Some MLB fans may not like the World Baseball Classic. The tournament featuring countries all over the world puts players at risk of injury. For prospects, the tournament represents a chance to showcase skills and possibly impress major league teams prior to the start of the season. Detroit Tigers prospect Cale Iorg will be hoping to do just that for Team Canada.
The Tigers 6th round 2007 MLB Draft pick will play shortstop for Team Canada. Iorg will have a chance to play against strong competition, as Team Canada is in a group stage with United States, Mexico and Italy. The Tigers have been trying to find a replacement for SS Jhonny Peralta and do not have a strong pipeline of prospects. I ranked Eugenio Suarez in my top ten Tigers prospects and Iorg has a chance to move into the same minor league competition with a strong showing.
Iorg was first drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 16th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Iorg chose not to go pro because of a two year Mormon missionary trip in Portugal. The Tigers then swooped in to pick the shortstop in 2007. Iorg was likely to attend Arizona State if he wouldn’t have been drafted high enough in 2007.
In 2012, Iorg split time with Lakeland in Single-A+ and Toledo in Triple-A. Iorg played in 54 games during the course of 2012. Cale struggled offensively hitting only .163 with an on-base percentage of .207. Iorg’s strikeout to walks ratio (51 to 7) was particularly high and will likely be an area the Tigers watch during the WBC.
Cale does have some big league experience playing in Spring Training games with the Tigers. Cale played in a total of 22 spring games for Detroit, including 10 in 2011. In 2011, Cale posted a batting average of .278 with five hits, two RBIs, one home run and three doubles. Iorg will need to post numbers like this in the WBC to stay competitive on the Tigers depth chart.
Iorg is part of a family of baseball players. His father Garth Iorg played for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1978-1987. Garth was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1973 MLB Draft, before being signed in Toronto’s expansion draft. Garth played 2B, 1B, SS, DH and OF throughout his career. Cale’s uncle Dane also played in the MLB from 1977-1986 for four different teams. Cale has two brothers who were also drafted by MLB teams and a sister that played NCAA Softball.
Along with the added pressure coming from a family history of baseball is Cale’s scout. David Chadd, a longtime MLB scout, was the one who recommended the Tigers selection. Chadd is responsible for scouting baseball players like Rick Porcello, Brennan Boesch, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez.
Cale truly has a great opportunity in this year’s World Baseball Classic. He is an underrated Tigers prospect at a position of need. A strong showing in the tournament could push Iorg up the depth chart and inch him closer to the majors. I had the chance to interview Cale recently and that will appear in a future article.