Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch preaches patience and it paid off

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

It seems everyone but the man who calls the shots, manager A.J. Hinch, had been worried about Detroit Tigers‘ rookie slugger Spencer Torkelson‘s slow start.

Every time a player of Torkelson’s caliber begins their big league career, the bright lights tend to be a bit warmer than they’ve been in the past.  Major League Baseball has a way of humbling even the brightest of stars.

We’re just two series, six games into the Major League career of one of baseball’s top prospects, yet some folks (fans) began to panic. Don’t forget the great Mike Trout batted a mere .220 during his rookie season; Barry Bonds fared a bit better, hitting .223 in his first season. After starting 0-10 with seven strikeouts, seemingly everyone but the Tigers’ manager flipped the large glass case open on the red panic button.

On a rainy Wednesday in the sixth game of the year, Torkelson took flight in the rubber match of a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox.  The powerful first baseman hit a moonshot over the Detroit Tigers bullpen in left field, and it felt like you could hear the sigh of relief across the State of Michigan. Torkelson was just 1-15 before the home run.

The Tigers’ gallant comeback effort fell short, and they’d eventually fall 9-7. Still, the teams’ top prospect must feel like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders as the organization heads to Kansas City to square off with their division rivals Thursday evening.

Detroit Tigers manager preaches patience and it paid off.

Ironically, earlier that same morning, Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch joined 97.1 The Ticket‘s morning show titled Stoney & Jansen with Heather and spoke about how he isn’t at all worried about Torkelson’s slow start.

Hinch recalled joking with the media before the season began pleading with everyone to leave Torkelson alone to begin the year but knew that would be impossible. Hinch also mentioned that Torkelson is historically a slow starter at every level he’s played.  He’s gotten off to slow starts in college and each level of the Detroit Tigers farm system.

The Tigers manager laughed at Torkelson’s answer the other day after being asked how getting his first big league hit felt, and the 22-year-old first baseman said it felt like all of my other hits.

Last season in Single-A with the Western Michigan White Caps, Torkelson hit .167 with 15 strikeouts through his first ten games and didn’t hit his first home run until the 15th game of the season.

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Expect big things from Torkelson in the future, but for now, let’s try to be patient and enjoy the growth.  He certainly brings a different dimension to the bottom third of Detroit’s lineup with his raw power, and you can live with the low average and high strikeout rate for a power hitter hitting seven or eight.