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 12 min ago (view)
"MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."
espada's had 2 interviews. for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work. SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.
JustSayin' 2 hours 37 min ago (view)
That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter. MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent. They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players. In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted. For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col
Hagsag 3 hours 2 min ago (view)
Thanks Mr. Phil.
Arizona Phil 4 hours 4 min ago (view)
HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll.
crunch 4 hours 30 min ago (view)
The discussions on this matter have been quite varried. There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.
It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.
Hagsag 16 hours 42 min ago (view)
AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.
crunch 22 hours 47 min ago (view)
yanks/astros game 6 was a f'n classic. wow.
altuve continues to build his astros legend.
bradsbeard 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Thanks for this. I agree they’ll probably take their chances in the Rule 5 if he will resign, though I really wouldn’t mind adding him back to the 40 man. I feel like he has a good chance to be effective out of the bullpen.
bradsbeard 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab.
JustSayin' 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday? Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?) Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back?
Arizona Phil 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.
Charlie 2 days 3 hours ago (view)
Who are you all rooting for in the World Series? I'm rooting for the Nats to face and defeat Houston, I think, but with very mild interest. Let them get that championship out of the way and then maybe go the way of the post-2016 Cubs.
bradsbeard 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil, what do you think the Cubs will do with Oscar de la Cruz if they don’t add him back to the 40 man? Can they try to re-sign him but wait until after the Rule 5 to make it official? Do you think they will try to keep him in the organization in some fashion?
bradsbeard 3 days 5 hours ago (view)
Angels also make sense as a destination for Kris Bryant.
azbobbop 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
I wonder if Maddon will take any of the coaches with him.
Arizona Phil 4 days 33 min ago (view)
I doubt that Maddon would have taken the job if the Angels aren't fully prepared to sign one or maybe even two FA TOR SP (like Gerrit Cole and/or Stephen Strasburg if he opts out).
When you have the best player in MLB and now the highest-paid manager, not making the playoffs again in 2020 just can't be acceptable.