DETROIT – For the second time in the last three years the Detroit Tigers had he first pick in the Major League Baseball (MLB) draft and for the second year in a row they drafted a position player when they selected Arizona State University (ASU) first baseman Spencer Torkelson. In Torkelson the Tigers not only got the best power hitter in the draft, but also a good all-round athlete. So good, that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced him as a third baseman. He spent the majority of his time at first base in college although he did play in the outfield 15 times while at ASU.
The Tigers have loaded up on pitching in recent drafts taking six pitchers in the first round since 2010 including three in row from 2016-2018. They did not have first around pick in either 2011 or 2012. Most experts agree that Torkelson won’t be in the minors long. Former Tiger great said, “No park is going to hold Tork.” He hit .337 with 54 home runs while at ASU. Great numbers, but when you consider that his junior year was cut short by the COVID-19 Pandemic they are even more impressive.
The Tigers continued to draft college hitters on day two of the draft taking four in the next three rounds. In the second round they selected catcher Dillon Dingler from Ohio State and outfielder Daniel Cabrera from Louisiana State. The Cabrera pick was part of the Competitive Balance pick system instituted as part of the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement and was continued under the current agreement.
Dingler was hitting .340 with five homeruns in 13 games before the college season came to an end. He was injured for much of his sophomore season which meant he was still on the board when the Tigers picked. Several teams had him rated as a first round talent. Cabrera hit .285 with 12 homeruns and 50 RBIs last year. He bats left handed and the Tigers expect him to add power as he develops in their minor league system.
Shortstop Trei Cruz was the Tigers pick in the third round. Cruz was batting .328 with seven doubles before the college season was cancelled this year. He is a switch hitter that is considered to be an above average infielder that has played second and third base along with shortstop. Cruz also has great bloodlines for a ball player. His father Jose Cruz Jr. played in the majors for 12 years and his grandfather Jose Cruz spent 19 years in the big leagues.
The Tigers final two picks were Gage Workman in the fourth round and Colt Keith in the fifth. Workman is another college infielder having played third base at Arizona State. He had three homeruns this season and batted .330 with 42 RBIs last year. Keith is a senior at Biloxi High School and an Arizona State commit that the Tigers believe they can sign. He played third base and pitched in high school and was the Gatorade Mississippi player of the Year in 2019 when he batted .527 with eight homeruns.