ASU coach Smith: You’d be ‘crazy’ not to draft Spencer Torkelson
May 20, 2020, 7:07 PM | Updated: 7:33 pm
(Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Recent MLB mock drafts have made evident the possibility that Arizona State baseball slugger Spencer Torkelson could be this year’s first overall pick.
“I haven’t put much thought into [possibly being the No. 1 pick],” Torkelson said last month. “But it gives you goosebumps just even talking about being drafted. Being drafted in the first place is an accomplishment, but to be in the conversation at the very top is very humbling and nice to have.”
The Detroit Tigers will be on the clock first in the June draft, which will be shortened to only five rounds from its usual 40 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t cuss in the media. But it would be like, you’re something — I don’t know, you put those little dashes and number signs and exclamation points — crazy if you don’t take him number one,” Smith said in a conference call on Wednesday.
“You can fill in the blank on whatever that is. Honestly, he is who he is. It doesn’t really take much from us to have to push him over the top because he’s done it on the field, he’s done it on certainly the collegiate level but he’s done it on the international stage with USA. And he has done things beyond the norm. If that particular team is looking for a hitter in that top pick, what’s your choice? That’s what he is. He’s one of the best that, I think, to ever play the collegiate game. So there’s no sales pitch from us. If you guys don’t take him you’re ‘blank’ crazy.”
After Detroit, the Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins are up next in the draft order.
Torkelson, who was three home runs shy of breaking the school record for most in a career, had 54 in 129 games as an NCAA player. He hit .337 with a 1.192 OPS and 130 RBIs.
Typically a first baseman, he also got time in the outfield at ASU.
“He’s very athletic and that’s the part that makes him unique,” Smith said. “He’s a great hitter. But I’ve heard all this stuff about, ‘Look at the success of right-handed hitting first basemen.’ Well, he’s not just a right-handed hitting first baseman. He can move around, he can play second, he can play the outfield, he can play third. So I think his defense has improved and that’s only going to increase his stock as they evaluate.
“I don’t think he falls beyond the third pick, which is pretty good. It’s a hefty payday. But it’s kind of cool to be the 1-1 but I think his ability to play defense and he’s shown he improved his defense, helps his case for being the 1-1.”