Prospect Profile #25: Cale Iorg

Judging by his draft spot, Cale Iorg wouldn't appear to be a top flight player, seeing as roughly two hundred kids were selected before him. But then when you see his signing bonus, it's worth a double take. What's the story on Iorg?

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

Background
Iorg joined the Tigers on the back of the largest signing bonus in history for a sixth round pick. The Tigers signed Cale for a bonus just shy of $1.5 million. Iorg, the son of former Toronto infielder Garth Iorg and brother of Astros prospect Eli Iorg, spent the last two years on a Mormon mission through Portugal before coming back to the states. Prior to his mission in Portugal, Cale had begun to make a name for himself as a freshman at Alabama, where he posted a .280/.331/.415 line that included 19 extra-base hits and 15 steals. For his efforts, he was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

Leading up to his lone season at Alabama, Cale played for his father with the Knoxville Yard where he posted an impressive .486 average with six home runs and 20 stolen bases. As one of the nation's elite prep middle infield prospects, Iorg hit .495 with 15 home runs and 57 RBI during his senior season at Karns High School in Knoxville, TN. Following his senior campaign, the Devil Rays selected him in the 16th round of the amateur draft; much lower than he likely would have gone without a commitment to complete his two-year mission. During his standout senior season, he was named a 1st Team All-American, 1st Team All-Knoxville, and 1st Team All-State by the Knoxville News Sentinel.

As he returned from his mission, Cale faced a difficult decision; sign to play professionally with the Tigers, return to the University of Alabama and re-enter the 2009 draft, or transfer to Arizona State for his second collegiate season. In the end, the decision came down to playing for the Sun Devils or signing with the Tigers, and with a million dollar plus bonus staring him in the face, the 21-year old shortstop opted to turn pro.

Debuting with the GCL Tigers in August, the rust was very evident on Iorg's game, as he only notched two hits in eleven at-bats for the rookie-level affiliate. The Tigers promoted Cale to Lakeland for a stiffer test, and he responded with a .278/.316/.389 line in five games with the Flying Tigers. In an attempt to get additional at-bats under his belt, the Tigers sent Iorg to play for the North Shore Honu during the Hawaii Winter Baseball season. After a rough start that included a number of errors at shortstop, Iorg was forced to shut down due to a significant hamstring injury.

Scouting Report
Cale has a wide base of skills that he maximizes on the field through a gritty, all-out style of play. He is an above average runner, having rated as one of the faster runners present in many of his high school showcases, as well as on his Alabama team in 2005. His instincts on the bases are tremendous, and he could steal 15-20 bases annually.

At the plate, he has a short, compact, quick swing that generates average power to all fields. He is more of a line drive hitter, who sprays balls to all parts of the field with authority, and he has the potential to knock 30-40 doubles annually. His home run power is unlikely to ever become terribly evident, but he should hit 12-15 long balls a season. Iorg has a discerning eye at the plate, and uses his quick wrists and excellent hand-eye coordination to make contact with pitches easily. He should hit for average immediately, and will likely post very respectable on-base numbers.

Defensively, Cale has excellent range stemming from tremendous instincts and good quickness. His hands are soft and he can make plays to both sides with aplomb. His arm is slightly above-average but plays up because of exceptional footwork and a quick release. He has the skills to become a plus defender at shortstop, and a big frame that is reminiscent of many modern shortstops.

His experiences during his mission have likely aided in his maturity, and he should handle any bumps in the road with relative ease. His makeup has always rated as a plus attribute. Overall, Cale has the ceiling of a big time shortstop on a first division ball club.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

GCL Tigers

11

.182

0

0

0

6

1

.308

.182

A+

Lakeland

18

.278

2

0

5

5

1

.316

.389


Health Record
Cale's health was going to be difficult to predict going forward before he injured his hamstring last fall, and now things become more complicated. Reports on the severity of his injury remain vague, with some hinting at something serious last fall, and others indicating it was more of a bad strain/pull. All early indication this spring point towards Iorg being healthy and ready for action. As he shakes the rust off his game he will have to be watched closely and could wear down quickly in his first full season.

The Future
Iorg enters spring training in a competition for the shortstop job at either Lakeland or West Michigan. Early projections after his injury-shortened fall season had him heading to West Michigan to start the season, with a strong chance that he would receive a promotion at mid-season. If he enters this spring healthy and back on his game, Lakeland could be a distinct possibility; particularly if fellow 2007 draftee Danny Worth is pushed back to Erie.

As previously stated, there is little doubt Iorg has the tools to become an excellent shortstop prospect, but there are doubts about his ability to shake off the rust and get his entire game back on track. This ranking is likely a touch on the conservative side, but until he shows out on the field, there is enough skepticism surrounding his abilities, that a lower ranking is warranted in my mind. With a strong season, Iorg could quickly establish himself as one of the more promising bats in the system.

Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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