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

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

Leonardo Gonzalez
Eufran Vargas

# Roney Alcala
# Humberto Garcia
Danny Gutierrez
Miguel Rico

* Delbis Arcila 
Arnaldo Calero
# Martin Hodwalker
* Ricardo Marcano

Osmin Melendez

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. 


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 - 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'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.


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"

What's not surprising is Ozzie is unemployed too

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 j.werth...woo.

Recent comments

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  • That's great, Kris -- prove it with some hits!

  • ill Lou Malnati.

  • Hah which reminds me this is a good article about Ross:

  • Gordo tweeted:

    "I'm pretty comfortable moving all over. I like it that way, too. It keeps me on my toes and ready each and every game.”--Bryant last week.

    So it could be he's just saying the right things, but I believe him.

  • Which means if you shut this place down, and the Cubs go back to their old ways, we will all have to hunt you down, kidnap you, and strap you to a chair to listen to Tim McCarver and Joe Buck repeatedly, with dollops of Hawk Harrelson thrown in for good measure.

  • You got a problem with David Ross?

  • La Stella (3B) batting fifth. Could be the La Stella game.

  • [Drafts plans for CTSteve idol.]

  • Pitcher batting 9th. Bryant in left, Schwarber in right.

  • i'm not ready for it to end.

    i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."

    i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.

  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.