The Tigers are expected to finalize a deal with No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson prior to the resumption of training camps, Jason Beck of MLB.com writes. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News tweets that Torkelson is expected to sign his deal as soon as Sunday and will likely receive a bonus slightly north of his $8,415,300 slot value. MLB.com’s Jim Callis notes that the Tigers can pay as much $8,441,985 without being penalized with the loss of future picks.
Torkelson is regarded as one of the best bats to come out of the draft in decades. The 21-year-old posted an otherworldly .337/.463/.729 with 54 home runs, 33 doubles and a 110-to-104 BB/K ratio in 628 plate appearances as Arizona State’s regular first baseman. The 20-year-old slugger was long the favorite to go No. 1 overall in this year’s draft and is viewed as a fast-moving bat who could be a fixture in the middle of a big league lineup for years to come. Baseball America has already ranked him as the game’s No. 11 overall prospect on its updated Top 100 list, and Torkelson now checks in at No. 38 on the updated rankings from FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen.
While it’s unlikely that Torkelson will be brought to the big leagues this season, of course, Beck notes that the club is still at least considering Torkelson for its 60-player pool that must be submitted to MLB by Sunday evening. Placing Torkelson in that pool would afford him some developmental opportunities in the rebooted Spring Training and then with non-active-roster players throughout the duration of the relaunched 2020 season. Torkelson can obviously be placed on that list without being added to the 40-man roster and wouldn’t get service time simply for being in the 60-player pool, so there’s little downside for the Tigers when it comes to including him.
Tigers GM Al Avila announced earlier this week that the club had signed Competitive Balance pick Daniel Cabrera, and the club has also announced deals with second-round pick Dillon Dingler, third-round pick Trei Cruz, fourth-rounder Gage Workman and fifth-round selection Colt Keith. Torkelson is the lone unsigned player among the bunch, but it sounds as though he’ll put pen to paper and officially begin his pro career in the near future.