reason, umpires just have not been kind to him this year. The compilation I shared above is one of the most frustrating things you will watch as a baseball fan. I've written multiple articles this week about bad umpiring, but it gets pretty annoying when it impacts your team. ￼
This compilation is so bizarre because most of these pitches are in the same spot. Sometimes it's a fastball. Sometimes it's a slider, and sometimes a changeup, but it's always that pitch away and off the plate that keeps getting called first strike. He doesn't get screwed over on pitches that are inside. It's only those pitches that are 6 inches off the plate outside that are getting called strikes. Is it just a coincidence? Does he have a stance that lends itself to that pitch getting called? I can't wrap my head around this. Why does this keep happening? ￼
As annoying as that video is, it makes me feel a little better about the future. This will not last. He needs to get the numbers up, but at some point, water will find its level with Spencer Torkelson. When it does, I still think he can be a star. Maybe getting his ass ejected a few times might do him some good because umpires just do not seem to vibe with him.