Tigers promote Spencer Torkelson, 2 other top prospects to Toledo

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers’ top position prospects are getting one step closer to Detroit. In fact, they’ll be just a few minutes down Interstate 75.

The Tigers announced today that first baseman/third baseman Spencer Torkelson, outfielder Riley Greene and shortstop Ryan Kriedler have been promoted to Triple-A Toledo from Double-A Erie.

Torkelson, 21, was the No. 1 overall pick just last summer. After beginning the season at Class A (advanced) West Michigan, he was promoted to Erie two months ago.

In 81 games between the two levels, the former Arizona State standout has hit .282 with a .963 OPS. He has 19 home runs and 21 doubles with 54 walks and 78 strikeouts in 353 plate appearances.

Greene, 20, was the No. 5 overall pick in 2019. He’s spent the entire summer in Erie, hitting .296 with a .901 OPS. He has 16 home runs and 16 doubles, while walking 41 times and striking out 102 times in 368 plate appearances.

Torkelson and Greene are typically ranked among the top 20 prospects in all of baseball.

Kreider isn’t in that rareified air, but the 23-year-old is known as a defensive whiz and he’s turned heads this summer in Erie. He was fourth round in 2019 out of UCLA.

Tigers manager A.J. was asked about Greene and Torkelson on Sunday morning, before the promotion was announced.

He said he wanted to squash any rumors that they’d be promoted to Detroit in 2021, but said “they’re exciting prospects that are going to wear a big-league uniform, hopefully soon.”

Hinch said there was a debate between keeping them in Double-A through the end of the season, where they’d been doing so well, or “giving them an uncomfortable setting” to test them at the end of the year.

The Tigers opted for the latter.

“The next level will teach them something that they’ve never experienced before,” Hinch said. “Maybe it’s more off-speed pitches in Triple-A or you start having to do game-planning or the lefties are a little bit better. Now you’re facing guys with Major League service time. That’s going to be new for them.”

After Toledo, the next step will be to the big leagues, what Hinch called “the biggest jump in the world.” That won’t happen in 2021. But after today’s promotion, the question is not if Greene and Torkelson will land in Detroit in 2022, but when?