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Spencer Torkelson becomes 4th ASU Sun Devil to go No. 1 in MLB Draft

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2019, file photo, Arizona State's Spencer Torkelson bats during an NCAA college baseball game against Notre Dame in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Arizona State infielder Spencer Torkelson was picked No. 1 overall by the Detroit Tigers in the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday.

Torkelson is the fourth player out of Arizona State to go No. 1 overall, the first in over 40 years. He joins Rick Monday (1965), Floyd Bannister (1976) and Bob Horner (1978). ASU has now had a record four players taken first overall.

Torkelson only got to play in 17 games in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak halted the college baseball season. In that short amount of time, the junior hit .340 with six home runs and 11 RBIs. He finished his three-year ASU career with 129 games played, hitting .337 with 54 home runs, 130 RBIs and 33 doubles.

The infielder led the Pac-12 in home runs in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, becoming only the third player in conference history to have back-to-back 20-plus homer seasons. He was two home runs shy of tying the school’s career home run record, held by Horner.

The draft backs up Arizona State’s claim as a base for premium baseball talent. Torkelson becomes the 22nd player in school history to go in the first round of the June amateur draft, which trails only Stanford as the most for any school.

Last decade, the Sun Devils had two first-round picks: outfielder Hunter Bishop went 10th overall to the San Francisco Giants in 2019 and infielder Devin Marrero was picked 24th by the Boston Red Sox in 2012. In the last two years, ASU has had 10 players drafted.

This year’s edition of the draft was altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. MLB shortened the numbers of selections to five rounds and 160 picks. Before the pandemic, the draft had been scheduled to take place at Omaha, Nebraska, ahead of the now-canceled College World Series.

Clubs were able to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players association. The combined value of their signing bonus pools is $235,906,800 and the amount of signing bonus pool money eliminated is $29,578,100.


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