Your 2013 VSL Cubs!

The Cubs have moved their second Dominican Summer League (DSL) team to Venezuela (Ciudad Alianza), and so 2013 will see the debut of the VSL Cubs (and no more DSL Cubs #2). 

While the Cubs have signed many Venezuelan players over the years (with Carlos Zambrano, Angel Guzman, Ronny Cedeno, and Geremi Gonzalez being the most-notable ones), they have operated a team in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) only once previous, and that was a "co-op" team shared with the Minnesota Twins in 2007.

The VSL has been in operation since 1997 and had at one time as many as a dozen teams. However, in recent years the number of MLB clubs with affiliates in the VSL has dwindled to just four (Mariners, Rays, Tigers, and Phillies in 2012), with the Cubs bucking the contraction trend by actually putting a new team in the league this season. 

It is perhaps a little bit strange that the Cubs have chosen to move one of their DSL teams to Venezuela just as their new state-of-the-art multi-million dollar Dominican Academy goes on-line, but they probably recognize the potential motherload of baseball talent that's just waiting to be discovered in Central & South America (including Brazil), and having a presence in the VSL could help the Cubs get a foothold there.     

While the Dominican Summer League (DSL) does not begin play until June 1st, VSL Opening Day is next Monday (May 13th), and the VSL regular season runs through August 5th. A best two-out-of-three playoff between the 1st and 2nd place teams follows the conclusion of the regular season.     

The VSL roster limit is 35, but at present the Cubs have assigned only 24 players to the VSL Cubs, with 22 of the players from Venezuela, one from Curacao, and one from the Dominican Republic. (Essentially all of the Venezuelan players who had been assigned to DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2 were moved to the VSL Cubs). The two Mexican players assigned to the Dominican Academy (RHP Javier Castro and LHP David Villegas) could be assigned to the VSL Cubs, too, as well as any Cuban or other non-Dominican international players (including no more than two players from Puerto Rico) the Cubs may sign in coming months.

There are also 11 Venezuelan players presently assigned to the Cubs Extended Spring Training team (RHP Daniel Adrian, OF Jeffrey Baez, C Erick Castillo, 2B Bryant Flete, RHP Erick Leal, 3B Mark Malave, LHP Angel Mejias, SS Carlos Penalver, C Wilfredo Petit, LHP Carlos Rodriguez, and LHP Luis Villegas) who could be moved down to the VSL Cubs, although most of the Venezuelans at EXST are likely ticketed for the AZL Cubs or Boise.   

2013 VSL CUBS:



* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS (14):
Adbert Adzolay
Harrinson Bermudez
Francisco Carrillo
Jesus Castillo
* Augusto Colina
* Alberto Diaz
Greyfur Eregua
* Manuel Fuentes
* Victor Garcia
Yomar Pacheco
* Chris Pieters
Brohiglyn Rivero
Victor Salazar
Ramon Valera

CATCHERS (2):
Leonardo Gonzalez
Eufran Vargas

INFIELDERS (4): 
# Roney Alcala
# Humberto Garcia
Danny Gutierrez
Miguel Rico

OUTFIELDERS (4):
* Delbis Arcila 
Arnaldo Calero
# Martin Hodwalker
* Ricardo Marcano

MANAGER:
Osmin Melendez

COACHES:
Franklin Blanco
Angel Guzman (?)
NOTE: Ex-Cub Angel Guzman has been working as a Pitching Coach at Extended Spring Training in Mesa, but unconfirmed info is that he will be the Pitching Coach with the VSL Cubs. 

Comments

AZ Phil -- any word on Josh Conway's injury last Saturday? What got hurt, how badly, etc.?

JOE P: I don't know the extent of Conway's injury.

From AZ's report from 5/4 (7 articles down from this one):
Meanwhile, Conway looked uncomfortable from his very first pitch, continually pawing at his landing spot and scraping mud out of his spikes after every single pitch. A member of the grounds crew was eventually located after the end of the 1st inning (today is Saturday, so there was just a "skeleton crew" on duty), and while he raked up the mud clods, nothing was done to dry up the mud itself or stamp-down the mound. On his second pitch in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Conway's spikes got caught in the mud and he tripped and threw a pitch awkwardly, about six feet over the head of the Brew Crew batter. A loud pop could be heard when he let go of the pitch, and his arm recoiled as if he had been shot. He was obviously in tremendous pain, and he ran up the 1st base line into foul territory before coming to a stop and going to one knee.

Only after Conway left the game did two other members of the Maryvale grounds crew arrive and completely manicure the mound to make it safe for the pitchers.

Conway was immediately driven back to Fitch Park in the Cubs utility van, and presumably he will be examined next week.

I was aware of the 5/4 report. I am wondering if he has been examined yet and if there is any information on his physical condition.

His Twitter account is pretty silent - https://twitter.com/JoshConway16 other than to say he'll be back. The terminator said that, too, and ended up in a pool of molten metal or some such. I hope Conway's fate is a lot better than that.

The Cubs have released catcher Micah Gibbs, who was their 2010 3rd round draft pick out of LSU. He was a decent defensive catcher, but was hitting just 163/317/286 at Daytona this season, and for his career (208 minor league games), Gibbs hit 217/329/293.  

Also, catcher Chadd Krist and infielder Wes Darvill have been moved up to Daytona from Kane County, and LHP Jeff Lorick (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K in two EXST games) has been reinstated from the DL and was moved up to Daytona from Extended Spring Training, and RHP Starlin Peralta has been sent to Extended Spring Training from Daytona. 

Peralta was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Phase of the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft, but was returned to the Cubs during Spring Training. He had put up an awful 12.86 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in 14.0 IP at Daytona so far in 2013.

i.stewart reappears in a AAA game as a pinch hitter...goes 0-1, of course.

he's having one hell of a rough rehab...it'd be hard to replicate it or do worse on the MLB level simply playing the odds.

"Yankees acquired INF Alberto Gonzalez from the Cubs for a player to be named later or cash considerations; assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre."

Rizzo vs. Pujols - Just for fun, for those who wanted Pujols so badly:
Rizzo: .269/.349/.554/.903 - 9 homers
Pujols: .238/.322/400/.722 - 5 homers

Prince Fielder, on the other hand, is putting together a nice season so far.

I hadn't realized Rizzo's average was creeping back up so fast. And his OBP is getting better, too.

A perfect example of the importance of sample size. People need to stop freaking out when someone struggles for a couple weeks.

Regarding the Bo Porter pitching change issue:


There was a new rule implemented last year that requires a pitcher who comes out to warm up at the start of an inning to face at least one batter UNLESS the opposing manager puts up a pinch-hitter. Only then can the pitcher be replaced. But this applies to pitchers who were already in the game and were the pitcher when the final out was made the previous inning. This is NOT the same rule as the one where a relief pitcher coming into a game must face at least one batter or record one out (a pick-off or SB CS would count) before he can be replaced by another pitcher (unless he is injured prior to facing at least one batter or recording an out).

feldin culbreth (ump) suspended 2 games for misapplication of rule.

day-yam.

Dolis down, Fukijima activated....

"After a month of waiting around and hoping a big-league club would sign him to any kind of deal, Carlos Zambrano has decided to sign a contract with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, reports Carrie Muskat of MLB.com."

http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2013/5/10/4318804/mlb-...

What's not surprising is Ozzie is unemployed too

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whit...

he was doing pretty good in the WBC for a few innings...both performance and attitude...until he had a blow-up where he raged like hell, continued to fall apart and miss his spots after the raging, and when pulled raged some more in the dugout.

i think that was the "oh yeah...Zambrano...that guy" moment that took him off some observer's lists.

no b.harper...no j.werth...woo.

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  • Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.

    billybucks 3 min 55 sec ago view
  • ...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.

    I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.

    He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.

    billybucks 7 min 52 sec ago view
  • How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.

    videographer 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 3 hours 50 min ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 4 hours 24 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 6 hours 2 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 2 min ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 9 min ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 6 hours 12 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 16 min ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 6 hours 25 min ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 6 hours 32 min ago view
  • QuietMan 6 hours 40 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 7 hours 3 sec ago view