The Tigers made several moves to their 40 man roster today in preparation for the upcoming Rule 5 draft. They needed to add recent acquisition Gerald Laird, and the Tigers did create one space on the roster by out-righting long time poster boy for talent unrealized in Cale Iorg. Over the course of 5 minor league seasons, the 6th round bonus baby pick in the 2007 draft has hit just .222.
Cale Iorg has always been known for his glove and being a polarizing prospect amongst Tigers fans. His athleticism when you watch him is evident, and his glove at times can be off the charts. Given his considerable physical gifts, the Tigers went way over-slot for Iorg in 2007, thinking that his lay off from a 2 year Mormon mission wasn’t going to affect him much down the road. Whether or not the mission affected Iorg, we don’t know, but one thing is for sure, the bat has just never come around.
There might be some team willing to pick him up based on the defense alone, but I don’t blame the Tigers for this move. They have plenty of guys that can handle SS defensively if that is all they were looking for. Iorg’s track record of poor plate discipline, and inability to draw any walks doesn’t represent a guy that is all of sudden going to get hitting at age 26.
Now, on to the more pleasant part of the article. The guys that the Tigers have added. The Tigers added 5 guys to the 40 man roster including; Matt Hoffman, Casey Crosby, Tyler Stohr, Avisail Garcia, and Hernan Perez. I have to say that a couple of these selections are quite surprising.
The two no-brainers to make the 40 man were Matt Hoffman and Casey Crosby. Two left-handed pitchers that can get their fastball in the mid-90′s are going to be protected. Hoffman spent 2011 in AAA Toledo and had a solid year, going 2-5 with an ERA of 3.18. The 23 year old got a good birthday present today when he was added, but this has more to do with his potential as a reliever than making him happy on his birthday. Hoffman is a guy that could legitimately see some time in the majors this year.
Crosby, as I just detailed in the Arizona Fall League article struggled a little bit down there. However, with his strong arm, and just coming back from injury, the Tigers have to protect him. He could easily be a selection in the Rule 5, especially considering he could be stashed as a bullpen guy.
The tweener on this list of guys that was protected is Tyler Stohr. Stohr did just have a pretty strong Arizona Fall League, so that might be a big reason why he was protected. Still, it is a little bit of a surprise. I don’t believe Stohr is quite ready to compete for a big league bullpen job at this point. He would more than likely have trouble sticking on a roster, and his stuff isn’t so good that he would be in great demand.
The last two guys, Avisail Garcia and Hernan Perez, I am quite shocked that they got put on the 40 man roster. Both of these guys are talented, sure, but both of them are still extremely raw. Neither guy projects to be nearly good enough for a major league team to stash on its 25 man roster at this point. It shows that the Tigers obviously feel very highly about these two guys at this point though, and just didn’t even want to take the chance of losing them.
As for guys that weren’t added to the 40 man roster that might get some interest? Gustavo Nunez and Jared Gayhart. Nunez, while he is just a light hitter is somewhat in the Rafael Furcal mode of SS’s, and I could see a team that is looking for a defensive SS with some speed to take a flier on him. Considering the Tigers out-righted Cale Iorg, I was a little surprised Nunez wasn’t added. Gayhart, who was a recent prospect profile on our site, is still becoming a pitcher, but his arm is strong, and there isn’t a lot of mileage there. A team looking for bullpen options like Baltimore could take a chance.