Is Spencer Torkelson capable of stepping into Miguel Cabrera’s shoes?

“Miggy”, “The Big Fella”, “The Big Man”, “Cabby” – Miguel Cabrera was known by many monikers during his lengthy tenure as a Detroit Tiger. He remained a beloved figure among fans, with Cabrera jerseys flooding into Comerica Park by the thousands. To most fans, Miguel Cabrera was considered the contemporary equivalent of Alan Trammell or Al Kaline – an All-Star, MVP, Triple Crown winner, and a future Hall of Famer. For the first time since 2008, the Detroit Tigers find themselves without Miguel following his retirement last year. There’s been speculation about who can step up to fill his considerable shoes in Detroit. Who will draw the fans? Who will sell jerseys? Who will captivate the audience with their play? That individual has largely been identified as first baseman Spencer Torkelson.

Torkelson, drafted first overall by the Detroit Tigers in 2020 from Arizona State, was immediately hailed as the next big thing. It started off promisingly. Dubbed “Tork” in Detroit, he swiftly progressed through the minors with minimal resistance, making his Tigers debut just two years later. However, challenges emerged. Torkelson began striking out at a concerning rate, and despite consistently making solid contact, the results were lacking. Some fans and critics went so far as to label Torkelson one of baseball’s worst hitters, a sentiment I briefly shared. By the end of his first year, Torkelson had a meager .203 batting average and just eight home runs, with concerns about his power also surfacing.

After dedicated offseason work, Torkelson flourished last year. Despite a modest .233 average, he slammed 31 homers, tallied 34 doubles, and drove in 94 runs – precisely the type of production fans and coaches anticipated, albeit with hopes for a slightly higher average – just what was needed to fill Miggy’s shoes.

Spencer Torkelson must now take the next leap to ascend to superstardom with the Detroit Tigers. Manager A.J. Hinch has expressed satisfaction with Torkelson’s progress, noting positive trends in his statistics, but there’s a desire for refinement in the finer points of his game. Torkelson’s 25.0% strikeout rate exceeds the league average of 22.6%.

Torkelson also struggled with runners in scoring position, falling seven points below the league average at driving in runs with a runner on third and less than two outs, and 20 points below average with nobody out and a runner on second. These are crucial situations where Torkelson needs to deliver clutch hits to reassure fans.

Torkelson has demonstrated significant improvement from his first to second year, with substantial increases in average, home runs, RBIs, and OPS. With the focus shifting from Miggy’s farewell season, attention will now turn more to Torkelson, with fans anticipating a standout year.

If he sustains his upward trajectory, and if Riley Greene and Parker Meadows continue their success atop the lineup, Torkelson could indeed have a breakthrough season, setting the stage for his own journey towards earning a place on the brick wall in left-center, akin to his predecessor, Miggy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *