2021 Cubs Arizona Instructional League Roster

The Arizona Instructional League (known informally as "Instructs") has been in continuous existence for well over 60 years.

This year, Cubs AZ Instructs will begin on September 20th and conclude on October 16th.

Typically, clubs will assign players from the immediately-preceding draft class and players with experience below Hi-A to Instructs, although occasionally a more-experienced player will be assigned to work on one particular phase of his game or to rehab from an injury. Minor league players acquired in mid-season trades are sometimes assigned to Instructs to help them become familar with the Cubs Nike Performance Center and learn to do things "The Cub Way."  

Clubs with Spring Training homes in Arizona are not required to operate a team in the AZIL, and MLB clubs that do operate an "instructs" team are not required to schedule games against teams from other organizations.

The Cubs have 19 AZIL games scheduled versus the Angels, A's, and Rockies (only) in 2021. (The Brewers, Diamondbacks, Giants, and Mariners are not fielding an AZIL team this year).  
 

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2021 CUBS AZ INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE ROSTER (last updated 9-19-2021):

* bats or throws left 
# bats both 

60 PLAYERS 

PITCHERS: 28
Yovanny Cabrera
* Burl Carraway
Dakota Chalmers
Chris Clarke
Bradford Deppermann 
Luis Devers 
Angel Gonzalez-Martinez 
* Drew Gray 
Dominic Hambley 
Porter Hodge 
* Bailey Horn 
* Luke Little 
Michael McAvene 
Koen Moreno 
Eduarniel Nunez 
Nicholas Padilla 
Daniel Palencia 
Eury Ramos 
Sheldon Reed 
Benjamin Rodriguez
Erian Rodriguez 
* Luis Angel Rodriguez 
Frankie Scalzo Jr 
Tyler Schlaffer 
Dauris Valdez 
* Didier Vargas 
Alexander Vizcaino 
* Chase Watkins

CATCHERS: 7 
Pablo Aliendo 
* Moises Ballesteros
* Miguel Fabrizio 
* Ethan Hearn 
# Casey Opitz 
# Malcom Quintero 
* Ronnier Quintero 

INFIELDERS: 15 
* Bryce Ball 
Cristian Hernandez 
Ed Howard IV 
Kevin Made 
* Matt Mervis 
Rafael Morel 
# B. J. Murray 
Christian Olivo 
Miguel Pabon 
# Reggie Preciado
# Pedro Ramirez  
Yeison Santana 
Liam Spence 
James Triantos Jr 
Luis Verdugo 

OUTFIELDERS: 10 
Kevin Alcantara 
* Owen Caissie 
Alexander Canario 
* Parker Chavers 
Christian Franklin 
Frank Hernandez
Peter Matt 
* Ismael Mena 
* Ezequiel Pagan 
Felix Stevens 


INSTRUCTS COORDINATOR
Jeremy Farrell 

GAME MANAGER
Michael Ryan 

HITTING COORDINATOR
Dustin Kelly  

ASSISTANT HITTING COORDINATOR
Tom Beyers 

HITTING INSTRUCTORS
D'Angelo Jimenez
Don Puente 
Rachel Folden  

INFIELD COORDINATOR
Jonathan Mota 

INFIELD INSTRUCTOR
Jhonny Bethencourt 

OUTFIELD & BASERUNNING COORDINATOR
Doug Dascenzo 

CATCHING INSTRUCTOR:  
Will Remillard  

PITCHING DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Casey Jacobson 

ASSISTANT PITCHING DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR:  
Carlos Chantres 
Mike Mason

REHAB PITCHING COORDINATOR
Josh Zeid 

PITCHING INSTRUCTORS
Tony Cougoule
Armando Gabino 
Danny Hultzen
Clay Mortensen
Doug Willey  

MENTAL SKILLS: 
David DaSilva 
Javier Guerero 

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COORDINATOR
Cory Kennedy 

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACHES
Cory Chapp 
John Abbott 
Austin Smith 

ATHLETIC TRAINERS
Matt Hussey 
Seth Clapp 
Nick Roberts 

Comments

Dakota Chalmers... interesting. He's scheduled to be a MILB FA, correct? Would this be a good sign he has signed a successor deal?

DJL: No. Signing a 2022 minor league successor contract would only matter with regard to a player in the Arizona Fall League, because the AFL schedule goes past the date when minor leaguers are declared free-agents. 

AZ Instructs ends on October 16th, which is about two or three weeks before minor league free-agency, so the three guys at Cubs Instructs who are eligible to be free-agehts after the World Series (Dakota Chalmers. Nicholas Padilla, and Eury Ramos) do not need to sign successor contracts in order to play in AZIL games. 

Padilla is rehabbing, but in the case of Chalmers and Ramos the Cubs may be attempting to gather more info before deciding whether to add them to the 40 on 11/19, in case one or both decline to sign a successor contract.   

Along with Luis Lugo and Bryan Hudson, Chalmers and Ramos are probably the post-2021 MLB Rule 9 minor league free-agents the Cubs most do not want to lose if it can be avoided.  

One way a club can induce a player to sign minor league successor contract is by offering the player an NRI to Spring Training and more money than he would have received if he had been on the MLB 40-man roster. The player would also know that he would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.

That's actually how the Cubs ended up with Hector Rondon. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2012, but signed a 2013 minor league successor contract with the Indians prior to being declared a FA. And then the Cubs selected him in the Rule 5 Draft.   

The Cubs will very likely be splitting the AZIL position players into two 14-man squads (like they did last year), with each squad playng in every other-game, and with the other squad having a Camp Day instructional work-out on a back-field when that squad is not playing in a game. There will also be five combined Camp Days during the course of the four weeks for all players from both squads.  

The pitchers will probably be split into two squads as far as PFPs and other drills are concerned, but each pitcher will pitch in a game or throw a bullpen or a "live" BP whenever the pitcher is scheduled to pitch. So a particular pitcher might pitch in an AZIL game with one squad one time, and then with the other squad the next time. Or he might pitch with the same squad both times.   

The top four DSL Cubs position player prospects (SS Cristian Hernandez, C Moises Ballesteros, INF Pedro Ramirez, and OF Frank Hernandez) have been added to the Cubs AZIL roster (see updated roster in post above). 

Do the four additions count against the 190 USA list? Or the 70 DSL list?

 

I apologize for the silly question, but if they're still on the DSL list, I'd be good with bringing up 4 DSL arms, as well. Thanks, as always.

TIM: They are still assigned to the International Reserve List, even if they are attending AZ Instructs. (That also applies to Minor League Camp and to Extended Spring Training). They can be moved to the Domestic Reserve List if the Cubs need slots on the IRL for international free-agents, but once a player is moved from the IRL to the DRL, the player cannot be moved back to the IRL (and play in the DSL) without consent of the MLB Commissioner. Also, a player cannot remain on the IRL (and play in the DSL) for more than four seasons.

At present, the Cubs 70-man International Reserve List is full, and the 180-man Domestic Reserve List has nine openings. However, the 29 players who are presently on a minor league 60-day IL must be reinstated at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series (players cannot be carried on the 60-day IL during the off-season), which will increase the number of players on the DRL to 200 (171+29). But... at that exact same moment in time, the DRL limit expands from 180 to 190 players (and will remain 190 until 2022 minor league "full season" Opening Day), and also at that exact same moment in time, all unsigned minor league players eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 6YFA or second contract FA post-2021 are automatically declared free-agents (they don't have to file, it's automatic). And the Cubs have a LOT of minor leaguers eligible to be free-agents.  

One other thing to keep in mind is that there are no longer separate reserve lists for each domestic minor league affiliate. The players are all combined into one pot (known as the "Domestic Reserve List"). However, on 11/19 clubs can assign up to 38 Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the temporary AAA reserve list, and those players can be selected only in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Then as soon as the Rule 5 Draft is over, the AAA reserve list goes away and players who were temporarily assigned to the AAA reserve list for the Rule 5 Draft go back into the DRL pot.  

Phil, I hope you get to see this group. What a bunch of middle infielders!

I wonder why Jordan Wicks isn't going to be at Instructs.

My best guess would be 2021 Innings pitched limit.

Hi Phil, what time are the games?  Will the public be able to attend?  Thanks!

BOB: They play mostly in the afternoon, sometimes in the morning, some teams are playing night games.  Fan attendance varies from place to place. 

The Cubs have added Bryan Serra to their Instructs roster. Serra was signed as a 19-year old infielder out of Venezuela in August 2020, and began the catcher conversion program at Minor League Camp this past April. He will be continuing the process at Instructs.   

LHSP Luis Angel Rodriguez, RHRP Dauris Valdez, RHRP Sheldon Reed, LHRP Didier Vargas, C Casey Opitz, INF Liam Spence, 1B Matt Mervis, and OF Peter Matt were moved-up to AAA Iowa from Instructs after Wednesday's intrasquad game. 

RHSP Ryan Jensen has been added to the Cubs AZ Instructional League roster. 

The Cubs have added INF-OF Brayan Altuve to their AZ Instructs roster.

Altuve signed with the Cubs as a 16-year old IFA catcher out of Venezuela in 2019 ($1M bonus announced in July, contract not finalized until October), but he has not caught an inning in pro ball.

He is, however, an athletic player with plus-speed and plus-power, and so he has moved back & forth between the corner infield and the outfield in search of a position. 

Because the finalizing of his contract was delayed three months (July to October 2019), he will not be Rule 5 Draft eligible until post-2024, instead of post-2023 (if the contract had been signed & filed when it was originally announced in July 2019).  

And Altuve has a home run on You Tube in a game against the Mets in the DSL.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 2 hours 5 min ago (view)

    minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs).  this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living.  for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.

    activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen.  good work.

     

  • bradsbeard 5 hours 47 min ago (view)

    Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in). 

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 1 min ago (view)

    azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.

     

  • Hagsag 17 hours 11 min ago (view)

    This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November. 

     

  • azbobbop 23 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.

     

  • tim815 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF). 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.

    I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.

    Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Childersb3: Not much bat speed. Just "lug-power." I actually like Matt Mervis better. 

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Thanks wrigley rat.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG - Not Phil, but I think this info was from him in the past:

    RHP/OF (signed as a two-way player - seems to be sticking with hitting for now), R/R, 5'11 180, Age 18, SPAIN

     

  • Childersb3 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    AzP,

    Does Bryce Ball have any real bat speed, or is he just a big guy that waves at the ball and makes contact 1of5 times?

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    Phil, tell me about Frank Fernandez.

     

  • tim815 2 days 48 min ago (view)

    If Matt is "not horrible" at third, that could be useful.

     

  • crunch 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    bonds got a standing-O after being introduced between innings at LAD @ SF.

    as he sat down, dude looked extremely genuinely happy to hear the park errupt in cheers for him again.

    it's not his first time back, nor his first set of cheers, but the park is packed and loud.

     

  • Cubster 4 days 17 min ago (view)

    Jed's GM search wrapping up, and the winner is: (Athletic write up): 37 yr old "Carter Hawkins, Cleveland assistant general manager, deals with all aspects of baseball operations in a front office admired for its stability, creativity in turning over the roster and ability to keep churning out pitchers.