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):
2019 CUBS AZL:
Carlos Chantres (Rehab Pitching Coordinator)
Tyler Pearson (Rehab Coach)
Jonathan Fierro (Rehab Athletic Trainer)
AZL CUBS #1:
37 players (including two roster-exempt REHAB players)
Josh Burgmann (2019 draft pick)
Chris Clarke (2019 draft pick)
Brad Deppermann (2019 draft pick)
* Misael Garcia
* 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
* Luis Rodriguez
Cayne Ueckert (2019 draft pick)
* Grayson Byrd (2019 draft pick)
* Ervis Marchan
# Pedro Martinez
Jacob Olson (2019 draft pick)
* Bryce Windham (2019 draft pick)
* Albert Hinirio
Nelson Maldonado (2019 draft pick)
* Ezequiel Pagan
Zac Taylor (2019 draft pick)
Yasiel Balaguert (Assistant Coach)
Chase Spivey (Hitting Coach)
Anderson Taveras (Pitching Coach)
STRENGTH & CONDITIOING COACH:
AZL CUBS #2:
33 players (including two roster-exempt REHAB players)
Matteo Bocchi (2019 NDFA)
Tanner Dalton (2019 draft pick)
* Riger Fernandez
Jamie Galazin (ex-OF)
Jose Miguel Gonzalez
Chad Hockin (REHAB - roster exempt)
* D. J. Herz (2019 draft pick)
* Joel Machado
* Josh Sawyer
* Luis Silva
Orian Nunez (ex-INF)
* Rochest Cruz
# Josue Huma
* Abraham Rodriguez
# Jose Gutierrez (REHAB - roster-exempt)
* Darius Hill (2019 draft pick)
* Ricardo Verenzuela
Claudio Almonte (Hitting Coach)
Manny Olivera (Pitching Coach)
Chris Pieters (Assistant Coach)
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH:
crunch 1 hour 9 min ago (view)
lester seems to be leaving off where he was for the last couple months of the season in 2019.
no one should take anything from a february spring training start...NONETHELESS...this outing looked a lot like the ones he spent in the last couple months of the season with batters sitting around waiting to swing at lester fastballs and laying off everything else.
crunch 21 hours 43 min ago (view)
he paced for 20+HR last year and might have done it if he wasn't on unpaid leave for a while. i'd handicap him as a 15-20HR guy at worst rather than saying 20HR solid. it's probably a safer range.
his D isn't up there with the all-time greats of the game, but it's well above average for a young guy (turned 26 last month) who can also provide some pop. i think more than a few teams could slot him in as a middle IF starter without having much internal competition.
Rob Richardson 22 hours 14 min ago (view)
He hit 20+ HR only once and that was four years ago. He has a career OBP of 312, a career SLG of 392, and is his SS defense really that special anymore?
crunch 23 hours 32 min ago (view)
kinda crazy a.russell is still a free agent.
he's not the first and probably not the last domestic abuser to "serve his time" and find contracts to sign. there's a 20HR guy who plays great D at SS sitting out there while spring training is going down without him.
i wonder how much he's demanding (if that's an issue at all) vs teams that want no part of him...
First.Pitch.120 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Don't forget the awesome taste of RizzO's !!!
crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
ha. also, this reminds me that Grand Slam cereal existed in the late 90s. it was basically Kix with the marshmallows from Lucky Charms (in baseball items shape). it was actually really good.
Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
I just love cereal so much
bradsbeard 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
Yeah, both of those guys have some versatility. Could make a nice platoon if it ever came to that.
bradsbeard 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
Rooting for General Mills?
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
I like that they're trying Robel and Giambrone all over the diamond.
Charlie 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
I'll just be here salivating over the possibility of observing a sub-70MPH curve ball. :)
Rooting for Mills in general. Seems like fun as a 5th starter.
crunch 2 days 39 min ago (view)
dusty baker + adam greenberg piece...
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 44 min ago (view)
Man this Dodger broadcast is garbage.
Sonicwind75 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
Thanks Phil for these breakdowns. Really helpful.
crunch 2 days 16 hours ago (view)
i forgot about these types of update posts...thanks for the breakdowns. they're really useful.
strong agreement on the mess t.olson was throwing. he didn't even look happy with himself out there.