VSL Cubs

VSL Cubs Limp to Finish Line

The Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) regular season concludes tomorrow, and it hasn't been a good year for the VSL Cubs, as they are tied with the VSL Phillies for last place in the four-team VSL and (obviously) will not be qualifying for the playoffs. (The VSL playoff is simply the first & second place teams playing each other in a best two-out-of-three "VSL Championship Series").

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:

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  • trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.

    eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.

    we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).

    crunch 3 hours 3 min ago view
  • As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.

    I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.

    billybucks 3 hours 23 min ago view
  • Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.

    billybucks 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!

    What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.

    Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...

    The E-Man 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.

    The E-Man 3 hours 35 min ago view
  • Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.

    I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.

    billybucks 4 hours 2 min ago view
  • Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?

    Maybe the three-headed dragon?

    John Beasley 4 hours 18 min ago view
  • Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth

    Eric S 4 hours 49 min ago view
  • Three amigos time?

    7-8-9th

    jacos 5 hours 4 min ago view
  • he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs

    crunch 9 hours 20 min ago view
  • Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.

    billybucks 10 hours 1 min ago view
  • ...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.

    I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.

    He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.

    billybucks 10 hours 5 min ago view
  • How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.

    videographer 12 hours 17 sec ago view
  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 13 hours 48 min ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 14 hours 22 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 14 hours 36 min ago view