Cubs South of the Border

In addition to the seven players (RHPs Dae-Eun Rhee, Kevin Rhoderick, Nick Struck, and Tony Zych, INF Javier Baez, IF-OF Rubi Silva, and OF Matt Silva) who are assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, there are 17 other Cubs or Cubs minor leaguers on the rosters of teams in the Latin winter Leagues:


MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE:
Alfredo Amezaga, IF-OF (Obregon)
Esmailin Caridad, RHP (Obregon)
Greg Rohan, 1B-3B-LF (Mazatlan)
Christian Villanueva, 3B (Obregon)


DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE:
Arismendy Alcantara, SS (Licey)
Jeffry Antigua, LHP (Este)
Jairo Asencio, RHP (Este)
Diory Hernandez, INF (Este)
Junior Lake, INF (Oriente)


VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE:
Juan Apodaca, C (Zulia)
Tony Campana, OF (Caracas)
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP (Oriente)
Yoannis Negrin, RHP (Caracas)
Loiger Padron, RHP (Caracas)
Miguel Socolovich, RHP (Caracas)
Luis Valbuena, INF (Lara)
Ty Wright, OF (Aragua)


Tony Campana and Luis Valbuena are both already big leaguers who will likely have bench jobs in 2013 no matter what they do in Venezuela, but Campana still needs to figure out how to draw more walks, and Valbuena needs to improve as a hitter, and it‘s possible that one or both could find the keys to those adjustments/improvements in winter ball.


Junior Lake is already on the 40-man roster and would appear to be headed to AAA Iowa in 2013, but if he has an eye-popping performance in the Dominican this winter, it could provide him more time to show what he can do in Spring Training next March.


Miguel Socolovich was claimed off waivers by the Cubs last month but didn’t have much of an opportunity to show what he could do, so he needs to pitch well in Venezuela if he wants to keep his slot on the MLB 40-man roster going into next season. (Even then he still could get dropped).


Christian Villanueva was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal and is one of the Cubs Top 15 prospects. He will probably be added to the Cubs 40-man roster on 11/20 no matter how he performs in Mexico, but there are others on the list who are also eligible for selection in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft and who are not likely to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, and they could get some attention from other clubs with a strong performance in winter ball.


29-year old RHRP Esmailin Caridad has big league experience and had a solid year at Iowa in 2012, 26-year old Greg Rohan is the proverbial minor league “big stick” who hit a combined 282/349/491 with 38 doubles, 21 HR and 106 RBI at three stops in 2012, and 22-year old LHP Jeffry Antigua is the type of Rule 5 candidate who might have value to a team in search of a lefty reliever with AA experience. And if they perform well in Mexico and are not selected in the Rule 5 Draft, Caridad and/or Rohan could get an NRI to Spring Training with the Cubs in 2013 and be given a legitimate chance to score a slot on the Cubs 2013 Opening Day 25-man roster.


Arismendy Alcantara won’t be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until post-2013, and while he probably played his way into Top 15 prospect status at Daytona this past season and projects as the #1 shortstop at AA Tennessee in 2013, he still needs to have a strong season in the Dominican to stay on the front-burner, what with Javier Baez coming up fast behind him.


28-year old Cuban defector Yoannis Negrin was signed by the Cubs in 2011 but spent most of the 2012 season “on loan” to Tabasco in the Mexican League, so how he performs in the LMP this winter could help the Cubs decide whether he gets another year (probably at Iowa) or gets released.


Likewise, Eduardo Figueroa (Daytona) and Loiger Padron (AZL Cubs) could get released if they don’t show well in Venezuela.


27-year old Iowa LF Ty Wright will be a minor league free-agent post-2013 and will be released at Minor League Camp next March if he doesn‘t make the iowa Opening Day roster, so it wouldn’t hurt him to do well in winter ball.


Four of the 17 Cubs playing Latin winter ball will be minor league free-agents next month, and three of them will likely be someplace else in 2013. Alfredo Amezaga, Jairo Asencio, and Diory Hernandez probably won’t return to Iowa in 2013, but the Cubs are almost certainly looking for a veteran catcher who can be the back-up at Iowa in 2013 and who can be 4th on the depth chart behind Welington Castillo, Anthony Recker and Steve Clevenger, and since Juan Apodaca did a nice job as a back-up catcher at both Tennessee and Iowa in 2012, the Cubs might want to try and bring him back by offering him a pay raise and an NRI to Spring Training as inducement. It might help his cause if he does well in Venezuela.

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 49 min 27 sec ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 54 min 45 sec ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 59 min 49 sec ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 1 hour 11 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 1 hour 47 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 2 hours 28 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 3 hours 57 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 4 hours 1 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 9 hours 36 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 10 hours 50 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 10 hours 54 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 12 hours 12 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 19 hours 25 min ago view