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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  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 2 hours 45 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 2 hours 54 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 3 hours 18 sec ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 3 hours 18 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 3 hours 54 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 4 hours 12 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 4 hours 39 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 5 hours 35 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 5 hours 52 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 5 hours 57 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 7 hours 7 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 7 hours 46 min ago view
  • Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)

    Transmission 7 hours 46 min ago view