Tigers Prospect Cale Iorg Struggling in AFL

Cale Iorg has been a lightening rod of consternation for the better part of three years as a shortstop in the Tigers organization. Despite the fact that his physical tools, and his defensive wizardry keep the scouts drooling, Iorg has never been able to progress into any kind of a hitter.

Iorg has spent his entire career swinging and missing. In 362 minor league games, Iorg has struck out 430 times. Instead of getting better as he tries to work his way up through the system, Iorg has made seemingly no progress.

It’s not as if he tears the cover off the ball when he does make contact, either. Iorg has some pop, reaching double figures in home runs in each of the past three seasons, but has never slugged better than .405 for a year. His line over his minor league career is just .228/.283/.358, that’s a .641 OPS.

Still the Tigers haven’t given up hope that their one-time phenom will become the all-star caliber shortstop. After a semi-successful promotion to AAA Toledo this August, the Tigers sent Iorg to the Arizona Fall League to compete against the top prospects from the other organizations. It hasn’t gone well.

With just shy of half the AFL season in the books, Iorg has managed to strikeout in 10 of his 27 at bats over seven games played. He has just four hits, two walks and one hit-by-pitch. His line is .148/.233/.333. Now three seasons removed from signing his first pro contract, Iorg would be eligible for the Rule V draft this winter if not protected by the Tigers on the 40-man roster.

It’s hard to imagine that Detroit would make a move to add him to the roster after so much unfulfilled promise, but it is possible that another club would take a stab at Iorg. He has the tools to play tremendous defense at shortstop right now. If a club thinks they can work with his bat, they’ll jump at the chance to add him to their roster. After all, worst case scenario is that he ends up being offered back to the Tigers for a mere $25,000.

The way the Rule V draft works, a player who is not a member of the parent club’s 40-man roster will be eligible for selection by another organization. Baseball America explained the criteria for a player’s eligibility for the draft.

Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.

In years past, the parent club would have to finalize their 40-man roster by November 20, ahead of the winter meetings. The Rule V draft takes place at the end of those meetings, usually held in early December.

With the MLBPA approving MLB’s plan to bump up several key dates in the offseason (described here), there is rumor that the Rule V draft would actually be moved up as well, possibly to that Nov. 20 date, though the winter meetings take place December 6-9 this year.

If a player is selected during the Rule V draft, that player must remain on the selecting club’s 25-man roster for the entire duration of the following season. If, at any point, the selected player is removed from the selecting club’s 25-man roster, that player must be offered back to the original club. Often in these cases, the two clubs will work out a trade so that the selecting club can keep the selected player and assign that player to their minor leagues.

The Tigers don’t have a lot of talent in their farm system, so losing a player with the potential that Iorg has wouldn’t be ideal, but Iorg’s lack of progression might signal the end of his tenure with the Tigers. His defensive prowess alone could be enough to entice another club to select him. My guess is that Iorg might just need a change of scenery to jump start his career. I’m sure he and the Tigers have tried everything else.

Topics: AFL, Cale Iorg, Detroit Tigers, Rule V Draft

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  • http://sidelionreport.com/ Zac Snyder

    Matt gives me crap about Iorg all the time because I was one of those guys excited about his potential. Looks like I can expect another load.

  • Bob

    Iorg ruined his chances as a pro when he stopped playing for a couple of years to do some missionary work. The two years off has atrophied his baseball skills and it’s beginning to look doubtful that he’ll ever regain the promise he once held. He’s still young so someone will give him a shot should the Tigers release him or lose him via the draft.

  • Chris Hannum

    Do we have anybody else playing down there this year?

    • http://motorcitybengals.com John Parent

      In the AFL, you mean? Chance Ruffin is there. Brooks Brown, Brendan Wise, Ben Guez, and Francisco Martinez, who hit .271 in Lakeland. No power though. Ruffin and Iorg are probably the only real “prospects” there and obviously the jury is out on Iorg.

  • Lynn

    This author seems to have a corn cob up his butt for some reason, seems maybe an old washed up ball player who didnt make it past single A and is jealous of Iorg…..in the Fall league you only play maybe 3 times a week if your lucky due to the amount of players on the team…..so one bad game can really damage your batting average, today he was 2-4 with another stolen base, no way Detroit lets him go, I promise you he will be on the 40 man, thats a given. So John Parent keep watching from the side lines with you lack of knowledge in baseball and scouting and what the scouts and GM’s are looking for. Regardless which team he is with he will be a big leaguer very soon.

    • http://motorcitybengals.com John Parent

      At the risk of fanning the flamer here, I am well aware of the normal playing schedule for the AFL. I am also aware that Iorg can occasionally produce at the plate. No one is more hopeful that Iorg can become the player everyone expected him to become than I am. In my opinion, however, the Tigers may have to expose him to the Rule V draft as he has not yet been able to hit with any kind of consistency. Look at the numbers, Lynn. It’s not that I’m bitter, it’s that Iorg hasn’t produced.

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