Manager Edgar Perez is going to have quite the experience managing the Cubs rookie league team in Mesa for his first job stateside. Perez is going to be blessed with a team that contains a lot of knowns and unknowns. Most of the hitters are well-known commodities after last season in the Dominican. Most of the pitchers are unproven prospects who are either getting their first shot in Mesa after a year in the Dominican, or getting a second chance to prove their worth in Mesa having played there last year.

One key thing to remember about this season is that it starts two weeks early on June 6. As a result, it also ends two weeks early in the middle of August. Most of the college draft picks that come through are not going to be in Mesa for very long as Myrtle Beach will still have a month to play a when the complex league ends. Expect to see several of the Mesa players go get a taste of Low-A baseball as soon as their season ends.

There could be a few more names coming to Mesa like recent IFA signee Yoanis Aleksandrov. The official roster will posted on Monday.

Let’s take a look at the “probable” roster in five parts!

Starting Pitchers: Michael Arias, Marino Santy, Kenyi Perez, Joel Sierra, Dominic Hambley, Elian Almanzar. Koen Moreno, Wilson Cunningham

Over the course of the spring, the Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter has filled us in a little bit on some of the players in extended spring training. Michael Arias is a former Blue Jay shortstop who is now 21-years-old and hitting 98 to 100 miles an hour with his fastball. The two most well-known names should be making their debuts professionally. Dominic Hambley was taken last year in the 18th round by the Cubs. Koen Moreno will hopefully be healthy enough to play for the first time since being taken in the 2020 draft in the fifth round. Moreno has yet to suit up in a game that mattered. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs also use 2021 19th round pick Wilson Cunningham on his break from college.

Relief Pitchers: Gregori Montano, Yovanny Cabrera, Angel Hernandez, Wilfri Figuereo, Rony Baez, Alfredo Zarraga, Jose Alcila, Yohan Crispin, Anthony Mendez, Cristian Rojas, Oliver Roque, Tomy Sanchez, Starlyn Pichardo, Anthony Martinez, Gleiber Morales, Jose Romero, Matt Warkentin

Rojas, Roque, and Pichardo all did well as starters last year in the Dominican with sub 3.00 ERAs. They will probably be piggyback starters as the Cubs tend to be very cautious with their young arms. As well, Matt Warkentin will make his debut as a pitcher this summer ala Brandon Hughes. If he has some success, don’t expect him to be around long as he will be on his way to Myrtle Beach pretty quickly.

Catchers: Moises Ballesteros, Ronnier Quintero, Edgar Gamargo, Danis Granadillo, Wally Soto

Moises Ballesteros has been hitting almost. 500 the last few weeks of extended spring training. I would not be surprised to see him be then first position player to head to the Carolina league. After dealing with some loss and tragedy last off-season, Ronnier Quintero has rededicated himself and we should see a much improved player over what we saw last year. Granadillo, according to Arizona Phil, led the Cubs in several offensive categories in spring training.

Infielders: Alejandro Rivero, Pedro Ramirez, Rafael Morel, Christian Olivo, Cristian Hernandez, Joanfran Rojas

I don’t know how this group of players does not hit. Rivero tore up the Pioneer league last year; Ramirez and Hernandez did the same in the Dominican. I’m interested to see how Olivo does and how much playing time he gets that shortstop and second base considering Cristian Hernandez is going to get the majority of time. I wonder if Olivo will move over and play some third as well. His stick should be something to test out this year as he only is 18-years-old.

Outfielders: Anderson Suriel, Brayan Altuve, Cristian More, Ismael Mena, Carlos Morfa, Raino Coran

I really like Anderson Suriel the best out of all this group. He had a really nice second half last year in the Dominican hitting almost .300. Brayan Altuve has completely moved on from catching and looks to have to moved to the outfield on a permanent basis. Christian More has a good spring according to Phil while Carlos Morfa, and Raino Coran are all big body guys that I expect to generate some serious power.