A Parallel Universe in Cubs Future?

With the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies set to move their Spring Training & Minor League operations from Tucson to a new joint/shared facility at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort next year, it is likely that the "Arizona Advanced Instructional League" (AKA "Arizona Parallel League" or "Junior Arizona Fall League") will be expanded to include at least two teams from the east-side of the metro Phoenix area (AZ and COL).



The purpose of the AZ Advanced Instructional League is to provide a separate environment for players who are not advanced enough to play in the Arizona Fall League (which is designed essentially for AA and AAA players), but are too advanced for the traditional AZ Instructional League (which exists primarily for first-year pros and Latin players making their U. S. debut).


At present, the eight MLB clubs that share Arizona Spring Training &; Minor League facilities with another MLB club (KC and TEX in Surprise, SEA and SD in Peoria, LAD and CHW in Glendale, and CLE and CIN in Goodyear) participate in the AZ Advanced Instructional League, and all eight of the clubs participating are located on the west-side of the Phoenix metro area. Games are usually played on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at the same sites where traditional AZ Instructional League games are played. The only difference is that Parallel teams are a combination-mix of two different organizations, with coaches also provided from each organization. (There aren't enough available pitchers from full-season "A" ball teams for each MLB organization to field its own Parallel squad, because many of the pitchers who spend a full season playing "A"-ball games have thrown too many innings to allow them to throw any more after the end of the minor league regular season). But because the clubs providing the players for the Parallel team share a campus, pitchers from two organizations can be combined on one team, and the players can easily return to their home organization for Camp Days (instruction) because they are already home.


The Cubs would probably be interested in participating in such a league if it is expanded to include Phoenix metro east-side teams (so that more advanced players like Hak-Ju Lee, Logan Watkins, Evan Crawford, Jae-Hoon Ha, could play with and against players with a similar level of experience as themselves), but are handicapped because they do not share a campus with another MLB club. (Same goes from the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A's, and San Francisco Giants). It would be difficult for a club that does not share a campus with another team to coordinate operations with their partner, because the players who would be participating would be based at different complexes several miles apart.


The AFL solves this by totally disconnecting the six AFL teams from minor league complexes, instruction, and individual MLB club identity, making each of the six AFL squads a stand-alone consortium of five MLB clubs (the Cubs, Phillies, Pirates, Mets, and Angels will be providing seven players a piece to the Mesa Solar Sox this year). The AFL model probably could be be applied to the Parallel league, too, but that would mean getting each club to agree to a standard player development philosophy, and at present such agreement does not exist.


Still, don't be surprised if the Cubs partner-up with another MLB club (probably either the A's or the Angels) to form an AZ Junior Instructional League team (Parallel team) this time next year, to provide an extra month of advanced instruction and games (probably about 12-15) after the conclusion of the minor league regular season for the better prospects from Peoria and Daytona. And then the Cubs traditional AZ Instructional League squad would be limited to just the youngest and least-experienced players (from Boise, AZL Cubs, DSL Cubs #1, and DSL Cubs #2), as well as players making their pro debut.

Comments

AZ PHIL: "Still, don't be surprised if the Cubs partner-up with another MLB club (probably either the A's or the Angels) to form an AZ Junior Instructional League team..."

No doubt with Rickett's emphasis on Farm development, it is probably a slam dunk - wouldn't you say?

Submitted by The E-Man on Sun, 10/10/2010 - 3:40pm.
AZ PHIL: "Still, don't be surprised if the Cubs partner-up with another MLB club (probably either the A's or the Angels) to form an AZ Junior Instructional League team..."

No doubt with Rickett's emphasis on Farm development, it is probably a slam dunk - wouldn't you say?

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E-MAN: The Cubs participation in a "Junior AFL" for Class-"A" players is indeed consistent with the increased emphasis in player development favored by Ricketts.

Ever since the MLB Hawaiian Winter League went defunct a couple or three years ago there has been a need for something that fills the void between the Instructional League and the AFL.

I think where there is a problem for the Cubs (in particular) is with the present incarnation of the Advanced Instructional League (or Arizona Parallel League), which seems to work OK for clubs that share a campus with another MLB club, but maybe not so well for teams like the Cubs, A's Angels, et al that don't. It also doesn't do anything for MLB clubs that have their Spring Training and Minor League bases in Florida.

What might work better for everybody is for MLB to take over the Advanced Instructional League concept (or a "Junior AFL") and run it just like the AFL, with six teams, and with five MLB clubs contributing seven players to their respective J-AFL team. The J-AFL could play in the same stadiums as the AFL teams, or in different Arizona Spring Training sites which do not presently host AFL teams, like Goodyear, Camelback Ranch, Maryvale, and/or the new Salt River-Talking Stick facility.

If a Junior AFL had been implemented this year, more experienced Cubs position player prospects like Hak-Ju Lee, Evan Crawford, Justin Bour, and/or Logan Watkins, and more advanced, more experienced, and/or more polished pitching prospects like Jeff Lorick, Robinson Lopez, Aaron Kurcz, Kevin Rhoderick, and/or Casey Harman could be playing with and against players who are more like themselves, rather than with and against the more inexperienced, raw, and/or remedial prospects that the traditional Instructional League is designed to help.

I actually have some free time each week when I'm not working my full-time job or covering the Cubs minor leaguers out here, so I would be willing to be Junior AFL Commissioner, as long as I am provided with an expense account, a company car, and a fitted cap.

They keep showing Lincecum on TBS, I was explaining to my wife that he's a young phenom. Mrs. Julius says, "More like feMALE ... cut the hair dude."

what is it about postseason dusty...good D SS's making errors they shouldn't...and fan/popup controversies?

just wow.

also, lol brooks conrad.

lol

The Reds are reminding me more of the Piniella postseason Cubs than the Dusty Cubs.

Sosa's corked bat up for auction.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

does he really need a few grand that badly? =p

Reds swept, couldn't happen to a better team.

I was pulling for them. Oh well.

Rothschild to decide today as to picking up his 2011 option
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The Sixth Sense, I see dead towel drills.
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

So Jim Hendry gives one way player option to COACHES??????

How Koyie Hill doesn't have a 3/44 in his back pocket is beyond me?

results speak for themselves.

once quade took over the team the SP and pen shaped the hell up.

quade should be pitching coach. no-brainer.

ted turner should be the cubs next manager, imo.

KFP!!!!!!

mlb.com says Pat Listach no longer on the Cubs managerial search list-ache or moustache
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http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101...

There's only room for one mustache in the Cubs organization and it belongs to Carrie Muskat.

BTW, postseason baseball is also in full swing here in Korea. I'm pulling for the Doosan Bears (due to proximity, mascot and...the ace that is Les Walrond!) He picked up the win in the first round of the playoffs. Now they're in the second round where Les started again, but the bullpen later blew his lead. He then came in for relief on the very next day and pitched a scoreless (inning? - I forget). Tim Redding started for the opposing team (Samsung Lions) but got the no decision. Samsung won, tying the series at 2-2 for a 5 game series. The winner goes on to the finals to face the team with the best regular season record. If anyone has the means, the games have been exciting with some great defense and lots of flippy floppy scoring.

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  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 19 min 34 sec ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 44 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 45 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 11 hours 19 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 11 hours 49 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 12 hours 11 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 12 hours 44 min ago view
  • UH OH! RALLY TIME!

    crunch 12 hours 53 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 13 hours 4 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 13 hours 13 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best.

    fixed that for ya.

    crunch 13 hours 20 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best. Hind sight is easy but Peralta had nothing.

    Eric S 13 hours 28 min ago view
  • make that just peralta...

    crunch 13 hours 28 min ago view
  • a.soriano new OF fielding coach?

    crunch 14 hours 32 min ago view
  • Why is Almora jumping up on catches?

    jacos 14 hours 34 min ago view