Draft Notebook: Local Inked, Iorg Home

As the August 15th signing deadline inches closer, the Tigers came to terms with a local product earlier this week. Plus, Cole Iorg has returned home. Where does the team stand with the rest of their draft selections?

Jon Kibler, who simply dominated hitters in the Texas Collegiate League, is the newest member of the Tigers system. The left-hander had a so-so spring at Michigan State by going 5-5 with a 4.36 ERA, but after struggling with his velocity in the early part of the season, he was up to the 88-91 range with a solid slider and changeup. His numbers for Weatherford were outstanding, as won all five of his starts with a sparkling 1.36 ERA.

After a standout freshman season at Alabama, shortstop Cale Iorg left the Crimson Tide and went to Portugal on Mormon mission. Even though he hasn't played in a baseball game in over two years, the Tigers drafted Iorg in the sixth round of last month's draft, and with his return to America last week, Iorg began his road back to baseball.

So far, Iorg has worked indoors and has been taking batting practice and ground balls. Even though he has only been home for a few days, the early results have been very encouraging. "He's looked very good and fit," said Garth Iorg, who is Cale's father and also is an instructor for the Milwaukee Brewers. "He doesn't look like a player who has been away."

Certainly Iorg has a long ways to go as far getting his timing down, but if he continues to make good progress, the Tigers will be hard-pressed to pass on a prospect who has solid upside. If Iorg doesn't sign with the Tigers, he could either return to Alabama, or head to another school.

With Jim Wells retiring and then deciding to comeback, there is plenty of uncertainty as to whether or not Iorg would return to the Crimson Tide. He is due to visit Arizona State on July 27, and there is a precedent here, as Cale's brother Eli returned to Tennessee after a mission and was a supplemental first-round pick of the Astros back in 2005.

Another late-round selection that has blossomed is Fresno State's Steve Susdorf, whom the Tigers selected in the 27th round. He led the Bulldogs this spring with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs, and he has continued to rake with the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League.

Susdorf got a late start, but he has more than made up for lost time by hitting .343 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 67 at-bats. Although he isn't a speed merchant, he is a heady baserunner and has swiped four bases in five attempts. One aspect that Susdorf has worked hard on is his defense. He has played both left and right field while also taking ground balls at first base. Susdorf shows power potential, and he'll need that to carry him because he doesn't have the speed needed to play in center.

The Fresno Bee has reported that it would take a six-figure bonus to lure Susdorf away from finishing his civil engineering degree, and with his performance so far this summer, he may have earned it. Look for the Tigers to pay close attention when the Foresters head to Wichita to defend their national title at the NBC World Series, which gets started in two weeks.

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