Your 2019 AZL Cubs #1! (and your 2019 AZL Cubs #2, Too!!)

2019 AZL Opening Day is this coming Monday (6/17).

The AZL regular season runs through Monday 8/26, and then AZL playoffs start on the following day (Tuesday 8/27).

AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 are both in the AZL East, and they play a 56-game schedule. Because they are in the same division, the two Cubs squads will play each other four times during the course of the AZL regular season. 

Because there are 21 teams in the league, not every team plays every day. In the case of the Cubs, both AZL Cubs #1 - AND - AZL Cubs #2 always play the exact same four days in a row and then both get the same fifth day off. The only exceptions are this coming Tuesday (the two Cubs teams play on Monday but then both get Tuesday off before commencing their four days on / one day off sequence on Wednesday), and all AZL team get July 9th off (the day of the MLB All-Star game), so the two Cubs teams end up getting two days in a row off (7/8 and 7/9). Otherwise, AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 play four days in a row and then get a day off every fifth day for the next ten weeks.   

Unlike 2018 (the first season that the Cubs operated two AZL teams), the schedule has been set-up so that the two Cubs AZL teams will not play home games on the same day (unless they are playing each other), so all AZL Cubs home games (both AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2) will be played at Sloan Park (the Cubs' Spring Training stadium), and then Field #1 (which is the only Riverview backfield with lights certified for pro baseball and the field that was used for games last year when two AZL Cubs home games were scheduled on the same day) will be used for pre-game BP, infield practice, and baserunning drills, and "unofficial" intrasquad games and rehab or conditioning "sim" games only.  

A maximum of six players presently on minor league injured lists will be assigned to roster-exempt rehab assignments with the two Cubs AZL squads at any one time (three being the maximum number of minor league players on full-season affiliates injured lists who are permitted to be assigned to any one short-season affiliate at any one time). The rehab guys will move back & forth between the two Cubs AZL squads and will usually (when possible) play in home games (assigned to whichever one of the two Cubs AZL teams is home that day). NOTE: RHP Enrique de los Rios (on Myrtle Beach 7-day IL since Opening Day) was supposed to be assigned on a roster-exempt rehab assignment with one of the Cubs AZL squads, but he was assigned on a roster-exempt rehab assignment with Eugene yesterday instead. 

Because both Cubs AZL squads are based at the Cubs UAPC at Riverview Park, all players (not just rehabbers) can be moved back & forth between the AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 active rosters at a moments's notice, so the Opening Day roster assignments as they stand today are fluid and very much subject to change. However, the Cubs will try and keep the two rosters intact with the same players together on the same squad for the entire season as much as possible.  

2019 Cubs draft picks (and NDFA) will normally be assigned initially to one of the two Cubs AZL squads. This allows the player to both get Cubs Way orientation and play in his first pro games all in one place before possibly moving up to Eugene (or maybe even to South Bend) later this summer. 

At present is is not known which players presently on the two Cubs AZL rosters will begin the season on the injured list, but RHSP Willy Cabrera, RHSP Yovanny Cruz, RHSP Danis Correa, LHRP Riger Fernandez, LHSP Joel Machado, RHRP Jake Reindl, SS Miguel Pabon, and OF Ricardo Verenzuela have not been participating in "live" BP this week.

Also, most of the pitchers signed by the Cubs after being selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft earlier this month have been assigned to the Rehab/Conditioning Throwing Program at the Mesa UAPC that will keep them from making their pro debut and pitching in games for a while.        

Most of the position player signed after being drafted will be cleared to play in AZL games pretty much right away (or at least very soon).  

So here are the provisional AZL Cubs ##1 and AZL Cubs #2 Opening Day rosters as of 6/15 (subject to change on a daily basis):  


updated 6-15-2019

Carlos Chantres (Rehab Pitching Coordinator) 
Tyler Pearson (Rehab Coach) 
Jonathan Fierro (Rehab Athletic Trainer)


37 players (including two roster-exempt REHAB players) 

Josh Burgmann (2019 draft pick)
Chris Clarke (2019 draft pick)
Yovanny Cruz 
Brad Deppermann (2019 draft pick)
* Misael Garcia 
Elias Herrera
* Brandon Hughes (ex-OF)
Ryan Jensen (2019 draft pick)
Chris Kachmar (2019 draft pick)
* Bryan King (2019 draft pick)
* Conor Lillis-White (REHAB - roster-exempt) 
* Brendon Little (REHAB - roster-exempt)
Alex Moore (2019 draft pick)
* Pablo Ochoa
John Pomeroy 
Jake Reindl 
Jorge Remon 
Benjamin Rodriguez
* Luis Rodriguez 
Cayne Ueckert (2019 draft pick)

Richard Nunez 
Raymond Pena
Henderson Perez 

* Grayson Byrd (2019 draft pick)
* Ervis Marchan 
# Pedro Martinez
Jacob Olson (2019 draft pick)
Miguel Pabon 
Herson Perez 
Fabian Pertuz 
Luis Verdugo 
* Bryce Windham (2019 draft pick) 

* Albert Hinirio 
Nelson Maldonado (2019 draft pick)
Carlos Pacheco  
* Ezequiel Pagan
Zac Taylor (2019 draft pick)

Carmelo Martinez 

Yasiel Balaguert (Assistant Coach)
Chase Spivey (Hitting Coach)
Anderson Taveras (Pitching Coach) 

Ike Ogata 

Mike McGrew 


33 players (including two roster-exempt REHAB players)

: 21  
Matteo Bocchi (2019 NDFA) 
Willy Cabrera 
Danis Correa 
Tanner Dalton (2019 draft pick)
Manuel Espinoza 
* Riger Fernandez
Emilio Ferrebus
Jamie Galazin (ex-OF) 
Richard Gallardo 
Jose Miguel Gonzalez
Julio Guante 
Manuel Heredia 
Chad Hockin (REHAB - roster exempt)
* D. J. Herz (2019 draft pick)
Chi-Feng Lee  
* Joel Machado
Carlos Ocampo 
Luis Ramos 
* Josh Sawyer
* Luis Silva
Omar Ventura

Alexander Guerra
Orian Nunez (ex-INF) 

* Rochest Cruz
# Josue Huma 
Widimer Joaquin 
Oswaldo Pina 
* Abraham Rodriguez

# Jose Gutierrez (REHAB - roster-exempt)
* Darius Hill (2019 draft pick)
Kevin Moreno 
Carlos Morfa
* Ricardo Verenzuela

Ricardo Medina 

Claudio Almonte (Hitting Coach) 
Manny Olivera (Pitching Coach)
Chris Pieters (Assistant Coach) 

Matthew Hussey 

Andres Rondon


Several of the younger pitchers and position-players who were at Extended Spring Training but who were not in contention for Eugene Opening Day roster slots went home for about ten days between the end of the EXST Cactus League season (6/1) and the start of AZL mini-camp this past Tuesday (6/11). 

Phil, has Jim Benedict left the Cubs Organization? Thanks.

HAGSAG: As far as I know he's still with the Cubs. 

Not counting 2019 draft picks and rehabbers, the Cubs top prospect in the AZL this season is SS Luis Verdugo (he's one of the Cubs Top 10 position player prospects).  

Verdugo was supposed to go to Eugene with 2B Reivaj Garcia this past week, but was left behind at Mesa when SS Dixon Machado was reinstated from the Iowa IL last Tuesday and SS Luis Vazquez (who had been playing SS at Iowa) needed to go somewhere where he could play SS every day. (Vazquez was assigned to Eugene).

The Cubs are hoping to bring Verdugo and Garcia along in Trammell/Whitaker fashion (as they did with Marco Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya a few years ago, before M. Hernandez was traded to Boston and G. Amaya blew-out his knee). Both Verdugo and Garcia are from Mexico, they played together last season at AZL Cubs #2 and were paired-up at AZ Winter Instructs this past January and with the EXST Cubs "B" team over the last couple of months as well, and they could very well move up through the Cubs system in tandem. They were projected to be the Opening Day keystone combo at Eugene this season before Vazquez was moved-down to Eugene from Iowa, and they still could be eventually. 

The Cubs are down to five catchers at AZL mini-camp (draft picks Ethan Hearn, Wyatt Hendrie, and Jake Washer have not yet officially signed), so Mesa Rehab Coach (and ex-minor league catcher) Tyler Pearson has been taking on some extra duties, catching bullpen side-sessions and warming up pitchers in the pen. (He caught Craig Kimbrel the other day). 

So I would not be surprised if the Cubs sign a NDFA college senior catcher or acquire an experienced catcher from indy ball to help out. 

Because they never play more than four days in a row, AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 will only need four SP each. 

The pitchers at AZL mini-camp who are (right now) stretched-out to start are Brendon Little (rehab), Carlos Ocampo, Jose Miguel Gonzalez, Chi-Feng Lee, Misael Garcia, Richard Gallardo, and Luis Ramos, and Keegan Thompson may be ready for an AZL SP rehab assignment soon. 

Anything on what happened in the DSL facility?

I have an odd tweet that makes today's postponements today not weather related.

INF-OF Bryce Windham (32nd round pick - Old Dominion) worked out at catcher in "live" BP yesterday, so he could be the 6th Cubs AZL catcher (they really need three on both squads) if they don't add another catcher this week. 

Confirming Bryce Windham is the third catcher with AZL Cubs #2. He hasn't caught in any games yet, but he is the bullpen catcher (except when he was the DH on Friday). He will probably go full-bore into the catcher conversion program at Winter Instructs and/or at Minor League Camp and then at 2020 Extended Spring Training.  

Cubs 24th round draft pick 3B Grayson Byrd looks exactly like Justin Turner (at least above the neck). Long red hair and a full red beard. Now if he could only hit like Turner... 

LF Nelson Maldonado, 3B Grayson Byrd, CF Zac Taylor, INF Jacob Olson, and INF-OF-C Bryce Windham (the five college senior position-player draft picks who officially signed last Tuesday and who have been active in AZL mini-camp for almost a week) should be ready to play in AZL games right from the gitgo. 

The sixth college senior position player draft pick signed by the Cubs (LF Darius Hill, who signed officially on Thursday) might not be quite ready on AZL Opening Day.   

AZL Cubs #2 RHSP Willy Cabrera, RHSP Danis Correa, LHRP Riger Fernandez, and LHRP Josh Sawyer to the 60-day Injured List, so they are likely out for year (they won't be eligible to be reinstated until the final week of the AZL season). 

PHIL: Sad to hear about Danis Correa. Do you know what his injury is? Any word on Yovanny Cruz's health/availability? As always, thank you for answering our questions.

SS Miguel Pabon (AZL Cubs #1) to the 60-day Injured List, so he is out for the year. 

RHP Aneuris Rosario (2014 IFA - Dominican Republic) has been reinstated from the Disqualified List. Now 24, Rosario spent four seasons in the DSL (2014-17) and was the one-time closer for DSL Cubs #1. He hasn't pitched since 2017.  

A player can be placed on the Disqualified List if he violates the terms of his contract (for example, player signs a contract using a false name and/or DOB, or player signs a contract with another professional baseball team without permission of an MLB club while still under contract with that MLB organization, or player circumvents a drug test, or player refuses to undergo an examination by a physician as directed by the club, or player refuses to render services to the club).

LHP Josh Sawyer (Cubs 2018 16th round draft pick - U. of Texas) has retired. He spent his entire pro career at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa either in a Rehab Throwing Program or on the 60-day IL. Never pitched in a game (not even in Minor League Camp or at EXST). 

The Cubs have released LHRP Luis Silva. 

The AZL regular season concludes on Monday and the playoffs start on Tuesday and although AZL Cubs #1 has been eliminated, AZL Cubs #2 is right in the middle of the race to get one of the last two playoff slots. 

Because AZL Giants Orange won both halfs of the AZL East, the best overall record from amongst the other teams in the East gets the second East playoff slot. At present, AZL Cubs #2 has a one-game lead over AZL Athletics Gold for that slot, but the A's hold the tie-breaker (they won the season-series between the two teams 3-2), so Cubs #2 must finish at least a game ahead of the A's Gold squad to qualify for the playoffs. 

AZL Cubs #2 plays at AZL Padres #1 tonight (and Padres #1 are still in contention for the final slot in the AZL West) while Padres #2 (already qualified for the playoffs and a first-round bye) is at A's Gold.

And then tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon Cubs #2 plays Cubs #1 at Sloan Park in a game Cubs #2 really needs to win, so it will be kind of awkward for the Cubs organization because while the Cubs naturally want to see AZL Cubs #2 qualify for the playoffs, you can be sure that Carmelo Martinez and his AZL Cubs #1 squad aren't going to just lay down and lose on purpose to help their AZL Cubs #2 brothers get into the playoffs. Meanwhile Indians Red plays A's Gold at Fitch Park Sunday night.  

Things should get very thick on Monday morning when Cubs #2 hosts Giants Black (losing record and long out of playoff contention) at Sloan Park while A's Gold is at Giants Orange (by far the best team in the AZL, but they qualified for the AZL playoffs and the #1 seed long ago so they really don't need to win and so they almost certainly won't use any of theitr better pitchers).  

Again, AZL Cubs #2 must finish at least one game ahead of A's Gold in the AZL East (overall standings) to capture a playoff slot, and the Cubs are presently just one game ahead of the A's.  

The AZL playoffs start on Tuesday and they go really fast.

Six teams qualify and the teams with the two best overall records (Giants Orange and Padres #2) get a bye on the first day while the other four teams play a single-elimination game to advance to the semi-finals. Indians Blue will host Cubs #2 or A's Gold (whichever team advances out of the AZL East) while the Rangers play either Padres #1, Royals, or Dodgers Mota (the latter three are competing to win the AZL West 2nd half after the Rangers won the 1st half) in the other game (home team still TBD because all four teams are within a game of each other in the overall standings). 

So if the AZL Cubs #2 qualify for the playoffs, they will play at Indians Blue on Tuesday and if Cubs #2 wins that game they play at Giants Orange on Wednesday. (Padres #2 hosts Indians Blue if they win the quarterfinal game vs Cubs #2 or A's Gold on Tuesday or else whichever team advances from the west-side quarterfinal game on Tuesday if the Indians Blue loses their quarterfinal game).

Then the winners of the two Wednesday semi-final games advance to the AZL finals (best two-out-of-three on Thursday, Friday, and if necessary Saturday).  

So there is not much margin for error for the AZL Cubs #2 right now, They need to win their last three regular season games to secure a playoff spot (although they would qualify for the playoffs as long as they don't lose more games than the A's Gold lose over the next three days). 

If the Cubs #2 keep winning they will play at Indians Blue on Tuesday and at Giants Orange on Wednesday, and if they advance to the finals, Cubs #2 would play a road game on Thursday and a home game at Sloan Park on Friday, and then another road game on Saturday (if a third game is needed). 

At present the AZL Cubs #2 starting rotation is D. J. Herz and Chi-Feng Lee (one of the two starts tonight), then Carlos Ocampo will start Sunday or Monday (depending on whether Lee piggy-backs with Herz tonight or if they start separately tonight and tomorrow), with Jose Miguel Gonzalez available to start either Monday's game (but only if it's a "must win") or else the quarterfinal game at Indians Blue on Tuesday, and Manuel Espinoza the quarterfinal game on Tuesday at Indians Blue or the semi-final game at Giants Orange on Wednesday (with both Tuesday's and Wednesday's games single-elimination loser-go-home contests).

And if AZL Cubs #2 are somehow able to advance to the AZL finals, I think the Cubs would very much like to get D. J. Herz a taste of a "big-game" (either Thursday or Friday).   

BTW, Danny Zardon (signed by the Cubs out of Independent ball during Minor League Camp in March and converted from 3B to catcher at EXST) is now being converted to RHP in the AZL.    

Both AZL Cubs #2 and AZL Athletics Gold win (big) in their games Saturday night and Dodgers Mota clinches one of the two remaining playoff slots with a win while Royals and Padres #1 lose.

So it's AZL Cubs #1 vs AZL Cubs #2 at Sloan Park Sunday afternoon (with game-time temperatures 110+), with Benjamin Rodriguez scheduled to pitch for Cubs #1 and Carlos Ocampo scheduled to start for Cubs #2. (Richard Gallardo and Benjamin Rodriguez are the Cubs top two pitching prospects in the AZL, so Cubs #2 will have their hands full).    

arizona summer league from the distant east coast point of view is an interesting baseball sideshow for the most part, but that AZL 1 vs 2 game sounds awesome.  the players and coaches have to be stoked for that one.

AZL Cubs #2 cruise past AZL Cubs #1 8-3 Sunday afternoon at Sloan Park as SP Carlos Ocampo fires five innings of no run/no hit ball (the AZL Cubs #1 were no-hit through seven innings) and Fabian Pertuz and Brandon Vicens drilled two-run singles (Pertuz ripped a line-drive through the 5.5 hole with two outs in the 1st and Vicens drilled a line-drive into CF with two outs in the 4th) and Ethan Hearn sealed the deal with a two-out bases-loaded bases-clearing PH double into the RF corner to key a four-run 8th, but AZL Athletics Gold SP Nathan Patterson (the fan who was signed by OAK in July after throwing 96 MPH fastballs at a Coors Field "Test Your Velocity" pitching booth) and three relievers combined to shut-out AZL Indians Red 3-0 at Fitch Park Sunday night to keep both teams alive going into the final day of the AZL regular season. 

All AZL games start at 10:30 AM (MST) Monday morning, and so it will "just" be a matter of the AZL Cubs #2 beating AZL Giants Black to win the final AZL playoff slot, or if the AZL Cubs #2 lose they can still get into the playoffs if AZL Giants Orange (the team with the best record in the AZL in 2019 and the best regular season record ever recorded in the 32-year history of the AZL) beats AZL A's Gold at Indian School Park in Scottsdale.  

But of course it's always more fun to win the game that puts you into the playoffs rather than sit around after you lose and hope that the other team chasing you loses, too. 

Again, if AZL Cubs #2 and AZL Athletics Gold finish in a tie (which will happen if the Cubs lose and the A's win), the A's Gold squad gets the final AZL playoff berth because they beat the Cubs #2 squad 3-2 head-to-head in the regular season.  

RHP Jose Miguel Gonzalez (who hasn't allowed a run over his last nine innings of work) is scheduled to start for AZL Cubs #2.  

Things went badly for AZL Cubs #2 this morning, losing 2-1 to AZL Giants Black at Sloan Park while AZL Athletics Gold beat AZL Giants Orange in Scottsdale.

So the AZL A's Gold make the AZL playoffs as the 6th (final) seed and the AZL Cubs #2 season is over.  

Lots of traffic on the bases but too many men left on base (including six by big bat Luis Verdugo), a couple of inopportune TOOTBLANs (one runner back-picked off 2nd base after a single to CF and another thrown out at the plate after an L-8 to short CF), and a two-run line-drive HR into the LF bullpen by Giants LF George Bell II (son of ex-MLB and ex-Cubs OF George Bell) sunk the Cubs. 

The Cubs sat in the third base dugout after the game watching the last inning of the A's Gold - Giants Orange game on Game Day and hoping that a miracle would happen, but alas, no such luck. 

18-year old SS Luis Verdugo last ten games for AZL Cubs #2 (45 PA): 429/467/881 with four doubles, five HR, and 18 RBI, including three three-hit games and one four-hit game among the ten games.

As I mentioned at the start of the AZL season in June, Verdugo is the Cubs top prospect in the AZL (see my comment in this thread from June 15th).    

AZ Phil: On the rehab front, how do Keegan Thompson and Kendall Graveman look? I know Graveman is essentially out for all of 2019, but do you think he'll be ready (and good enough) to compete for the starting rotation next season?

ERICH081: Kendall Graveman's TJS rehab is proceeding full-speed ahead and he should be 100% for 2020. It's possible that he could contribute to the MLB club (if needed) later this season. I think he is a legit candidate for the Cubs starting rotation in 2020 (depending on whether there is an opening for him or not), otherwise he could be a multi-inning bullpen arm. 

Recent comments

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  • jdrnym 2 hours 18 min ago (view)

    AZPHIL, has there been official word as to whether the 26-man roster has been extended down to the minor league levels that previously had 25-man rosters? Can't really think of a reason why that shouldn't be the case...


  • Arizona Phil 7 hours 14 min ago (view)

    Another possibility for a "26th man" in 2020 would be a young pitcher selected in the Rule 5 Draft who has big league upside but who is clearly not yet "big league ready," or a pitcher who is out of minor league options who might not be quite MLB ready.


  • Cubster 9 hours 20 min ago (view)

    Just sign Rick Reuschel and lets move on


  • crunch 10 hours 2 min ago (view)

    "Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Scott Kazmir will throw for MLB teams this week.

    The 36-year-old Kazmir hasn't thrown in the majors since the 2016 season, but he recently told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he that he hit 90.9 mph with his fastball during a bullpen session."

    someone put another bottle of left-in-the-car warm water under the cubs hot stove and let's get this one done!  woo!



  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    bryce harper ruined that bat dragging thing for everyone after his ejection years ago at the junior college world series.

    also, hurrah for baseball making it's return.


  • JustSayin' 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    College ball started Saturday.  Umpire egos in D1 baseball are not that much smaller than in the pros, so of course there was a controversy.  In the late innings of a game in the weekend's biggest series (Michigan vs.


  • crunch 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    the news is mostly based on a Baseball America article from the 11th (behind a paywall) the gist of it is rather legit rumor-wise, though it's still too far in the future to call it a 100% done deal.

    btw, the cubs have been strongly linked to pursuing christian hernandez for quite a while.  the BA writer that wrote the article about the cubs links has been following c.hernandez since he was a 14yo talent and is quite familiar with him.  that signing probably is in the bag.


  • Wrigley Rat 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    I don't know much about this website, but they are speculating that the Cubs may sign two of the top International Free Agents available during this signing period: Does anyone know if this sounds legit?


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Minnie Minoso was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 47 and Julio Franco was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 49, so Mexican League teams clearly do not have a problem with signing older players. 

    And of course the ageless Satchel Paige was still working as a SP in AAA (with the Miami Marlins) into his early 50's (and prior to that he pitched in MLB as late as age 46).  


  • crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    b.colon has signed to a mexican league team.  woo old dudes.  he turns 47 in may...believed by some to be older.


  • Cubster 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Replacing someone like David DeJesus?


  • crunch 5 days 7 hours ago (view)

    mark grace returns to chicago as an analyst/on-air-talent for Marquee.

    he won't be part of the main game calling crew, but will be doing support content during games.


  • Eric S 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Increasing levels of smoke concerning a possible Arenado/KB trade

    Get Arenado to agree to push back his opt out a few years or so down the road and this could work out nicely for the Cubs


  • Arizona Phil 6 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Jason Kipnis (like Brandon Morrow) was a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signed a 2020 minor league contract, so he gets a $100K retention bonus and an automatic June 1st player opt-out if he is not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 40-man roster or MLB 60-day IL by 12 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day. 


  • Arizona Phil 6 days 2 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed post-2019 second-contract minor league FA catcher Jordan Procyshen to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.  


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 6 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Q could be subbed in for any of those too