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Torkelson Highlights Six Former Devils on MLB Opening Day Rosters

Apr 7, 2022

PHOENIX – As Major League Baseball celebrates Opening Day, so too does Sun Devil Baseball celebrate its great lineage of former players, coaches and staff members involved in professional baseball for the coming season.
In total, there are six Sun Devils featured on Opening Day rosters, two coaches and a slew of others in in front office, administrative and scouting roles.

Spencer Torkelson will make his MLB debut tomorrow, expected to start at first base for the Detroit Tigers in their season opener. In doing so, he will become the 113th Sun Devil to appear in a game in the Major Leagues – the most of any program in the NCAA since 1959, the start of the modern era of Sun Devil Baseball. Only USC (117) has sent more players to The Show, though it has done so with over a three-decade head start over ASU as an NCAA program. 
Austin Barnes (Dodgers), Ryan Burr (White Sox), Kole Calhoun (Rangers), Merrill Kelly (Diamondbacks) and Trevor Williams (Mets) also are featured on the 2022 Opening Day rosters. Additionally, two with Sun Devil ties find themselves on Major League coaching staffs this year in former ASU head coach Pat Murphy (Brewers bench coach) Dave Hudgens (Blue Jays hitting strategist).

MLB Players (6) Position Years at ASU Team
Austin Barnes C 2009-11 Dodgers
Ryan Burr RHP 2013-15 White Sox
Kole Calhoun OF 2009-10 Rangers
Merrill Kelly RHP 2010 Diamondbacks
Spencer Torkelson 1B 2018-20 Tigers
Trevor Williams RHP 2011-13 Mets
MLB Coaches (2) Role Years at ASU Team
Dave Hudgens Hitting Strategist 1975-78 Blue Jays
Pat Murphy Bench Coach  1995-2009 Brewers

Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, will make history in a number of ways on Friday, becoming just the 13th college position player to be drafted No. 1 and then play in the majors – doing so just 667 days after being drafted. He would become the first rookie in Tigers history to start at first base on Opening Day with a start on Friday. 
He moved up three levels in the Tigers farm system last year and hit .280/.406/.440 with an OPS of .846 in spring training this year with a home run. (7-for-25). Last season, he appeared in the Tigers' High-A, Double-A and Triple-A clubs, slashing .267/.383/.552 for a .935 OPS and recording 30 homers, 91 RBIs, 29 doubles, two triples and 77 walks over 121 games. 
Torkelson became the fourth Arizona State baseball player to go No. 1 overall in program history, easily an NCAA-high – two more than any other program. He joined Rick Monday (1965), Floyd Bannister (1976) and Bob Horner (1978) to earn the prestigious designation out of ASU. 
He had 54 homers in his career, second in Sun Devil history and needed just three to surpass Bob Horner's long-standing school record of 56 – a feat he almost surely would have achieved with a full season in 2020. 
Torkelson bat .337 in his career with 130 RBIs, 152 runs scored, 33 doubles and 54 long balls. He slugged a an incredible .729 over his career – also just shy of Mitch Jones school record .731 from 1999-2000. He struck out just 104 times in his career while walking 110 times. He was also solid defensively, recording a career fielding percentage of .987.