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. 

Recent comments

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  • QuietMan 1 hour 39 min ago (view)

    Edwards optioned to Iowa per Jesse Rogers,


  • George Altman 1 hour 54 min ago (view)

    Yeah.....yeah. I think I'm good too. Put him and Strop in the Shawn Greene deal.


  • Mike Wellman 4 hours 2 min ago (view)

    I feel like I've already waited & seen enough of CEJ...


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Not as much as it makes his stomach tighten!

    i dont think we should trade him. We would get nothing of value back. But I don’t think he should be a bullpen piece on a playoff contender either. He should be in Iowa. Reassess where he’s at for September and next year. If they don’t like what they see, non-tender.


  • Charlie 4 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Cheap may not be the right word, but has put up reasonable value per dollar compared to other relievers prior to this ear.

    He accrued 2.9 bWAR 2017-2018. Strop put up 3.2 bWAR during the same period. Edwards is making $1.5M this year. Strop is making $6.25M. He'll get a bump again this offseason even if he doesn't rebound in the second half, of course. I just don't see a need to trade him unless the Cubs are being offered value in return.

    That said, it does make my stomach knot up a bit when I see they are bringing him into a close game.


  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Carl Edwards Jr will be out of minor league options next season (2020), and he will (once again) be arbitration-eligible post-2019 (he was "Super Two" arb eligible post-2018) and he will be a FA post-2022. 


  • crunch 18 hours 16 min ago (view)

    cubs lose, cards win, brews win.



  • Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 2 min ago (view)

    I think this is his last option year. And he’s not as cheap as you’d think, he’s a super two qualified player this year.


  • Charlie 20 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Edwards is frustrating at times. Some of that frustration comes from thinking he could be much better than he currently is. But prior to this year (in which he has pitched very few innings), he's overall been an OK relief pitcher in the majors. I'm happy to wait and see on him for quite a while. Still has an option and is cheap, right?


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 10 min ago (view)

    I feel pretty safe in saying that 1. They don’t want him and 2. If they did, things wouldn’t improve for CJ.

    Allowing inherited runners and 1-2 of your own in a close game is what I like to call the “Carl Jr Special.” It was formerly a Justin Grimm special, thankfully Carl stepped up to fill that void.


  • crunch 21 hours 18 min ago (view)

    there's always nick castellanos for a chance to rid of which point a couple month rental will probably turn edwards into their ace closer or something just as awesome.


  • Eric S 21 hours 19 min ago (view)

    The bitter side of me thinks it should have been a two for one trade for Maldonado 

    Anyways, has not been a clean series for the Cubs against the Padres - fortunate to have won the series and a 7-2 home stand is a pretty big dill. Or deal. Or something


  • crunch 21 hours 24 min ago (view)

    edwards gonna edwards...blah


  • bradsbeard 22 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Thanks for the clarification. Guess we’ll find out what he’s going to do sooner than later. 


  • crunch 23 hours 56 min ago (view)

    delay over, game on.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    And if Zobrist were to consent to an Optional Assignment to the minors for the purpose of getting into playing shape, it could very well be to AA Tennessee (close to his home in Nashville) rather than to AAA Iowa. He might even just play home games for the Smokies and then work out on his own while they are on the road.