2020 Cubs AZ Instructional League roster


2020 Cubs AZ Instructional League roster:

* bats or throws left 
# bats both 

: 28
Cory Abbott 
Josh Burgmann
Chris Clarke 
Danis Correa
Brad Depperman 
Manuel Espinoza 
Richard Gallardo 
Jose Miguel Gonzalez 
* D. J. Herz 
Porter Hodge 
* Bryan Hudson 
Gabriel Jaramillo
* Scott Kobos 
Ben Leeper 
* Luke Little 
* Joel Machado
Michael McAvene 
Trevor Megill 
Erling Moreno 
Koen Moreno 
Eduarniel Nunez 
Bailey Reid 
Peyton Remy 
Manuel Rodriguez (INJURY REHAB
Cam Sanders 
Tyler Schlaffer 
Jerrick Suiter (ex-1B) 
* Brad Wieck (INJURY REHAB

Pablo Aliendo 
Cam Balego 
* Ethan Hearn 
* Ronnier Quintero 
* Bryce Windham (ex-INF) 

Ed Howard IV (SS) 
Kevin Made (SS) 
* Matt Mervis (1B) 
Christopher Morel (3B) 
Rafael Morel (3B-2B) 
Fabian Pertuz (SS-2B) 
* Alfonso Rivas (1B) 
Chase Strumpf (2B-3B) 
Luis Vazquez (SS-2B) 
Luis Verdugo (SS-3B) 
* Andy Weber (SS-2B) 

Edmond Americaan
Brennen Davis 
Jordan Nwogu 
# Yonathan Perlaza (ex-INF)
* Yohendrick Pinango  
* Cole Roederer 
Felix Stevens 
Nelson Velazquez 
* Jacob Wetzel 
* Jared Young (ex-INF) 

Jeremy Farrell 

Chris Valaika 

Paul McAnulty 
Desi Wilson 

Jonathan Mota 

Mark Johnson 

Casey Jacobson 

Carlos Chantres 

Tony Cougoule 
Armando Gabino 
Doug Willey  

Ryan West 
Steven Pollakov 

Sam Hunter

Mike McNulty 

Ed Halbur 
Matt Hussey 
Logan Severson 
German Sunchin 
Toby Williams 

Cory Kennedy 

John Abbott 
Ryan Clausen 
Dallas Lopez 

Dana Noeltner 


Phil, will the fields be closed to the public during practice even to you?

HAGSAG: Yes, the back-fields and the stadium will be closed, even to me. And there will be 18 AZIL games played versus other organizations (AZ, COL, LAA, MIL, SF #1, and SF #2, but no OAK), nine home & nine road, starting on Wednesday 10/14 and ending on Saturday 11/7. 

Any reason to read into the fact that Cam Balego is listed as just a C now? Do we think he might be able to handle C as a full time position?

BRADSBEARD: Cam Balego went through the Catcher Conversion Program post-2017 and he was catching a lot in Minor League Camp the past couple of seasons and he did get some very limited work behind the plate at South Bend in 2018 and for Myrtle Beach in 2019, but I suspect the Cubs now want to see if he can take the next step and become at least a serviceable back-up catcher at AA in 2021. 

Balego is actually a legit second-tier prospect. He has plus power and a plus arm and so it's really just a matter of him becoming competent as a receiver, but of course that's easier said than done. For every Robinson Chirinos, Willson Contreras, and P. J. Higgins (each of whom successfully made the conversion to catcher), there is a Vimael Machin, Ben Carhart, Orian Nunez, and Danny Zardon who did not. So while Balego is not a  candidate to get added to the 40 on 11/20, if he makes strides to the point where he becomes a competent defensive catcher, he could see MLB in time.   

BTW, if there had been a 2020 minor league season, it was pretty clear even before Minor League Camp was abruptly postponed in March that the 2020 Cubs Opening Day catching assignments would have been something like this:

CUBS: Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini

IOWA: Josh Phegley (primary), P. J. Higgins (also 1B-3B), and Erick Castillo ("phantom IL") 

TENNESSEE: Miguel Amaya (primary), Tyler Payne (back-up), and Cam Balego (C-1B-3B)

MYRTLE BEACH: Caleb Knight and Eric Gonzalez (sharing primary duties) and Gustavo Polanco (C-1B-"phantom IL") 

SOUTH BEND: Jonathan Soto and Jake Washer (sharing primary duties) and Alexander Guerra ("phantom IL") 

EXST: Bryce Windham (ex-INF in latter stages of Catcher Conversion Program), Ethan Hearn, Ronnier Quintero, Henderson Perez, Raymond Pena, Pablo Aliendo, Orian Nunez (C-1B), and Richard Nunez (C-1B), with Windham, H. Perez, and R. Pena likely going to Eugene in June. (R. Quintero and Aliendo were the only two DSL catchers at Minor League Camp, so they were obviously being prepped to play in the AZL in 2020). 

But of course it didn't happen that way because the 2020 minor league season didn't happen, but that was the way things were trending back in March.   

Also, Guerra, O. Nunez and R. Nunez were released by the Cubs after it became clear that there would be no minor league baseball in 2020, so obviously they had no long-term future with the Cubs even if the 2020 minor league season had progressed in a normal fashion.

For a lot of reasons it's too bad that the 2020 minor league was canceled, but while all minor leaguers need game reps to develop, catchers (just like pitchers) really, really need regular game reps to keep them from having their long-term development delayed or stunted. 

Phil, what happend to Jack Patterson?  I thought he would be included for Instructs. 

My guess?

He got in his innings at the ATS, and doesn't need them, now. Though I welcome Phil's reply.

i was gonna guess aliens.  :(

Abbott, Balego, Hudson, Marquez, Megill, C. Morel, Rivas, and Strumpf were supposed to play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL, but Marquez got called up to MLB on the last day of the MLB regular season and the other seven got diverted to AZ Instructs when the AFL season was canceled last month.   

Otherwise, the guys who were playing "sim" games at the Alternate Training Site for three months (including Jack Patterson) are done. 

Major League Baseball will allow teams to hold Dominican instructional league programs at their academies in the Dominican Republic beginning on Oct. 19, Baseball America has learned. https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/mlb-will-a...

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  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Someone to keep an eye on in 2021 is RHRP (ex-1B) Jerrick Suiter. 

    He was selected by the Cubs from the Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and the Cubs  immediately converted him from a mediocre AA first-baseman to a full-time pitcher, having seen him throw garbage innings in blow-outs for the Pirates AA Altoona affiliate in 2019.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Good to see Roederer and Velasquez  providing some production. From what I've followed they haven't been up to much. Granted this season isn't great for development


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have added OF Brennen Davis to their AZIL Active List roster. 


  • crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    "He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable."

    reggie golden flashblacks...if BP was a game he'd be an all-star.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    Unfortunately for the Cubs, all of their Top 10 position-player prospects (M. Amaya, Davis, Hearn, Howard, Made, C. Morel, R. Morel, Quintero, Roederer, and Strumpf -- listed alphabetically) are two or more years away from the big leagues, in most cases more like three or four or even five years away. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    TIM: One of the things people wonder about when they see a young shortstop for the first time is does he have the arm and range necessary to play SS or would his tools maybe be better suited for 2B, 3B or OF. So far at Instructs Kevin Made has shown all of the attributes of a SS, and he is an advanced hitter (for his age) as well. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    AZBOBBOP: Ethan Hearn showed off his plus-arm by back-picking a runner off 1st base last week. You don't see catchers with the confidence to attempt pick-offs much out here. 

    He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable. His hitting (contact and barreling) has improved at instructs, and that's one of the things he needed to improve.

    His receiving should improve with experience as well. 


  • azbobbop 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?


  • tim815 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 16 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 


  • Charlie 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.


  • bradsbeard 4 days 19 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 


  • crunch 5 days 8 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.


  • crunch 5 days 9 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 days 9 hours ago (view)

    In fairness those 28 games he played at 1B were breathtaking that year