For the Tigers, nothing was more encouraging in spring training than the quality of Spencer Torkelson's at-bats. In the words of A.J. Hinch, and according to numbers like exit velocity, Torkelson was "crushing the ball."
Then he went 0-4 in the Tigers' season-opening 4-0 loss to the Rays on Thursday.
Which brought flashbacks of last year when Torkelson hit .203 in his first season in the majors. To which 97.1 The Ticket's Jim Costa asks, when is it time to be worried about the former No. 1 pick?
"Let me be fair," Costa said Friday on the Karsch and Anderson Show. "How many games -- is it May, Memorial Day, All-Star Break, 300 at-bats -- what’s the number for the ‘bust’ thing to be a conversation? I’m not doing that today, outside of overreactions one day into the season. I’m asking, when is it fair or reasonable for me to say, 'If the trend from last year comes into this year for X number of games, we can officially be concerned about Tigers player development bleeding over?'"
Torkelson did hit three balls hard on Thursday. His first three groundouts all left the bat at over 100 mph, and one of them went straight up the middle and into the glove of a legally-shifted infielder. Costa says he wants to see more balls in the air.
"Torkelson last year couldn’t hit the meatball over the heart of the plate, whatever the issue, mechanics, mental, combo of the two. He had a ton of AB’s in the spring, I keep hearing about hard-hit rate. Listen, I like stats, I like BABIP, I like hard-hit rate, I love predictive stuff, I want to see that stuff, but it also has to translate. You gotta get some lift on the ball, too. We can’t live in the infield," he said.
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