Comparisons and projections
You don’t have to go too far back to find a good comparison for Torkelson. Andrew Vaughn was a right-handed collegiate slugger taken third overall in the 2019 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
Both players have similar grades in terms of their hit tool and power. I would say that Torkelson has a chance to be a better defensive player than Vaughn and he’s already a better runner.
One thing I forgot to mention about Torkelson is that he has a good eye at the plate and is not just a slugger. He has a 14 percent walk rate in his first two seasons with Arizona State, and that’s likely to go up in 2020 as more teams start to pitch around him.
Vaughn had a 16 percent walk rate in his collegiate career that ballooned to almost 25 percent in his junior season as teams refused to pitch to him.
Torkelson has a much higher strikeout rate in college at 16 percent compared to just 10 percent for Vaughn, but 16 percent is still very solid.
Another thing that makes the two so comparable is they both played/play in the Pac-12.
However, their swings are pretty different as Vaughn has a big leg kick and he also has a little twitch with his hands that I don’t love. But the bat paths are very similar between the two.
I’ve seen some people compare Torkelson to Kris Bryant as well. And maybe that’s a better comparison as far as athleticism and body type as I think Torkelson has the ability to play left field.
But their swings aren’t any more comparable than with Vaughn’s. Bryant has a much wider stance, hardly any leg movement, and really just throws his hands at the baseball.
Vaughn hit .278/.384/.449 with 6 home runs in 205 at-bats across three levels of the minors in 2019 after being drafted. His walk percentage remained very high at around 13 percent, but his strikeout rate went up to around 16 percent.
I think it’s pretty safe to expect those same types of numbers for Torkelson at the next level. He projects to be a .275-.290 hitter with 30-40 home run power.
Again, he probably won’t be available to the Padres at eight. My prediction is that he’ll go in the top three and will most likely go first overall in the 2020 MLD Draft to the Detroit Tigers.