Detroit Tigers: What’s on their 2022 post-lockout to-do list

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 14: A detailed view of a New Era Detroit Tigers baseball hat sitting on the dugout during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on August 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Indians 6-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 14: A detailed view of a New Era Detroit Tigers baseball hat sitting on the dugout during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on August 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Indians 6-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Spencer Torkelson #73 of the Detroit Tigers warms up during the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Spencer Torkelson #73 of the Detroit Tigers warms up during the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers need to take a long look at Spencer Torkelson and Isaac Paredes

Spencer Torkelson and Isaac Paredes may still be only 22 years old, but they seem to be on the fast track to Major League Baseball stardom.

Starting with Torkelson, the big slugger split his time in 2021 between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A for the Tigers, ultimately finishing his first professional season with 30 home runs, 91 RBI, and an above average slash line of .267/.383/.552.

Torkelson was drafted as the first pick in the first round of the 2020 MLB draft by the Tigers as a third baseman, a move that was something of a surprise at the time due to the fact that he had never played a single inning at third all throughout his college career. In 2021, “Tork” split his time defensively between both third base and first base. He spent some time in his collegiate career in the corner outfield too, a spot he could potentially see some time at going forward.

While Torkelson is still just 22, he showed this past season that he’s the real deal. With the previously mentioned massive black hole at first on the Tigers depth chart, he would be an intriguing option to get some playing time there in 2022.

Middle-infielder Isaac Paredes, unlike Torkelson, has already seen major league action in parts of both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He has started his big league career a bit slow, with two home runs and a .215 batting average through his first 193 plate appearances, but his minor league career has been a bit more impressive.

Spending the vast majority of 2021 in Triple-A, Paredes hit 12 home runs with 44 RBI and a .260 batting average. The number on his stat-line that jumps out the most is the fact that he walked (59 times) more than he struck out (50 times). This is actually not even the first time Paredes has done this in his professional career either, as he also accomplished the feat in 2020 (splitting time between MLB and the Mexican Pacific Winter League) and struck out just four more times than he walked in 2019.

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Paredes is primarily a third baseman by trade, but he saw significant time at second this past year and is capable of playing shortstop too. That versatility paired with his excellent eye and up-and-coming bat skills should earn him an extended look at the big league level.