Twenty-five games. That’s all it took for Arizona State freshman Spencer Torkelson to break Barry Bonds’ ASU freshman home run record. Now, with only 10 games left in the regular season, Torkelson leads the NCAA in home runs with 22 and is just four shy of the freshman all-time record set in 1990 by Todd Green (Georgia Southern).
ASU is 19-26 on the season, 11-12 in conference play, giving them no real chance of making the playoffs. Yet, Torkelson’s historic season has helped lift the spirits of the Sun Devils, starting in each of ASU’s 43 games.
No freshman has ever led the nation in home runs for a single season in NCAA history. The last freshman to hit more than 20 home runs in a single season was Daniel Aldrich (Col. of Charleston) with 22 in 2011.
Torkelson did not start the season as a top prospect but quickly captured the attention of the nation after hitting his 12th home run on March 29 to break Bonds’ ASU record. Less than two weeks after, Torkelson was named to the midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes National Player of the Year Award released by USA Baseball.
On April 26, the ASU freshman was selected to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, becoming just the 36th Sun Devil to represent the team. Notable ASU alums selected include Trevor Williams (’12), Mike Leake (’08), Dustin Pedroia (’02 and ’03), Willie Bloomquist (’98) and Ken Landreaux (’75).
Torkelson has taken college baseball by storm, seemingly coming from nowhere, crafting one of the best inaugural seasons in years. His mature and impressive hitting approach and plate discipline make it easy to forget that he is only a freshman, still in the very early stages of a baseball career which could go all the way.