Sun Devils set program record in MLB Draft

ASU had five players selected in the first four rounds of Friday's draft

It was a record-setting night for ASU baseball on Thursday as, for the first time in program history, the Sun Devils had five players selected in the first four rounds of the MLB Draft.

Former ASU infielder Spencer Torkelson, the No.1 overall selection by the Detroit Tigers the night before, was joined by teammates Alika Williams, Trevor Hauver, Gage Workman and R.J. Dabovich as the five Sun Devils selected in the draft. Like Torkelson, Williams was also picked the previous evening.

“It was such an incredible night,” Torkelson said to the media after his selection on Thursday night. “There’s such so much adrenaline going through you, it’s insane.”

Stealing the headlines was Torkelson, who became the first corner infielder (first baseman or third baseman) to be selected with the first pick in the draft since Adrian Gonzalez in 2000.

Torkelson finished his time with the Sun Devils just three home runs shy of breaking Bob Horner’s career home run record at ASU, despite having his junior season come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. The California native ended with 54 career collegiate home runs.

“He is a strong young man,” Tigers special assistant and MLB Hall of Famer Alan Trammell said. “We’ve got a special guy, there’s no question about it.”

Joining Torkelson in Detroit will be Workman. Selected with the first pick in the fourth round, the Arizona native finished his ASU career with a .372 on-base percentage and 14 home runs.

Workman and Torkelson join a Tigers organization that finished with the worst record in the majors in 2019. But, according to MLB.com, Detroit already holds the fifth strongest minor league system in baseball.

High school infielder and ASU commit Colt Keith was also selected by Detroit in the fifth round.

Williams, final selection of the first day, was the 37th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in the competitive balance portion of the round. Primarily ASU’s shortstop, Williams concludes his time as a Sun Devil with a career on-base percentage over .380 and over 130 hits.

With the top minor league farm system in the game, according to MLB.com, Williams will join a Rays organization already stocked with three middle infielders among the site's top 100 prospects; including the No.1 overall prospect Wander Franco.

“We face-timed Alika after he got picked,” Torkelson said. “We went wild for Alika. It was such a cool moment to share with all my friends.”

Hauver, who was selected by the New York Yankees in the third round, and Dabovich, picked by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth, join two of baseball’s larger media markets.

Despite playing in the outfield during his career for ASU, Hauver was selected by New York as a second baseman. Dabovich on the other hand, adds more pitching to a Giants organization that selected former ASU outfielder Hunter Bishop with the tenth overall pick a year ago.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s MLB Draft was shortened from the usual 40 rounds to five. Torkelson, Williams, Hauver, Workman and Dabovich will be the only five players drafted by ASU in 2020.

“(Preparing for the draft) has been a challenge, it’s been different,” Tigers amateur scouting director Scott Pleis said. “We didn’t get a chance to see a lot of the players.”


Reach the reporter at kbriley@asu.edu and on Twitter @KokiRiley.

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