Tigers Prospect Profile #27: Cale Iorg

The time has come for Cale Iorg; after years of floundering in the Tigers' farm system as an uber-talented prospect that has been long on projection and short on results, Iorg has reached his put up or shut up season. Will he be fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery, and can he find a way to reach that potential?

Cale Iorg
Position: Shortstop
Height: 6-2
Weight: 180
Born: 9/6/1985
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Tigers aggressively pursued Iorg after drafting him in the sixth round in 2007, giving him a seven figure bonus after he returned from two years away from baseball for Mormon mission.

In his first full season at High-A Lakeland Iorg posted a solid .251/.329/.405 line with 15 doubles, seven triples and ten home runs, leading Dave Dombrowski to dub him as a potential All-Star shortstop.

Things have generally gone backwards from there for Iorg as he hit just .222/.274/.336 in 129 games at Double-A in 2009. He again showed power, speed and excellent defense but his he also struck out 149 times on the season.

In 2010 Iorg returned to Double-A and saw his numbers decline across the board as he hit a paltry .211 in 110 games with 139 strikeouts and only 17 walks. He hit .242 in a late season 16-game trial at Triple-A.

In 2011, Iorg again struggled at both Double- and Triple-A. In 88 games with the Hens he hit only .2008 with 18 doubles and five home runs while striking out 79 times; a marked improvement in his swing and miss rate. After a demotion to Erie, Iorg hit only .167 in 26 games, leaving him with an ugly .199/.245/.306 cumulative line for the year.

Iorg underwent surgery to repair significant damage to his throwing shoulder following the 2011 season and continues his rehab and recovery as spring training approaches.

Scouting Report
Iorg is the best athlete in the Tigers minor league system. He is a graceful athlete with exceptionally easy movements on the field. Prior to his shoulder surgery last fall he features four tools that rated as at least average.

Defensively, Iorg has the potential to be an elite glove at shortstop. He has plus-plus range to both sides with tremendous instincts, giving him a great first step and the ability to read the ball in an uncanny manner. He believes he can make every play imaginable and that will sometimes cause him to do too much, leading to unnecessary errors.

Though shoulder surgery may change the grade his arm receives he has shown a legitimate plus to plus-plus arm in the past with excellent velocity and carry. He has previously shown the ability to make the amazing throw from deep in the hole. The accuracy of his throws comes and goes as his footwork gets too quick at times.

Iorg is a plus to plus-plus runner that gets up to speed quickly out of the box and gets down the line in a hurry. His speed also plays well with his instincts in the field.

Raw hitting ability is the one traditional area that Iorg comes up short, way short. Despite good hand-eye coordination and athleticism, Iorg has not developed the ability to make consistent contact and put the ball in play. He lacks the pitch recognition skills to hone his approach and command the strike zone, leaving him out on his front foot and off balance too often.

When he makes contact Iorg has the bat speed and strength to drive the ball to all fields. He shows above-average power to the pull side and with better contact could hit 30 doubles and 15 home runs annually. His power does not play in game situations against advanced pitching because of his struggles making solid contact consistently.

Despite being a veritable tool shed, Iorg's inability to consistently make contact at the plate has hindered his development and ultimately limited his ceiling. After prior projections as an everyday shortstop with exceptional defense, Iorg's profile falls short of that now. His current projection stands as more of a utility player or emergency starter, but his outstanding raw tools and the faint glimmer of hope surrounding them still keeps him on the prospect radar.



































Health Record
Iorg's shoulder surgery in the fall was a significant operation that repaired multiple problems in his throwing shoulder. He is currently ahead of schedule in his rehab/recover efforts but being ready for the start of the minor league season is far from a guarantee.

The Future
Iorg's initial 2012 placement depends entirely on the health of his shoulder and his ability to play nearly every day from the start. There is a chance he begins the year on the disabled list and heads to either Erie or Toledo once full healthy.

Once his season is underway, the 2012 campaign will be a critical one for Iorg. At 26-years old he will need a strong offensive and defense season to keep any window of opportunity for a significant big league career open.

The Tigers middle infield could be in a state of flux following the 2012 season but it would take a breakout campaign for Iorg to be positioned to compete for a spot on the big league roster in 2013. For a player with his raw tools and abilities it is impossible to say this is his last chance but as one scout put it this winter, it is "time for Iorg to put up or shut up."

TigsTown has gone social! You can now follow TigsTown.com and the TigsTown staff on Twitter and Facebook! For all the latest stories and forum updates, follow @ScoutTigers. For the latest from Managing Editor Mark Anderson, follow @TigsTownMark, and you can follow Executive Editor Paul Wezner @TigsTown. You can also find TigsTown on Facebook, just seach for TigsTown.com!

Tigs Town Top Stories