It was getting scary there for a second. I understand that all players develop differently, and not everybody can come up right away and start setting the world on fire. That said, there were legitimate reasons to be concerned about Spencer Torkelson. His rookie campaign was a complete disaster. I know that nobody on the Tigers was productive from an offensive standpoint last year, but there was an expectation that Torkelson would at least give them something. He gave them less than nothing and even got sent down to the minors at one point last year. This year, while he remained durable, he went through long stretches of ineptitude. It always seemed like he was in between. He would show flashes of brilliance and then come crashing back down to earth. What kept people hopeful was that the peripherals were always good. When he was hitting the ball, he was hitting the ball hard. Water has finally found its level. Spencer Torkelson is crushing the baseball. ￼
What's changed for Spencer Torkelson? It's very simple, all those hard-hit outs have become hard-hit hits. Does he still tend to chase? Yes, he even has a frustrating tendency to miss pitches in the zone, but he is crushing mistakes right now. In the month of August, he's been one of the most feared hitters in baseball. In 18 games, his OPS is well over 1.000.￼ In his last 11 games alone, he has hit seven home runs. He's lifting the ball more consistently and showing power to all fields.
People will debate Forever about whether or not the Tigers rushed Spencer Torkelson to the big leagues. Regardless of how you feel, the fact is you can't ignore the disaster that was his rookie campaign. Those struggles have been in the back of my head, whether fair or not. We can lament that failure all we want, but at the end of the day, the Tigers have a 23-year-old first baseman who is on pace for 30 home runs and 85+ RBI. Some adjustments need to be made. I'd like to see him get the batting average up a little bit more. Hopefully, the walk rate can also improve, but the confidence is back. He knows he belongs, and that's a huge step. ￼
There's been so much discourse and hot takes regarding the development of Spencer Torkelson. Here's the thing, no one was wrong for being disappointed. The peripherals have always been solid, but the numbers have not. If you watched a Spencer Torkelson until July of this year, you probably thought this guy wasn't very good. There's a reason for that. It's because he wasn't. It is so bizarre to me why Tiger fans can't just rejoice in the fact that this guy is finally turned a corner.
We always have to point fingers and pull up receipts. For a year and a half, he sucked. The numbers reflect that. He was a negative WAR player with an OPS in the .600s. Those would be bad numbers for a guy who got drafted first overall, and they'd be bad numbers for a guy that got drafted 1000th overall. That's the truth. To deny that is to deny reality. What is also factual is that right now, he's in a better place than he's ever been at the Major League level. I'm happy for him, and you can't consider yourself a true Tigers fan unless you aren't over the moon excited about what the future might hold for this guy. He's arrived. That's what matters. ￼￼