The city of Detroit needs some new star players for its sports teams that have struggled over the past five years. Could Spencer Torkelson be the savior the Detroit Tigers need? Here’s a look at what Torkelson brings and Rookie of the Year betting odds.
What Happened: The city of Detroit has four professional sports teams across the four major sports with the Detroit Tigers (MLB), Detroit Pistons (NBA), Detroit Lions (NFL) and Detroit Red Wings (NHL).
Over the last five years, each of these teams has struggled and produced either the worst record in their respective league or gotten the first overall pick in a draft thanks to a lottery of the worst record teams.
The Detroit Pistons had the first overall draft pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and selected Cade Cunningham. In the 2021-2022 season, Cunningham is averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. Cunningham ranks second on the team in points-per-game and leads the team in both assists and steals per game.
Could a Detroit Tigers rookie have a similar effect on the team in 2022?
Spencer Torkelson was the number one overall draft pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, selected by the Tigers.
After one year in the minors, Torkelson has cracked the Tigers opening day roster and is expected to remain up with the MLB team for the entire season.
In 2021, Torkelson spent time with the Tigers AA and AAA minor league teams. In 124 games, Torkelson had 115 hits, 30 home runs and 91 RBIs. Torkelson posted a batting average of .267 and a slugging percentage of .522.
In 15 2022 spring training games, Torkelson posted a batting average of .258 with eight hits, four doubles, a home run and four RBIs.
The Tigers have improved over the past three years, going from a 47-114 record (29% win rate) to 23-35 in 2020 (40%) to 77-85 (48%) in 2021. Another year of improvement could put the Tigers on the doorstep of the MLB Playoffs.
Torkelson is one of several young players expected to help take the Tigers to the next level. With expectations already high, Torkelson will be widely watched and should already be on the mind of those who vote on MLB awards.
Add in the storyline of Torkelson taking over the first base role from MLB legend Miguel Cabrera and there is a strong chance that Torkelson could be a favorite for the Rookie of the Year award. With Torkelson ranked as the third favorite by many books, I see some value here, similar to when Shoehei Ohtani was still paying out over +100 to win the NL MVP last year.
Betting Odds: Here is a look at the current betting odds for Spencer Torkelson to win the American League Rookie of the Year.
DraftKings Inc DKNG: +450
FanDuel, a unit of Flutter Entertainment PDYPY: +500
BetMGM, a joint venture of Entain and MGM Resorts International MGM: +500
Barstool Sportsbook from Penn National Gaming PENN: +525
Caesars Entertainment CZR: +500
Competition: Torkelson’s competition mainly consists of two MLB rookies who also cracked the opening day rosters of their respective teams and are expected to remain up all season.
Bobby Witt of the Kansas City Royals was selected second overall in the 2019 MLB Draft. Witt is the favorite at all sportsbooks for American League Rookie of the Year.
Witt spent time in 2021 with the Royals AA and AAA minor league teams. In 124 games, Witt had 99 runs, 144 hits, 33 home runs, 97 RBIs, a batting average of .290 and a slugging percentage of .576.
Another favorite for AL Rookie of the Year is Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners. Rodriguez spent time with the A+ and AA minor league teams of the Mariners in 2021. In 74 games, Rodriguez had 101 hits, 47 RBIs, 13 home runs and a .347 batting average. While Rodriguez never made it to the team’s AAA affiliate, he has played in 217 games in the minors and posted a career minor league batting average of .331.
Witt’s odds to win range from +257 at Barstool to +330 at FanDuel and Caesars. Torkelson ranks tied for second in odds with Rodriguez at DraftKings and is the third favorite at the other sportsbooks mentioned.
Starting The Season Strong: The Detroit Tigers kicked off the 2022 season on April 8 with a dramatic win over the Chicago White Sox. Tigers shortstop Javier Baez produced a 9th inning walk-off hit for the 5-4 victory.
The game was aired on Bally Sports Detroit, a unit of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc SBGI. The game was also streamed on ESPN+, a streaming platform from Walt Disney Co DIS.
Photo: Courtesy of Minda Haas Kuhlmann on Flickr
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