Torkelson Could Go From No Draft To No. 1 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

TEMPE, Ariz. — When Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson finished his senior season at Casa Grande High School (Petaluma, Calif.) in 2017, there were 1,215 players chosen in the MLB Draft over 40 rounds.

He wasn’t one of them.

During his four years at Casa Grande H.S., he only hit 11 home runs in 110 varsity games.

Fast forward three years.

Torkelson could easily be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

His freshman year with the Sun Devils, he belted a nation-leading 25 home runs in 59 games in 2018.

It was the most amount of home runs ever for an ASU freshman as he snapped Barry Bonds’ freshman mark in just his 25th game of the year. Bonds hit 11 home runs in 64 games as a freshman in 1983.

The talented first baseman was just one home run shy of the NCAA freshman record.

In 2019, Torkelson hit 23 more homers in 57 games despite pitchers trying to pitch around him.

That is 48 home runs in 116 games against much tougher pitching than he faced at Casa Grande H.S.

He is only the third player in Pac-12 history to have back-to-back 20-plus home run seasons.

The last time a college player was picked No. 1 overall in the draft and wasn’t drafted out of high school was in 2009 when San Diego State RHP Stephen Strasburg was chosen No. 1 overall by the Washington Nationals.

The obvious question is how did Torkelson become an elite power hitter when he really didn’t show it as a high school player?

“He is a generational type of player, and a combination of things came together for him,” said ASU Head Coach Tracy Smith.

To read more of this story, purchase the Feb. 21, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. ASU hitting coach Mike Earley explains why Torkelson has hit so many home runs with the Sun Devils.