Devils Prospects: ASU verbal commit hopes to fill Torkelson's shoes

Ivan Brethowr looks to bring athleticism and a powerful bat to the Sun Devils

Last year, ASU baseball had five players drafted into the MLB, more than any other program in the country last year. 

For Ivan Brethowr, a senior at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Overland Park, Kansas, and an ASU commit, joining the program is the next step in his dream of joining the likes of those players drafted into the majors.

When Brethowr was 11 years old, he played on Team Midwest for Team USA and later played travel baseball in Cary, North Carolina, participating in a regional series of games. 

In high school, Brethowr participated in Perfect Game showcases and was in the starting lineup of the Saints' runner-up state championship team.

In 2019, Ben Greenspan, the recruiting coordinator for ASU baseball, reached out to Brethowr about joining the team.

"The coaches have been great through everything," Brethowr said. "I reached out and told them I really wanted to go there. I went down for a camp last August and a couple of phone calls later decided to commit."

Brethowr verbally committed to play for the Sun Devils on September 17, 2019 and is now looking forward to playing first base and outfield for the team. 

The 17 year old believes he can fill the spot that former Sun Devil first baseman Spencer Torkelson left. In three seasons at ASU, Torkelson was two home runs shy of breaking the Sun Devils all-time home run record and was drafted with the first overall pick by the Detriot Tigers last year.

"Those are definitely big shoes to fill for sure, but I think the best way I can fill his spot is to just go out there and play my game," Brethowr said. "I actually got the chance to meet Tork in January, which gives me even more respect for him since he is such a down to earth guy."

Brethowr hopes to follow Torkelson's path and make it to the MLB through ASU, something he believes helped Torkelson go from undrafted out of high school to the first overall pick. 

"Going undrafted out of high school to being the number one overall pick is almost completely unheard of," Brethowr said. "I think that I can truly get better and develop into a better version of myself as a player while playing at ASU."

Brethowr models his game after Aaron Judge, an MLB All-Star right fielder for the New York Yankees, because of their similar body type and mannerisms at the plate. He has made adjustments at the plate that mirror Judge's swing.

“[It’s] to become more of a back foot hitter instead of a front foot hitter,” Brethowr said. “When you get to the pros and you see a lot of these college and high school guys, it’s all the same, they always work to become a back foot hitter and so I’ve been working on that and having the exact same amount of power.”

Brethowr has been praised for his athleticism and competitive nature by his peers. 

“On the field, he’s a big competitor with a lot of talent, his ball off the bat just sounds different and his athleticism at his size is spot on,” said Jorge Romero, who played with Brethowr at an All-American Perfect Game tournament. “In the dugout he’s a great teammate, always picking guys up after striking out and always hyping you up before and after at-bats and or plays.”

His former high school head coach, Lorne Parks, echoed a similar sentiment.

"Ivan will bring a great attitude, great practice habits and a winning attitude to ASU," Parks said. "I think you are getting a student/player that will help ASU in many different ways on the field."

Brethowr hopes to possibly pursue a business entrepreneurship-related degree. He aims to graduate from ASU within three years.

“Arizona State has always been my dream school ever since we went down there for a spring training tournament when I was 14, and we went to ASU for a baseball game,” Brethowr said. “That’s MLB-U so that’s where I want to be and I’m glad it worked out.”

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