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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  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 27 min 56 sec ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 40 min 5 sec ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 48 min 36 sec ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 59 min 58 sec ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 1 hour 4 min ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 1 hour 46 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 36 sec ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 5 hours 18 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 5 hours 23 min ago view
  • "Pitching prospects not looking so hot"

    That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 26 min ago view
  • Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 46 min ago view
  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 16 hours 27 min ago view
  • How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.

    billybucks 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.

    2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.

    Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.

    billybucks 17 hours 19 min ago view