Your 2015 VSL Cubs!
The Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) begins play tomorrow (Monday 5/18), and the Cubs are one of only four MLB organizations fielding a team in the VSL this year.
As recently as 2005 there were ten teams in the VSL, but over time the number has fallen dramatically. The political climate in the country (including assassinations and kidnappings) has made Venezuela a dangerous place, and while most MLB organizations have full-time or part-time scouts working there, only four MLB organizations now field a team in the VSL.
When the Cubs moved their second affiliate in the Dominican Summer League (DSL Cubs #2) to the VSL in 2013, they were bucking a trend where MLB organizations were.moving their VSL affiliate to the DSL as a second DSL team. (The Cubs had just built their new state-of-the-art academy complex in the Dominican Republic, but they also wanted to increase their presence in Venezuela). So the VSL became a five-team league in 2013 when the Cubs placed a team there, resulting in a schedule where each of the five teams would play each of the other four VSL teams once and then get a bye on the 5th day.
However, the 2015 VSL schedule had to be re-worked at the last minute after the Mariners suddenly and unexpectedly pulled out of the VSL, moving their VSL affiliate (VSL Mariners) to the DSL earlier this year (that affiliate will play in the DSL as DSL Mariners #2). So with only four teams now in the VSL (VSL Cubs, VSL Phillies, VSL Rays, and VSL Tigers), the schedule has been altered to where the four clubs will play six days in a row and then get Sundays off (like the Arizona Fall League).
The youngest player on the VSL Cubs roster is SS Rafael Narea,(he just turned 17 last month). The slick-fielding Narea was at Extended Spring Training for about a month before returning to Venezuela last week, and while he went hitless in eight Cactus League EXST Plate Appearances, he was impressive in the field, especially for a player that young.
21-year old catcher Roberto Vahlis (known as "Fuji" by his teammates) is also on the VSL Cubs roster. He was at Riverview Park for Minor League Camp and then for the first half of Extended Spring Training, before returning to Venezuela with Narea last week. Vahlis spent the previous three seasons playing in Latin American summer leagues, with the DSL Blue Jays in 2012, and then with the VSL Cubs in 2013-14. (He is from Venezula). So this will be the last season for Vahlis as an active player in the VSL or DSL, because players are not allowed to spend more than four seasons in Latin American summer leagues. (Same goes for LHP Carlos Rodriguez and RHP Harrinson Bermudez).
Vahlis had three hits (all three singles) in five Cactus League EXST AB (all as a pinch-hitter or DH) before returning to Venezuela. He was originally signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a 17-year old international free-agent in July 2011, and he has hit a combined 213/324/313 in 107 career minor league games (2012-14).
Besides Narea and Vahlis, LHSPs Carlos Rodriguez and Yapson Gomez have spent time in the U. S., Rodriguez at Cubs Extended Spring Training and then with the AZL Cubs in 2013, and Gomez at Cubs AZ Instructs post-2014. (Neither was invited to Minor League Camp or Extended Spring Training this season). .
Six members of the 2014 VSL Cubs are presently at Cubs Extended Spring Training in Mesa, including RHP Enrique de los Rios, 2014 VSL HR champion 3B-1B Wladimir Galindo, IF-OF Danny Gutierrez, SS Andruw Monasterio, C Jhonny Pereda, and 1B-3B Miguel Rico (the Cubs are converting Rico to catcher).
Althouigh all three pitched for the VSL Cubs last season, Venezuelan LHP Alex Pacheco, Panamanian RHP Moises Ramirez, and Colombian RHP Mauro Vides have been assigned to the DSL Cubs (at least temporariliy). . .
Almost half of the players on the VSL Cubs Opening Day roster will be making their pro debut in 2015 (these players are underlined).
Because they exceeded their pre-assigned 2013-14 International Signmg Bonus Pool limit by more than 15% (when they signed OF Eloy Jimenez, SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP Jeferson Mejia, RHP Erling Moreno, and C Yohan Matos), the Cubs were restricted to signing no player to a bonus in excess of $250,000 in the 2014-15 International Signing Period (ISP), Four of the twelve players receiving six-figure signing bonuses from the Cubs during the 2014-15 ISP have been assigned to the VSL Cubs, including LHP Emilio Ferrebus ($250K signing bonus), LHP Riger Fernandez ($200K signing bonus), SS Francisco Garay ($200K signing bonus), and SS Rafael Narea ($150K signing bonus).
VSL CUBS: 30
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Andres Bonalde
* Riger Fernandez
* Yapson Gomez
* Eugenio Palma
* Carlos Rodriguez
* Luis Ayala
Franklin Blanco (Hitting Coach)
Eduardo Villacis (Pitching Coach)
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH
crunch 7 hours 15 min ago (view)
don't worry, i'm sure even though he was spared from cuts there's some hardship he's being tortured with that he has to unfairly overcome. #coreystrong #onthecross #yolo #swag #kony2012
crunch 7 hours 17 min ago (view)
there's no way a system like that or something similar to that would work.
"oh hi." - green bay packers
*shoves out of way*
like i said, there's no way that would work.
Hagsag 10 hours 13 min ago (view)
Corey Black still has a job.
Charlie 10 hours 20 min ago (view)
I am ready for MLB owners to give it a f***ing rest. I don't have any outrage to spare on them.
If they can't afford this crisis, maybe they can surrender franchise rights to the players, grounds crew, concession employees, etc., and MLB teams can be employee owned.
Dolorous Jon Lester 14 hours 34 min ago (view)
Couldn't have said it better myself, unfortunately.
JustSayin' 23 hours 2 min ago (view)
These players weren't cut/released; laid off is more like it. Fifty-two minor leaguers let go before any real games played, in two waves. The draft will be five rounds this year, not forty. This is industrial downsizing, anticipating no traditional season this year and capitulation to MLB demands for a much smaller minor league system in 2021. Next year or 2022 could also see a labor stoppage in the big leagues, over what promises to be a very tough CBA negotiation. The game will not be what it used to be after this.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
i don't blame the ownership/font office for doing what they did with bryant. it was just kinda bad timing that bryant was the client that boras was finally "i'm sick of this" over. the cubs were warned that boras was going to make a stand and it dragged on so long there has to be some kind of toll on the boras/cubs relationship.
bigsky33 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Hi Phil, yes, hoping for an extended AZ Fall League. Do you think there will be more cuts? De La Cruz was the only big sureprise to me. I thought he had some upside.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
It'll be more over when Kris leaves. Or whenever the same thing happens to another of his clients.
He isn't wrong though...
Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Presuming there is no traditional minor league season in 2020, expect an expanded Arizona Fall League (with potentially a new "Florida Fall League" as well) for the best prospects and expanded post-season instructs for other minor leaguers (all TBA).
Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
My understanding is that the other two Cubs minor leaguers who are to be released are the two post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agents who signed 2020 minor league contracts, Brandon Morrow and Jason Kipnis. The Cubs will then supposedly re-sign them to new minor league contracts without the $100K retention bonus and 6/1 opt-out.
Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
CRUNCH: Agreed. Not counting the "4-A" guys, Oscar de la Cruz is the one legit MLB prospect on the list.
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
aww...de la cruz had some decent looking spring outings (though late inning spring work isn't exactly challenging). the years of injuries insanely slowed his progression. totally wouldn't mind seeing him return in 2021 if the team would still be on his radar after getting cut at a time like this.
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
that whole "kris bryant thing" is over...but it's never going to be over as long as this ownership group and boras is around.
boras could have focused this on 29 other teams, especially the more vocal ones because the cubs have been mostly silent. the cubs aren't the only team out there paying off "creatively financed" loans, either.
he chose the cubs.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Not looking forward to seeing that list. Hate to see it when a guy you've invested any sort of energy in is given up on.
Cubster 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
Chi Tribune today. Boras picks, and focused on the Ricketts.
Headline writer, fun job: Agent won’t let Cubs get away Scott-free Matt York/AP and Paul Sullivan.
Boras told his players “the game can not be played without you” and asked them to share the concept with teammates and opposing players when “MLB requests further concessions or deferral of salaries” during negotiations.