Not the glutton of prospects with $1 million signing bonuses like last year as the Cubs international scouting department will be put to the test as they field two teams on a limited budget. The last time the Cubs were put in the penalty phase, they signed infielders Carlos Sepulveda (Myrtle Beach) and Yeiler Peguero (South Bend). It will be fun to see who develops out of this bunch.
Cubs 1 will play in the eight-team DSL North Division with Astros Orange, Dodgers 2, Indians, Indians/Brewers co-op, Pirates, Rangers 1 and Rays 2. Cubs 2 are in the DSL San Pedro Division with Brewers, D-Backs 2, Mets 2, Phillies White, Rangers 2, Rojas (Reds), and the Tigers. In the DSL, you only play teams within your division. The regular season concludes on Aug. 26 after 72 games.
Here’s a look at the rosters for the two Cubs squads. I expect the rosters to change, especially the pitchers as most of the guys with starting experience are all on the Cubs 2 roster. Click on the player’s name for a link to their player page with bio information.
Pitching—The initial roster is littered with members of the 2016 IFA class and only one pitcher has previous pro starting experience. I expect this to change but for the purpose of this story, we’ll highlight the names that currently appear on the roster.
Members of the 2016 IFA class assigned to Cubs 1 include Yovanny Cruz (RH, 17, Dominican Republic), Keiber Arredondo (RH, 19, Venezuela), Kleiber Carreno (RH, 18, Venezuela), Francisco Gracia (RH, 18, Mexico), Elias Herrera (RH, 19, Dominican Republic), Eduarniel Nunez, (RHP, 17, Dominican Republic), and Carlos Paula (RHP, 17, Dominican Republic).
Here’s the rest of the pitching staff:
Sucre Valdez—Back for his third year in the DSL, the 23-year-old right-hander went 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in 15 relief appearances last year.
Luis Silva—Made his pro debut last year in the DSL, the Venezuelan left-hander recorded one save in 11 relief appearances, posting a 7.02 ERA in 16.2 innings with 21 walks and 13 strikeouts.
Aneuris Rosario—Back for his fourth season with the Cubs in the DSL, the 22-year-old has 18 saves, including 11 in 2015, and appeared in 17 games last year with 2 BB and 30 K in 26 innings.
Hector Matos—Signed back in 2015, the 18-year-old right-hander has yet to make his pro debut.
Bryan Molina—The 22-year-old Venezuela native appeared in nine games last year in the DSL, his third in pro ball. The right-hander fanned 12 and walked 12 in nine relief appearances.
Francisco Garay—The former shortstop from Panama missed the 2016 season after making the switch to the mound.
Miguel Estevez—A former Royals farmhand, the 23-year-old appeared in 12 games last year in his second year with Cubs organization (0-0, 4.85 ERA, 26 IP).
Wilfre Delgado—The 21-year-old Venezuelan made his pro debut last year for Cubs 2 and appeared in 12 games, making five starts (2-2, 3.32 ERA, 40.2 IP, 17 BB, 20 K, 1.16 WHIP).
Yan De La Cruz—Signed as a free agent last year after starting his career with the Astros, the 23-year-old pitched in 14 games, recording one save.
Maikel Aguiar—Making his pro debut in 2016, Aguiar converted both save opportunities and the 20-year-old Venezuelan fanned 25 in 22.1 innings in 12 relief appearances but walked 17.
Catchers—Currently four catchers on the roster including Henderson Perez and Franklin Tineo, who both participated in extended spring training in Mesa. Perez, 17, spent most of last year at DH, hitting .226/.320/.284 with nine RBI in his first pro season. Tineo played for both teams last year and hit .250/.320/.338 with two homers and 18 RBI in 40 games for Cubs 1. Daniel Diaz played in 37 games last year, his second as a pro, batting .178/.328/.206 with 11 RBI. Erick Gonzalez started last season in the Arizona Rookie League but was sent back to the DSL in late July. The Dominican Republic native has batted .263/.316/.352 in three seasons in the organization.
Infielders—Signing for a reported $800,000 as part of the 2015 IFA class, SS Christopher Morel missed the 2016 season with a laceration of his arm and is set to make his pro debut. Morel participated at fall instructs and was also part of extended spring training before being assigned to the DSL for his pro debut. IF Luis Diaz hit .251/.335/.314 with 23 stolen bases in 64 games last year, his first as a pro, and earned an invite to extended spring training. Luis Hidalgo, 21, led all Cubs DSL players last year with nine homers and 30 RBI but only hit .216 in 48 games. Herson Perez, 20, made his pro debut last year and the Venezuelan native hit .213/.315/.277 in 31 games while playing second. Reserve infielder Ronaldo Lopez, 19, is a career .160 hitter in two seasons with the Cubs. Shortstops Rochest Cruz (L/R, 17, Dominican Republic) and Oswaldo Pina (R/R, 18, Venezuela) will be making their pro debuts after signing as part of the 2016 IFA class.
Outfielders—Fernando Kelli, 18, participated in fall instructs and extended spring training but is back in the DSL for his second season. The Venezuelan native batted .240/.329/.247 with 23 steals in his first pro season. Jose Jules, 19, starts his third season in the DSL, hitting .221/.289/.294 with 29 stolen bases in two seasons. Carlos Pacheco, 18, another talent the Cubs signed from Mexico, will make his debut in the DSL as will Ervis Marchan, a left-hand hitting 17-year-old.
Pitching—Bear with me here, unless the Cubs have decided to send all the starters to the same team, you can expect some changes before the season is in full bloom. Here’s the returning arms:
Andres Bonalde—The 19-year-old left-hander pitched for both DSL squads last yer in his second pro season. Bonalde went 2-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 12 starts, tossing 57.2 innings with 35 K and a 1.54 WHIP.
Fernando Calderon—Didn’t miss many bats in his first pro season as the 20-year-old right-hander allowed 25 hits and 23 runs in 16.1 innings.
Wander Feliz—Originally signed as an outfielder, the right-hander made the switch to the mound last season and only appeared in three games, tossing three innings.
Riger Fernandez—The 19-year-old Venezuelan made 12 starts last year in the DSL, his second in pro ball. The left-hander was 2-6 with a 4.53 ERA with 50 BB in 55.2 innings and a .231 BAA.
Emilio Ferrebus—The right-handed Venezuelan has made 24 starts the past two seasons in Rookie ball, going 2-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 14 outings last year in the DSL. The 19-year-old logged 65.2 innings and sported a 1.57 WHIP and a .290 BAA.
Ivan Medina—Starting his fourth season with the Cubs organization, the 21-year-old right-hander pitched in 14 games last year, all in relief, going 4-0 with a 4.30 ERA and 17 BB/14K in 29.1 innings.
Edison Novas—Making 17 relief appearances last year in the DSL, the 20-year old recorded two saves and sported a 4.12 ERA in 43.2 innings with 25 K and 16 BB in his first pro season.
Jesus Tejada—The 20-year-old right-hander made 12 starts last year in the DSL, going 1-5 with a 3.12 ERA. The Dominican Republic native tossed 60.2 innings, 18 BB, 37 K, 1.42 WHIP, .281 BAA.
Freddy Tineo—After making 12 starts in his first pro season in the VSL back in 2015, the 19-year-old Venezuelan worked out of the bullpen last year in the DSL, converting his only save opportunity while posting a 3.76 ERA over 40.2 innings.
Omar Ventura—The 22-year-old Venezuelan is 1-2 with a 6.12 ERA in 34 innings over two seasons with the Cubs. He appeared in 15 games last year and issued 28 walks in 34 innings.
Two of the cubs top arms of the 2016 IFA class have also been assigned to Cubs 2— Danis Correa and Ferrol Heredia. Correa, 17, signed for a reported $225,000 out of Columbia. Heredia, an 18-year-old left-hander, is another arm out of Mexico and throws in the low 90s with a good curve ball. Other pitchers that will be making their pro debuts in the DSL include 2016 IFAs Jonathan Bruzual (LH, 17, Venezuela), Jose Gonzalez (RH, 19, Dominican Republic), Benjamin Rodriguez (RH, 17, Dominican Republic.), and Didier Vargas (LH, 18, Panama).
Catchers—Raymond Pena made his pro debut in 2015 in the DSL and played in 40 games last year, hitting .143/.244/.205 with a homer and five RBI. 18-year-old Jonathan Soto will be making his pro debut. With four experienced catchers on Cubs 1, you can expect a roster move at sometime.
Infielders—After excelling in his first pro season, 3B/2B Orian Nunez earned an invite to extended spring training and is back in the DSL. The 18-year-old Dominican Republic native hit .278/.344/.394 with 29 RBI and more walks (21) than strikeouts (18). Fidel Matos, 22, batted .217/.311/.322 with three homers and 23 RBI in 46 games last year, his third as a pro. Utility man Jose Rojas is back for his third year in Rookie ball, a .244/.321/.337 slash in 107 minor league games. Henrry Pedra, 23, played in 21 games between the two Cubs squads last year and starts his fourth season. Santiago Blanco (S/R, 17, Dominican Republic) and Josue Huma (S/R, 17, Dominican Republic) will be making their pro debuts.
Outfielders— Not much experience in the outfield. Tony Rijo batted .161/. 303/.271 in 41 games in his second year in the DSL and Luis Ubiera has spent three years in the Cubs system, sporting a slash line of .200/.304/.234 in 113 games with 14 steals. Carmelo Alfonzo (L/R, 19, Venezuela), Alonso Gaitan (R/R, 19 Mexico), Albert Hinirio (S/R, 19, Dominican Republic), and Ricardo Verenzuela (L/R, 17, Venezuela) are all part of the 2016 IFA class and will be making their debuts.