MLB Weekly Digest June 15th Edition: Detroit Tigers Select ASU Star Spencer Torkelson First Overall in MLB Draft

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The last week in MLB was about a collegiate first baseman making history during the draft, 2020 draft takeaways, the league makes a new proposal to the MLBPA, MLBPA is done negotiating, and MLB reaches agreement on massive broadcast renewal.

Detroit Tigers Draft ASU First Baseman Spencer Torkelson First Overall in MLB Draft

The Detroit Tigers several days ago selected first baseman Spencer Torkelson from Arizona State University with the first overall pick in the MLB 2020 draft.

Torkelson showcased an abundance of power during his tenure at ASU, while also playing the corner outfield.

He is expected to remain at first base, but surprisingly, the Tigers announced him as a third baseman.

Torkelson made history with the selection as he is the only college first baseman to be drafted with the top overall pick, and the first true first baseman to be selected No. 1 since Adrian Gonzalez in 2000.

The Tigers could’ve selected a collegiate arm with the top pick, but Torkelson is an extraordinary individual.

He has the best power in the 2020 draft class, including terrific plate discipline, and sprays the baseball to all fields.

One interesting fact about Torkelson is he broke the freshman home-run record at ASU that was previously held by Barry Bonds.

The first baseman has the potential to make a significant difference in the future for the Tigers.

Scott Pleis, who is the Tigers director of Amateur Scouting said, “He’s one of the most polished hitters we’ve seen in the draft for quite some time.

He is expected to progress through the minors quickly as he has an advanced approach at the plate and a thorough understanding of the strike zone.

The Tigers had a horrendous 2019 season as they lost 114 games, but selecting Torkelson gives them a franchise player they can build around.

MLB 2020 Draft Takeaways

The draft was filled with some surprises in the first round as one club made an interesting pick, and another team received great value late in the first round.

The Baltimore Orioles made an interesting pick with the second pick in the first round, as they selected University of Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad.

Kjerstad possesses plenty of power, with only Spencer Torkelson having more pop than him in the 2020 draft class.

The potential is there for Kjerstad to be a solid player, but the Orioles could have selected shortstop Austin Martin from Vanderbilt, who was regarded as one of the most polished hitters in the draft.

The Tampa Bay Rays received great value by selecting high school right-handed pitcher Nick Bitsko with the 24th pick in the first round.

Bitsko, who turns 18 this week, was one of the best high school arms in the draft.

He employs a fastball that can reach 96 mph and a power curveball that reaches 82 mph.

The Rays have an excellent track record of developing young pitchers, and Bitsko will flourish in the Rays’ minor league system.

MLB Submits New Proposal to MLBPA with 72-Game Season And 80% Prorated Salaries

Major League Baseball has submitted a new proposal to the MLBPA to start the season.

The proposal includes a 72-game season, including players receiving 70% of prorated salaries during the regular season and 80% if the playoffs are completed, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The new plan would have the 2020 season begin around July 14 and conclude on September 27, says Rosenthal.

MLB will also offer an option to get rid of draft-pick compensation for the next offseason.

MLB will announce a timeline for resuming play within 48 hours of approval, including spring training lasting at least 21 days.

All players would be given the option to not play this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, and high-risk players would get paid, says Rosenthal.

The proposal has eight teams per league qualifying for the postseason, and the players would receive about 83% of prorated salaries.

There will be more money from the postseason pool if the playoffs are completed, per Rosenthal.

The rosters would expand to 30 for the first two weeks, 28 for the next two weeks, and 26 for the rest of the season.

Each club would have a group of 60 players to utilize during the year, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The proposal by the league is a counter to the MLBPA’s offer last week in which they asked for an 89-game season and full prorated salaries.

MLBPA Suspends Discussions with MLB

Major League Baseball Players Association is tired of negotiating with MLB.

Tony Clark, who is the union executive director, issued an extremely passionate statement towards the league this past Saturday.

Clark said, “Players want to play. It’s who we are and what we do.”

“As a result, it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”

MLB sent a proposal to the players association on Friday and gave them a deadline by yesterday to respond, per Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

The players association responded on Saturday by rejecting the proposal, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The fate of baseball taking place in 2020 is in the hands of commissioner Rob Manfred, who has the power to impose a short season unilaterally.

The players would receive prorated salaries, due to an agreement in March between MLB and MLBPA.

If Manfred does impose a short campaign, there will be no expanded playoffs as he does not have the power to expand the postseason.

MLB, Turner Sports Agree to Enormous Broadcast Renewal

Major League Baseball and Turner Sports have agreed to a massive broadcast renewal through 2028.

The renewal will have Turner pay MLB about $470 million per year through 2028.

The renewal comes with a 40% average annual increase, per John Ourand and Eric Prisbell of Sports Business Daily.

Turner currently pays an average of $325 million per year to MLB as they are in an eight-year deal, which will expire after the 2021 season.

The new deal will start in 2022, and it will be focused on the postseason.

Turner maintains the rights to one League Championship Series, two Division Series, and one wild-card game.

The weekly Sunday afternoon game that airs on TBS will move to a weeknight, probably on Tuesday.

Another aspect of the deal is it does not include rights to additional playoff games, as those games have to be negotiated separately, says Ourand.

The total value of the new deal with Turner will be worth about $3.76 billion over seven years, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

The reported deal comes at a strange time for MLB.

They have been negotiating with the MLBPA for several months on the amount that players should be paid.


About Post Author

Chris Lacey

Chris is a New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter at @aecanada12.
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Author Profile

Chris Lacey
Chris is a New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter at @aecanada12.

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