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 4 hours 52 min ago (view)
i truly wonder why f.carrera wasn't more of a priority.
he throws straight up junk, but he's got great control and command over his pitchers. he's young enough that he could find some more velocity, too.
i mean, this is a management team that decided to trade for dan haren and kyle hendricks. they don't have an aversion to slow-tossing starters.
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 33 min ago (view)
Has anyone else noticed James Norwood's picture on the Cubs top 30 prospects page is actually Brandon Kintzler?
Arizona Phil 7 hours 56 min ago (view)
It's always interesting to see how many players each MLB club protects on its AAA affiliate's 38-man reserve list on 11/20.
I'm not saying it absolutely and necessarily proves what a club thinks of its own prospects, but there are 38 slots available on a AAA reserve list, and if you leave 15 slots open, I think that does say something, especially when you don't lose anybody in either the MLB Phase or in the AAA Phase. (I'm looking at you, Seattle Mariners!)
Arizona Phil 8 hours 40 min ago (view)
HAGSAG: Instructs starts next month. The pitching lab operates year round, so guys are always coming & going.
Hagsag 10 hours 46 min ago (view)
Phil, when does the Instructional program begin? Are there pitchers in the pitching lab now?
cubbies.4ever 21 hours 49 min ago (view)
Just to continue my conspiracy theory that Theo has a requirement you have TJS to pitch for the Cubs Trevor Megill had it in 2013. The Cubs must have a support group for pitchers who have had TJS.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 25 min ago (view)
After losing two players off the Iowa reserve list in the Major League Phase and selecting four players in the AAA Phase, the Iowa reserve list has one slot open, so now would be an excellent time to try and outright C. D. Pelham to AAA.
Keep in mind that he can't elect free-agency if he's outrighted, and if he is outrighted, he won't be a minor league free-agent until post-2021.
And if he gets claimed off waivers? No big deal.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 47 min ago (view)
LHSP Faustino Carrera and 2B Carlos Sepulveda were among the first players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2014-15. The Cubs ended up signing more than two dozen more Mexican players over the next three years.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 50 min ago (view)
Vimael Machin can play anywhere in the infield & outfield, but he also went through the catcher conversion program at post-2015 Instructs so he can even catch in a pinch, too. He could be a very useful 26th man.
Machin is bi-lingual (he is from Puerto Rico and went to college at Old Dominion), and was projected by the Cubs as a future coach or manager. He's a savvy & astute baseball guy.
Arizona Phil 1 day 4 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Every year the Cubs convert two or three position players to pitcher (it was Galazin, Hughes, and Zardon in 2019), so it's very possible that Suiter will be given a chance to pitch.
bradsbeard 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
Suiter, who pitched in HS and briefly in college and who doesn't appear to be much of a hitter, seems to me to be a good pitcher conversion candidate.
Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
BTW, three of the four players selected by the Cubs in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (Stewart, Suiter, and Masters) will be minor league free-agents post-2020, and the fourth one (Vance Vizcaino) is a second-contract player (he was previously released by KC) so he could be a post-2020 minor league free-agent, too (TBD).
Incidentally, David Masters was selected by the Cubs after signing a minor league successor contract with the Nationals.
Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
So LHSP Brailyn Marquez, INF Christopher Morel, RHSP Cory Abbott, SS Aramis Ademan, RHSP Erich Uelmen, RHSP Keegan Thompson, and LHSP Brendon Little stand-out among the Cubs 2020 first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles, and RHRP Oscar de la Cruz, LHSP Luis Lugo, and LHRP Jordan Minch are probably the ones to watch among the Cubs post-2020 free-agent eligibles.
Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
For those of you who like to plan ahead, AS THINGS STAND NOW here is how the Rule 5 Draft and minor league free-agency shape up for the Cubs post-2020:
bradsbeard 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
You say that in jest, but just from the 2016 draft, which did not feature a first or second round pick, the Cubs drafted 4 players who were added to 40 man rosters this winter (Hatch, Miller, Rucker, Short) with Mekkes, Giambrone, and several others being potential mid-season additions.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
So I guess he's the first guy since Rondon we've taken in rule 5 with a shot at making the roster. That's kinda cool