Opinion: Spencer Torkelson is ASU baseball's next great power hitter

The freshman's early success has him on track to follow in Barry Bonds' footsteps

With baseball greats such as Barry Bonds and Reggie Jackson having played baseball at ASU, it can be difficult to find someone who could fill shoes that big.

Freshman infielder Spencer Torkelson is doing just that. 

Through 24 games this season, he is batting .297, is tied for fourth in the country with 11 home runs, and has already tied Bonds for the all-time, single-season ASU freshman record as well.

It would be a miracle at this point for him not to eventually hit a twelfth home run, so it’s fair to assume he can get even better as a hitter as the season rolls on, and his career continues.

“Obviously, he has raw power and can destroy a baseball,” said Michael Baron, ASU baseball beat writer for The State Press. “What stands out the most is that I’ve never seen him give away an at-bat. What really impresses me is that he’s patient at the plate.”

Patience is a key for any hitter, and while Torkelson is second on the team with 22 strikeouts at the plate, he is also tied for second on the team with 12 walks

His ability to work counts and put himself in favorable hitting situations is only going to help him improve as a batter.

Torkelson’s ability to consistently put the ball in play is another important aspect of his game. Because he generates so much power, he will likely find more gaps when his hits don’t leave the yard than someone with lesser power.

At 6 feet 1 inch and weighing 205 pounds, Torkelson is similar to Kyle Schwarber, current Chicago Cubs outfielder whom ASU head coach Tracy Smith coached at Indiana University.

Schwarber, who is 6 feet tall and weighs around 215 pounds, is known for his power and strength, despite not having the biggest frame.

Torkelson and Schwarber aren’t short by any means, but many sluggers in baseball today, like Aaron Judge (6 feet 7 inches) and Giancarlo Stanton (6 feet 6 inches), have massive builds that make Torkelson’s and Schwarber’s power that much more impressive.

Power is obviously a big part of Torkelson’s game, and he has been one of the team’s best overall hitters all season. Improving defensively could elevate his game to the next level.

“He’s been very impressive offensively,” Baron said. “(The area) he could improve the most is defensively, whether it’s in left field or first base. A little more solid ball control could go a long way because he’s exceeding expectations on the offensive side.”

Home runs are going to be there. That much is clear. A few more of his deep fly balls that have died in center field or the power alleys might even be home runs after this season once the fences at Phoenix Municipal Stadium are brought in by 15-20 feet.

“The dimensions right now are MLB dimensions,” Baron said. “If he’s able to hit balls out to center field and deep left, that’s definitely proving he can hit home runs in what would be an MLB stadium. That stands out.”

With his raw power and mature approach at the plate, Torkelson is trending toward a successful ASU baseball career as one of the best Sun Devil power hitters in the program’s illustrious history.

Reach the columnist at Steven.Slobodzian@asu.edu or follow @PSlobodzianASU on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. 

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