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?

===============================================

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
---
The Sixth Sense, I see dead towel drills.
---
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
---
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.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Yes!!!

    Thanks crunch!!

    It's mesmerizing

    jacos 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • 5 HR in his last 5 games (3, 1 run...1, 2 run)

    sure, 3 HR were in colorado, but 2 were in night games in SD. that evens out somehow.

    crunch 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • Good work!

    John Beasley 6 hours 5 min ago view
  • crunch 12 hours 42 min ago view
  • My guy Addy

    jacos 12 hours 43 min ago view
  • oh, another a.russell HR...whatever.

    crunch 12 hours 57 min ago view
  • Dylan Cease throwing gas tonight for the Emeralds. In first three innings, has hit 100 mph six times, averaging 98 mph

    Eric S 13 hours 16 min ago view
  • Can I get a gif of Joe West's jowls waving as he chews gum?

    /Asking for a friend

    jacos 13 hours 40 min ago view
  • my gawd...that castillo-to-bryant pickoff was a thing of beauty. the knock on him in the minors being slow out of the crouch is looking less like a thing.

    crunch 13 hours 52 min ago view
  • bless your heart. *pinches cheeks*

    crunch 18 hours 48 min ago view
  • real shame I missed this week's episode of The Crunch Reporter.

    It's highly unusual.

    It does matter a little.

    It matters much less than you think.

     

     

    Rob G. 18 hours 51 min ago view
  • four winds field is awesome. it's crazy how minor league parks have "grown up" since the 80s/90s and that park was one of the late-80s models that showed a low-capacity ballpark could look like you're at something other than a highschool baseball game.

    crunch 19 hours 56 min ago view
  • On another topic....I returned to South Bend last night for the 2nd time this season (still haven't tried either the deep-fried mac & cheese sandwich nor "The Porknado", as the drive home is over an hour and that could get ugly), and was pleasantly surprised to find D. Underwood pitching in a rehab start. He looked good -- although, to be fair, these are low-A hitters -- fastball consistently at 94-95 (if the SB scoreboard is to be believed -- several pitches were clocked in the 30s...) and with good location.

    billybucks 21 hours 4 min ago view
  • he gains nothing, no advantage, no saving of resources, nothing...there is not a cost/benefit tradeoff...him letting the running game go on around him for others to control isn't gaining him an advantage elsewhere. it's putting him at a disadvantage even if it's not cashed in with a run.

    crunch 23 hours 45 min ago view
  • And out of respect for the rest of TCR, I'm done on this. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the other camp, but time to let it go. (Until the next Lester start. I kid.)

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 23 hours 48 min ago view
  • He is putting himself at a disadvanage. But how much of one relative to the rest of his game? He's not Justin Germano -- he's inarguably one of the best SPs in baseball, issue or not. It would be more of thing to discuss ad nauseum if it constantly caused him to give up runs and lose games. But it doesn't.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 23 hours 58 min ago view