Yeah, this is probably a pipe dream. Torkelson is being mocked number one overall in multiple drafts. But as Lloyd once told Mary Swanson, “So you’re saying there’s a chance!”
This would be a dream scenario for the Royals is Torkelson fell to them at fourth. I wrote the profile up for him with no doubt in my mind that he will not make it to us. Basically, this profile was just so I could see the top bat in the draft and then compare everyone else to him. Torkelson will play his 19 games against the Royals every year and we’ll keep thinking I wish he was in powder blue with gold accents on Sundays.
Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona State
Torkelson has been in conversation to go first overall for well over a year and I can’t remember back to when he wasn’t mentioned as a possible pick for one of the teams going in the top three. Coaches have raved about his hitting ability, his power, his defense, and even his work ethic. PAC-12 coaches won’t be sad to see him go and each will have a story to tell as Torkelson has homered in every single ballpark in the conference.
The junior led the PAC-12 in home runs for two consecutive years as a freshman and sophomore and was expected to do it again in 2020. Only two other players in conference history have posted back-to-back 20 homers seasons. Torkelson hit 25 as a freshman and followed it up with 23 as a sophomore. He had a very legitimate chance to end up on the Top 10 NCAA All-Time HR list until the shutdown. This season, he has seen a huge spike in his on base percentage as teams are walking him at an incredible rate. On February 25 against New Mexico State, Torkelson walked in five of his six plate appearances. Three of those walks were intentional. Teams haven’t quite given him the Barry Bonds treatment yet, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him intentionally walked with the bases loaded at some point this season.
Torkelson posted a .440 and .446 on base percentage in his first two seasons. There is no doubt that this year would have been the highest on base percentage of his college career possibly eclipsing the .600 mark. On the flip note, Torkelson doesn’t strike out at an extremely high rate at about once every five at bats. Add in all his free bases and Torkelson strikes out in about 16.5 percent of his plate appearances. A player with his power and bat to ball skills is extremely valuable at every level of baseball.
Torkelson’s swing mechanics are simple. He is short to the ball and keeps his hands inside the ball very well. He can hit to all fields and out of any part of the strike zone. He starts with a wide stance and takes a small stride allowing his bat to get out in front and stay long through the zone. There is some natural loft to his swing and he does a good job not over-swinging. Torkelson does a great job staying behind and not getting out on his front foot.
Torkelson also seems to be a clutch player recording hits in 27 of 67 at bats with runners in scoring position last season. That equates to a .403 average with RISP. He also had 35 two-out RBI proving that he can extend innings and drive in runs under pressure. Torkelson is also considered a professional hitter having moved base runners in 50 percent of his at bats with runners on base in 2019. In fact, Torkelson only grounded into 8 double plays in his first 119 collegiate games.
There are some professional scouts and evaluators who think Torkelson is athletic enough to have a chance at playing left field in the majors. However, there is no doubt that he can play first base as he is one of the best defensive first baseman in the country. Torkelson routinely digs tough throws and stretches to record outs that other players don’t record.
Torkelson is a special player. He gets on base, hits for power, is clutch, plays great defense, doesn’t strike out much, and has a tremendous work ethic. If he lasts until fourth overall, I will be ecstatic. If Torkelson translates his collegiate success to the pro game, and there is no reason to think that he will not with his work ethic and ability to hit with wood, he could be the anchor in any team’s lineup for years to come. He is one player that you do not want to pass on if you are given the chance to select him.
Here are some other draft profiles we’ve posted. We’ll continue to post draft profiles every day other than Sundays leading up to the Draft on June 10. Thanks for reading!
Photo taken from The Press Democrat and credit is given to Rick Scuteri.