TigsTown Roundtable: AFL To Watch

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Who should be watched the most this fall in the AFL for the Tigers?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
While every player deserves attention for how they perform this fall, it's hard not to focus on the performance of Cale Iorg in the Arizona Fall League. Iorg's struggles have been well documented here at TigsTown and on just about every service that covers the Tigers' minor league system in some way, shape or form. But for those that might have been under a rock, Iorg, after high praise from general manager Dave Dombrowski last offseason, hit just .222 with 149 strikeouts for Double-A Erie. Iorg already has the ability in the field and anyone that watches him for five minutes can see his ability there. But to make a case for playing at the big league level, he's going to have to be able to show signs that he can get it done at the plate. And in 2009, Iorg clearly took a step back after hopes that he'd take a step forward after a solid but unspectacular return to the diamond. This fall isn't going to make or break Iorg as a prospect, but another discouraging performance from Cale at the plate will just push him further away from consideration as a big league ballplayer.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
There is going to be a lot of interest around Andrew Oliver and Scott Sizemore (for different reasons) during the AFL season, and rightly so, but I don't think they are the key figures to watch. Casper Wells heads to the AFL for the second year in a row, and instead of looking to continue a miraculous breakout season as he did last year, he will now look to build his case for a big league job in 2010. While Sizemore is widely considered to have at least a 50-50 shot at the Opening Day second base job, Wells is a bit further under the radar. With the Tigers likely to continue searching for an influx of offensive production without much cost, the power and patience provided by Wells the last 18 months, could be at least a partial remedy. Wells is nearly big league ready, and a continued strong showing in Arizona could send him to spring training with confidence soaring, health on his side, and a chance to sneak in and surprise people in Lakeland early next spring. Wells is still a long shot to start the season in Detroit, but a strong AFL campaign could open some eyes, and shorten the odds just a bit.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Cale Iorg and Andy Oliver are two players that should be watched closely in the AFL. Iorg is coming off of a tough year at Erie where he hit .222 with 165 strikeouts in 491 at-bats. If he can start to figure things out with the bat, he could hopefully be back on track. I'm curious to see how Oliver handles the AFL after signing in August, and with all of his litigation with the NCAA behind him. A solid showing in the AFL could put him on a fast track to the big leagues, so it will be intriguing to see how he fares.

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