In today’s 2020 Major League Baseball Draft Scouting Report series we are taking a look at Spencer Torkelson, a first baseman from Arizona State. Torkelson may very well be the best hitter in the entire draft and he’s got the stats to back it up.

The 2018 Season

Undrafted out of high school, Spencer Torkelson headed off to Arizona State where he immediately took a spot in the starting lineup for the Sun Devils and went off at the plate. At 18-years-old he was a man among boys, hitting .320/.440/.743 with 12 doubles and 25 home runs. Those 25 home runs were the best in the country. He walked 38 times with 44 strikeouts in 257 plate appearances.

Following the college baseball season he headed out to the Cape Cod League where he continued to just demolish the ball. He played in 25 games for Chatham and hit .333/.472/.704 with nine doubles, seven home runs, 20 walks, and 24 strikeouts.

The 2019 Season

After a historic freshman season there was some pressure on Spencer Torkelson to do it again. And he did just that. As a sophomore the first baseman hit .351/.446/.707 with 17 doubles and 23 more home runs – giving him 48 through the first two seasons at Arizona State. He would also walk 41 times with 45 strikeouts. The power output was similar, but down just a bit (he had 32 more plate appearances in 2019 than he did in 2018). After the season he played briefly for Chatham in the Cape Cod League, hitting two doubles and two home runs in five games before joining Team USA for the rest of the summer.

The 2020 Season

Arizona State played 17 games before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the remainder of the college baseball season. When they were still playing, Spencer Torkelson went off, again. The junior hit .340/.598/.780 with four doubles and six home runs in 82 plate appearances. He walked 31 times in that span, but did strike out 15 times.

Spencer Torkelson College Stats

Spencer Torkelson Video

Spencer Torkelson Scouting Report

Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 215 lbs

Bats: Right | Throws: Right

Position(s): First Base

Power, power, power. Power is the calling card for Spencer Torkelson, and if you made it this far in the article you already know that. He’s got plus power now and there is plus-plus raw power there in the future that he could tap into. It’s arguably the best raw power in the entire draft. It’s not just the power, though – scouts like his hit tool as well, grading it out as a future above-average tool with tons of bat speed, and he’s a guy who can use the entire field.

Defensively he’s a bit limited by his speed. With Team USA he played a little bit of left field, but for the most part he’s expected to be a first baseman moving forward. He’s a solid defender at first base and there’s no concern he can’t handle the spot.

Where the concern could be

While a 16.6% strikeout rate (Torkelson’s career rate in college) doesn’t immediately jump out to us as a high rate of strikeouts, when it comes to college hitters that are going to be future professionals – it’s actually pretty high. And while we’re only looking at 82 plate appearances in the 2020 season, Spencer Torkelson struck out in 18.3% of his trips to the plate. We don’t really know if it would have improved as the season went along or not, as it seemed he was being pitched around an awful lot as a junior – but for his career there was a lot of swing-and-miss going on at Arizona State. The power makes that a bit easier to look past, but if there’s a concern in his game – it’s here.

You can see all of the prospect scouting reports we’ve written so far right here.

5 Responses

  1. Oldtimer

    Saw him play for ASU during Reds ST in 2018 or 2019 (I forget which). He crunched a long HR at the game I attended. Good power hitting prospect.

    PS if there is ST in 2021, it is worthwhile to attend an ASU game (at night) to see the Sun Devils play in the Phoenix Municipal Stadium (former ST home of SF Giants).

  2. Troy

    Better Chatham A’s player- Spencer Torkelson or Ryan Dunne?

    • Doug Gray

      It sure wasn’t Billy Burbaker, I know that much.

  3. Big Ed

    Spencer Torkelson is a very good law firm name.

    Or maybe a character in a Gunsmoke episode, like Pike Beechum.