Your 2013 VSL Cubs!

The Cubs have moved their second Dominican Summer League (DSL) team to Venezuela (Ciudad Alianza), and so 2013 will see the debut of the VSL Cubs (and no more DSL Cubs #2). 

While the Cubs have signed many Venezuelan players over the years (with Carlos Zambrano, Angel Guzman, Ronny Cedeno, and Geremi Gonzalez being the most-notable ones), they have operated a team in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) only once previous, and that was a "co-op" team shared with the Minnesota Twins in 2007.

The VSL has been in operation since 1997 and had at one time as many as a dozen teams. However, in recent years the number of MLB clubs with affiliates in the VSL has dwindled to just four (Mariners, Rays, Tigers, and Phillies in 2012), with the Cubs bucking the contraction trend by actually putting a new team in the league this season. 

It is perhaps a little bit strange that the Cubs have chosen to move one of their DSL teams to Venezuela just as their new state-of-the-art multi-million dollar Dominican Academy goes on-line, but they probably recognize the potential motherload of baseball talent that's just waiting to be discovered in Central & South America (including Brazil), and having a presence in the VSL could help the Cubs get a foothold there.     

While the Dominican Summer League (DSL) does not begin play until June 1st, VSL Opening Day is next Monday (May 13th), and the VSL regular season runs through August 5th. A best two-out-of-three playoff between the 1st and 2nd place teams follows the conclusion of the regular season.     

The VSL roster limit is 35, but at present the Cubs have assigned only 24 players to the VSL Cubs, with 22 of the players from Venezuela, one from Curacao, and one from the Dominican Republic. (Essentially all of the Venezuelan players who had been assigned to DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2 were moved to the VSL Cubs). The two Mexican players assigned to the Dominican Academy (RHP Javier Castro and LHP David Villegas) could be assigned to the VSL Cubs, too, as well as any Cuban or other non-Dominican international players (including no more than two players from Puerto Rico) the Cubs may sign in coming months.

There are also 11 Venezuelan players presently assigned to the Cubs Extended Spring Training team (RHP Daniel Adrian, OF Jeffrey Baez, C Erick Castillo, 2B Bryant Flete, RHP Erick Leal, 3B Mark Malave, LHP Angel Mejias, SS Carlos Penalver, C Wilfredo Petit, LHP Carlos Rodriguez, and LHP Luis Villegas) who could be moved down to the VSL Cubs, although most of the Venezuelans at EXST are likely ticketed for the AZL Cubs or Boise.   

2013 VSL CUBS:



* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS (14):
Adbert Adzolay
Harrinson Bermudez
Francisco Carrillo
Jesus Castillo
* Augusto Colina
* Alberto Diaz
Greyfur Eregua
* Manuel Fuentes
* Victor Garcia
Yomar Pacheco
* Chris Pieters
Brohiglyn Rivero
Victor Salazar
Ramon Valera

CATCHERS (2):
Leonardo Gonzalez
Eufran Vargas

INFIELDERS (4): 
# Roney Alcala
# Humberto Garcia
Danny Gutierrez
Miguel Rico

OUTFIELDERS (4):
* Delbis Arcila 
Arnaldo Calero
# Martin Hodwalker
* Ricardo Marcano

MANAGER:
Osmin Melendez

COACHES:
Franklin Blanco
Angel Guzman (?)
NOTE: Ex-Cub Angel Guzman has been working as a Pitching Coach at Extended Spring Training in Mesa, but unconfirmed info is that he will be the Pitching Coach with the VSL Cubs. 

Comments

AZ Phil -- any word on Josh Conway's injury last Saturday? What got hurt, how badly, etc.?

JOE P: I don't know the extent of Conway's injury.

From AZ's report from 5/4 (7 articles down from this one):
Meanwhile, Conway looked uncomfortable from his very first pitch, continually pawing at his landing spot and scraping mud out of his spikes after every single pitch. A member of the grounds crew was eventually located after the end of the 1st inning (today is Saturday, so there was just a "skeleton crew" on duty), and while he raked up the mud clods, nothing was done to dry up the mud itself or stamp-down the mound. On his second pitch in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Conway's spikes got caught in the mud and he tripped and threw a pitch awkwardly, about six feet over the head of the Brew Crew batter. A loud pop could be heard when he let go of the pitch, and his arm recoiled as if he had been shot. He was obviously in tremendous pain, and he ran up the 1st base line into foul territory before coming to a stop and going to one knee.

Only after Conway left the game did two other members of the Maryvale grounds crew arrive and completely manicure the mound to make it safe for the pitchers.

Conway was immediately driven back to Fitch Park in the Cubs utility van, and presumably he will be examined next week.

I was aware of the 5/4 report. I am wondering if he has been examined yet and if there is any information on his physical condition.

His Twitter account is pretty silent - https://twitter.com/JoshConway16 other than to say he'll be back. The terminator said that, too, and ended up in a pool of molten metal or some such. I hope Conway's fate is a lot better than that.

The Cubs have released catcher Micah Gibbs, who was their 2010 3rd round draft pick out of LSU. He was a decent defensive catcher, but was hitting just 163/317/286 at Daytona this season, and for his career (208 minor league games), Gibbs hit 217/329/293.  

Also, catcher Chadd Krist and infielder Wes Darvill have been moved up to Daytona from Kane County, and LHP Jeff Lorick (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K in two EXST games) has been reinstated from the DL and was moved up to Daytona from Extended Spring Training, and RHP Starlin Peralta has been sent to Extended Spring Training from Daytona. 

Peralta was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Phase of the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft, but was returned to the Cubs during Spring Training. He had put up an awful 12.86 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in 14.0 IP at Daytona so far in 2013.

i.stewart reappears in a AAA game as a pinch hitter...goes 0-1, of course.

he's having one hell of a rough rehab...it'd be hard to replicate it or do worse on the MLB level simply playing the odds.

"Yankees acquired INF Alberto Gonzalez from the Cubs for a player to be named later or cash considerations; assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre."

Rizzo vs. Pujols - Just for fun, for those who wanted Pujols so badly:
Rizzo: .269/.349/.554/.903 - 9 homers
Pujols: .238/.322/400/.722 - 5 homers

Prince Fielder, on the other hand, is putting together a nice season so far.

I hadn't realized Rizzo's average was creeping back up so fast. And his OBP is getting better, too.

A perfect example of the importance of sample size. People need to stop freaking out when someone struggles for a couple weeks.

Regarding the Bo Porter pitching change issue:


There was a new rule implemented last year that requires a pitcher who comes out to warm up at the start of an inning to face at least one batter UNLESS the opposing manager puts up a pinch-hitter. Only then can the pitcher be replaced. But this applies to pitchers who were already in the game and were the pitcher when the final out was made the previous inning. This is NOT the same rule as the one where a relief pitcher coming into a game must face at least one batter or record one out (a pick-off or SB CS would count) before he can be replaced by another pitcher (unless he is injured prior to facing at least one batter or recording an out).

feldin culbreth (ump) suspended 2 games for misapplication of rule.

day-yam.

Dolis down, Fukijima activated....

"After a month of waiting around and hoping a big-league club would sign him to any kind of deal, Carlos Zambrano has decided to sign a contract with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, reports Carrie Muskat of MLB.com."

http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2013/5/10/4318804/mlb-...

What's not surprising is Ozzie is unemployed too

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

he was doing pretty good in the WBC for a few innings...both performance and attitude...until he had a blow-up where he raged like hell, continued to fall apart and miss his spots after the raging, and when pulled raged some more in the dugout.

i think that was the "oh yeah...Zambrano...that guy" moment that took him off some observer's lists.

no b.harper...no j.werth...woo.

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 4 hours 1 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 4 hours 2 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 13 hours 44 min ago view
  • 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 16 hours 41 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 16 hours 54 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 17 hours 3 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 17 hours 8 min 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 17 hours 26 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 18 hours 3 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 18 hours 20 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 18 hours 22 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 18 hours 40 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 18 hours 47 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 19 hours 43 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 20 hours 1 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 20 hours 5 min ago view