2020 Cubs Winter Instructs

2020 Cubs Winter Instructs is well underway on the backfields at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa.

Pitchers & catchers reported a week ago, and today was the first "full squad" work-out. 

Rather than inviting 2019 draft picks and recently-signed IFA, the Cubs instead opted to invite mostly older players (including some with significant minor league experience) to instructs this year. (13 of the invitees are eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2020).

Several players & coaches from the Lotte Giants (KBO) are attending Instructs as guests of the Cubs, but it's possible that one or more of the Korean players could end up being acquired by the Cubs at some point. (Ex-Cubs minor league OF, coach, and scout Min-Kyu Sung was hired as GM of the Giants last September). 

CUBS 2020 WINTER INSTRUCTS ROSTER: 67  

The roster will be updated if there are changes. 

(Last updated 2-3-2020)

* throws or bats left 
# bats both 

(primary defensive position played at Instructs in parenthesis)

PITCHERS: (30)
Cory Abbott 
Javier Assad 
Max Bain 
Jesus Camargo 
Derek Casey 
* Adam Choplick 
Danis Correa
Yovanny Cruz 
Oscar de la Cruz 
Scott Effross 
Kohl Franklin 
Ben Hecht 
* Bryan Hudson 
Brendan King 
* Ryan Lawlor 
* Brendon Little 
* Brailyn Marquez 
Erling Moreno 
Eduarniel Nunez 
* Eugenio Palma 
* Jack Patterson 
Yunior Perez 
Peyton Remy 
Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez 
Cam Sanders
Jake Stinnett 
Jerrick Suiter (ex-1B) 
* Matt Tenuta 
Riley Thompson 

CATCHERS: (8)
Cam Balego (also 1B-2B-3B)
Eric Gonzalez 
Caleb Knight 
Marcus Mastrobuoni 
Orian Nunez (also 1B-2B-3B)
Raymond Pena 
* Jonathan Soto 
* Bryce Windham (also 1B-2B-3B)

INFIELDERS: (16)
* Aramis Ademan (SS) 
Sung-Keun Bae (SS - Lotte Giants - KBO) 
Wladimir Galindo (3B-1B)
# Reivaj Garcia (2B)
# Josue Huma (SS-2B)
Levi Jordan (2B-3B)
Dong-Kyu Kim (2B - Lotte Giants - KBO) 
* Ju-Hyun Kim (1B - Lotte Giants - KBO)  
David Masters (SS-2B)
# Fidel Mejia (3B-1B)
Christopher Morel (3B-SS) 
* Luke Reynolds (1B-3B)
* Alfonso Rivas (1B)
Jake Slaughter (1B-2B-3B)
Luis Vazquez (SS) 
Delvin Zinn (2B-3B) 

OUTFIELDERS: (13) 
* Edmond Americaan 
* D. J. Artis 
Brennen Davis 
* Jae-Yoo Kim (Lotte Giants - KBO)  
Eddy Julio Martinez 
Kevonte Mitchell 
Carlos Morfa 
Carlos Pacheco 
* Ezequiel Pagan 
* Jonathan Sierra  
Nelson Velazquez 
* Vance Vizcaino
* D. J. Wilson  

FIELD COORDINATOR
Jeremy Farrell 

COORDINATORS & COACHES
James Ogden (Pitching Performance Coordinator) 
Casey Jacobson (Pitching Development Coordinator)
Josh Zeid (Rehab Pitching Coordinator)
Tony Cougoule (Pitching Coach)
Armando Gabino (Pitching Coach) 
Charlie Haeger (Pitching Coach) 
Mike Mason (Pitching Coach)
Doug Willey (Pitching Coach)
Chris Valaika (Hitting Coordinator)
Mark Johnson (Catching Coordinator)
Doug Dascezo (Outfield & Baserunning Coordinator) 
Jonathan Mota (Infield Coordinator) 
Mike Roberts (Baserunning Instructor) 
Chad Allen (Hitting Coach)
Rachel Folden (Hitting Coach)
Kyu-Hyun Moon (Lotte Giants - KBO) 
Hank Park (Lotte Giants - KBO)
Eric Patterson (Hitting & Infield Defense Coach)
Steven Pollakov (Hitting Coach) 
Will Remillard (Catching Coach)
Will Skett (Hitting & Outfield Defense Coach)
Desi Wilson (Hitting & 1B Defense Coach) 

TRAINERS

Mike McNulty (Coordinator) 
Matt Hussey 
German Suncin 
Ike Ojata 

STRENGTH &  CONDITIONING COACHES
Doug Jarrow (Coordinator)
Ryan Clausen
Keegan Knoll  
Dallas Lopez 
Austin Smith 
Shane Wallen 

Comments

day 1 of instructs...so far oscar de la cruz hasn't been suspended or gotten himself injured.  good start.  keep it up.

also, i wonder if he's due for the pen or if he gets a chance to be a starter still...either way i hope he's still got MLB projectable stuff.  his very short winter league stint wasn't exactly promising (3 pen appearances).

Wish I could be in Mesa in February; I'm either too old or too young!  Anyway, I have a very reliable source on the ground who tells me there have been big changes for the better in pitching development since Breslow became the head man.  Individual plans, better use of the abundant technology and more meaningful drills and bullpens seem to be the gist of it.  And Sagara is apparently gone.  I know he had some fans on this blog but his reputation among the players was decidedly mixed.

i wish there was still spring training in tucson.  wife isn't a fan of the very busy phoenix spring training vs the laid back tucson spring training (older parks, negative...way less people around, positive).  we tended to go on years with big wildflower blooms (easily predicted based on winter rain amount and frequency) because we're both into that while i'm the only one into baseball.  well, we both like the desert, too...especially arizona.

neat rizzo photo from the upcoming 2020 Topps baseball (short print variation)

https://i.ibb.co/TKxgMJt/2020-Topps-Series-1-Baseb...

wow, lots of crazy f'n names being thrown around in the dodgers/rsox + other team(s) trade...established stars and legit prospects

mookie betts and david price to the dodgers (from rsox)...brusdar graterol (prospect) to dodgers (from twins)

kenta maeda to twins (from dodgers)

alex verdugo to the rsox (from dodgers)

joc pederson to angels (from dodgers) + luis rengifo from angels (to dodgers) in a separate trade immediately following...

Dumping Betts seems like such a cheap and stupid move..  He's a exceptional talent, and they didn't get anything comparable in return.  He's one got one year before free-agency, but they should be extending him rather than trading him. 

For many teams, the CBT has turned into a salary cap.  If competive balance is the goal, some teams should pay it, and some teams should be subsidized.  But the escalating penalties mean that some pretty rich teams won't go over the tax threshold in successive years.  This needs to be fixed in the next CBA.

Seeing the front office of a major market team drop probably their best player of the generation because of salary cap issues is not a good fan experience. Absolutely agree with you about the CBA.

A way to help motivate clubs to keep (and not trade) star players nearing free-agency and at the same time not punish free-agents who receive a "Qualifying Offer" would be to award two compensation draft picks (one after the 1st round and one after the 2nd round) to a club who loses a player to another club after the player has received a Qualifying Offer, while the club that signs the Qualified Player woud not lose a draft pick. (Even now the club that loses a free-agent who received a QO gets a compensation draft pick that is totally dosconnected to the draft pick forfeited by the club that signs the Qualified Player). 

So for example, in the case of Kris Bryant, the Cubs would get not one but two compensation draft picks (one after the 1st round and one after the 2nd round) if Bryant declines the Cubs QO post-2021 and signs with another club, but the club that signs Bryant won't lose a draft pick, so Bryant won't be punished and would be able to compete on an even playing field in the free-agent market after declining a QO.    

Also, the tax paid by clubs that exeed the CBT threshold should be a straight 20% regardless of how much the club's payroll is over the threshold and/or how many years in a row the club has exceeded the threshold. And going over the CBT threshold should not result in a club having a draft slot moved down ten spots or reducing a club's International Signing Bonus Pool.  

And an international draft should be established, but only two rounds (60 players). All other players would be IFA free to sign with any club. 

And the First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) should be reduced to 20 rounds. 

Remember, reducing the number of rounds in a draft doesn't mean that a player who isn't drafted can't sign or can't play. Rather, a player who otherwise might get selected in the 33rd round and get maybe a take-it-or-leave-it $1,000 bonus offer and have no other option but to sign with that club or not play affiliated ball would instead have the freedom (and leverage) to sign with any club for whatever the player's true market value is. It also would give an advantage to clubs that do the best scouting. 

The purpose of a player draft is to help promote or maintain competitive balance between clubs. A draft is not for the player's benefit, so the fewer number of rounds the better it is for a player who is eligible for selection in the draft. 

On the other hand, this trade might be falling apart? Reports that the Red Sox are now seeking more prospects from the Twins due to Graterol's medicals.

it's gotten really messy.

the angels/dodgers deal is supposedly dead, but the k.maeda deal to the twins is now a separate trade that's now a done deal with the twins throwing in an extra piece of talent.

the rsox/dodgers deal for m.betts is still going to happen, but with some new names involved.

Dodgers acquired RHP Brusdar Graterol, OF Luke Raley and a Competitive Balance B Pick in the 2020 draft from the Twins for RHP Kenta Maeda, C Jair Camargo and cash considerations

Dodgers acquired OF Mookie Betts and LHP David Price from the Dodgers for OF Alex Verdugo, C Connor Wong and INF Jeter Downs.

Levi Jordan and Jake Slaughter are getting extensive work as outfielders at Winter Instructs. 

Has Alfonso Rivas gotten OF time at instructs? It seems like the Cubs would want to increase his versatility as much as possible. 

BRADSBEARD: Alfonso Rivas has only been working at 1st base (so far). Also, he has well below-average sprint-speed in baserunning drills so I'm not sure how much ground he would be able to cover in the outfield. He does however move OK around 1st base (he has good first-step quickness) and he does a really nice job throwing the ball accurately around the infield from 1st base during infield drills (like starting a 3-6-3 DP or throwing home to nail a runner trying to score), a lot like Anthony Rizzo.  

Too bad he's a lefty thrower or he might work well at 3B. 

Most impressive hitters at Cubs Winter Intructs so far are Brennen Davis and Christopher Morel (hard contact combined with HR power), Alfonso Rivas, Bryce Windham, and Edmond Americaan (hard contact line-drives sprayed foul line to foul line), and Kevonte Mitchell and Wladimir Galindo (high-angle lift HR power). 

I am interested to see if the hitting lab has as much impact on certain players as the pitching lab did (or appears to have done) for a few pitchers.  MItchell and Galindo re probably the top two that I hope can be put on a more consistent track hitting --  both have great power and, at times, have appeared to be just on the cusp of putting it together before hitting a slump or, more often, getting hurt.

The Cubs have purchased the contract of 26-year old RHRP Jonathan de Marte from Quebec (Frontier League) and he has been assigned to AZL Cubs Blue.

He is the closer for Team Israel and has no previous experience in affiliated ball.

He was a NDFA out of the U. of Richmond in 2017 and has been playing independent ball for the past three seasons in the Atlantic League and Can-Am League as well as winter ball in Australia this past winter. 

2019 DSL Cubs SS Rafael Morel (Christopher's younger brother) and OF Yohendrick Pinango will be at Minor League Camp. They were the Cubs top two prospects in the DSL last season. 

Has minor league camp not opened yet, or are they just getting in later than the others?

BRADSBEARD: Cubs pitchers & catchers report to Minor League Camp tomorrow (Friday), full squad next week.  

BRADSBEARD: In case you're wondering how and why so many Cubs minor leaguers are on the backfields prior to the official start of Minor League Camp tomorrow (Friday), about 30 minor league players (mostly AA and AAA level) voluntarily reported early with the chance to possibly play in MLB Cactus League games (and some of them have), and about 50 other (younger) players (mostly 2019 draft picks) have been at a ten-day combined instructional mini-camp / Spring Training orientation since 2/24. 

Thanks for clarifying that. I wondered how guys like Verdugo and Weber were getting into games If minor league camp hadn't opened up yet. 

Recent comments

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  • Hagsag 3 hours 13 min ago (view)

    Thom? NFW!

     

  • crunch 13 hours 27 min ago (view)

    it probably had nothing to do with len leaving, but Marquee can get rid of that "we're all wearing suits and we're classy as hell" look.

    i loved len and bob...len and jd i was only warming up to in the past couple years.  either way, gonna miss len.

     

  • crunch 13 hours 32 min ago (view)

    *laura ricketts has entered the chat*

     

  • crunch 13 hours 32 min ago (view)

    the claim is he "really wants to do radio" and "totally nothing wrong with Marquee"...etc etc

    but yeah...the team is having a hell of an offseason having theo walk away with a year left on his deal, semi-embarrassingly trying to find a taker for bryant, deciding to not keep schwarber, and now the long-time cubs pbp TV guy leaves for a radio gig across town.

    all of this and the cubs are yet to be linked to any FA discussions...or names for a GM hunt...or a pool of teams actually interested in bryant...or anything resembling a 2021 plan so far...

     

  • Eric S 13 hours 34 min ago (view)

    Thom Brennaman - a longtime Cub fan favorite - would fit Marquee to a T ūü§£

     

  • Charlie 13 hours 38 min ago (view)

    My appreciation of Len has waned since 2016. But he and JD have been my favorite Cubs broadcast crew in the ~25 years I've paid close attention.

    I wasn't thrilled about the few changes that came along with Marquee this year.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 23 hours 12 min ago (view)

    I believe this is the correct take. It's surprising that Len is leaving. He's good, but he had gotten a little too rationalizey over the past few years for me.

    However, it seemed he was heavily invested in the Cubs. His departure feels like there is some Ricketts-ish bullshit going on behind the scenes at Marquee that Len wants no part of. Anyway, I wish him well with the other Chicago team

     

  • crunch 23 hours 48 min ago (view)

    wtf...

    is everything the ricketts touch just falling to shit in 2021?  ....well, except their heavy investments in taking over the state of Nebraska politically with one of the sons and heavy investment in supportive state legislators...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    This makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks Phil!

    (And that HR off Hader was unforgettable)

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Shocker!

     

  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs for the White Sox radio booth.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&so...

     

  • Charlie 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I would be happy to see the Cubs no longer spend DH time on Victor Caratini. Provided there's a Kyle Schwarber or better alternative, of course.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?). 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point

     

  • waveland 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS.