ASU Slugger Spencer Torkelson First Overall Pick in 2020 MLB Draft

Arizona Sports News online

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

ASU first baseman Spencer Torkelson has graced the Sun Devil record books over the past few years, and he now is a part of an elite fraternity in Tempe.

The first baseman is the first overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft selected by the Detroit Tigers. “Tork” becomes the fourth Sun Devil baseball player to be selected first overall, joining Rick Monday, Floyd Bannister and Bob Horner.

The two-time unanimous All-American slashed .337/.463/.729 with a 1.192 OPS over three years with 54 home runs, 130 RBI and 110 walks. He is second in Sun Devil history in home runs, a ranking he would almost certainly sit atop had the full 2020 season been played.

“The difference is he’s an underrated athlete, he can play right and left field,” ESPN baseball insider Kiley McDaniel said. “He could play third base, similar to (Vladamir Guerrero Jr.) and the difference is the hit and pitch selection that separates him from the mashers who hit .230 and strikeout too much.” 

After not being drafted out of high school, Torkelson broke Barry Bonds’ Pac-12 record for home runs by a freshman by smashing 25 dingers in 2018. He was the first player to lead the Pac-12 in back-to-back seasons since Michael Conforto.

“The bat works,” ESPN’s Eduardo Perez said. “That’s one thing we love about Spencer Torkelson, and the Detroit Tigers also. The quick hhands, through the zone, drives horizontally before he even spins on the baseball. This is a guy who uses the entire leverage and his hands are so strong that he’s able to stay up the middle on the whole field and he knows he can drive the baseball out, foul pole to foul pole.”

Torkelson is the first first baseman to be selected No. 1 overall since Adrian Gonzalez in 2000. He was, though, announced as a third baseman and Tigers general manager Al Avila said the club fully intends for their pick to man the hot corner. 

“He’s exactly the type of player who would be there for us to get with the top pick,” Avila said. “Obviously, one of the most productive hitters in college history. At this point…we feel he’s more than capable of that.”

The Sun Devils feature back-to-back top-10 draft selections with Torkelson and outfielder Hunter Bishop, who was selected 10th overall in the 2019 draft.