We are now in the homestretch for the rookie league seasons. There’s a little over two weeks left as both Dominican and Arizona complex league end play by August 23. It’s hard to believe that the season went by so quickly while we blinked.

The draft picks have not really started to come in yet. Brandon Birdsell and Will Frisch have been on the Arizona roster for about 10 days yet neither of them has played. Not odd for Frisch who is coming off of Tommy John surgery. There have been pictures of Nazier Mule and Chris Paciolla in Arizona from John Antonoff. 

I’m wondering if most of the draft picks only signed future service contracts to begin in 2023. Considering that the Cubs signed 15 pitchers, most of them already pitched a full season and will not be seeing any action. That only leaves a few position guys that will actually play.

The big news of the week was that catcher Moises Ballesteros was promoted from the Mesa squad up to Myrtle Beach where he promptly hit a home run in his first at bat .

In addition, pitchers Anthony Mendez and Jose Romero were also promoted to Myrtle Beach along with shortstop Liam Spence. Once the season ends in the ACL, there should be several players headed up to Myrtle Beach for the next three more weeks of action.

Yesterday was Kevin Valdez Day as mowed down some A’s in fine fashion. 7 Ks over 2.2 innings and no, hits, runs, or errors.

DSL Blue 19-25 – The pitching is keeping them in games
DSL Red 17-31 – They are struggling in all facets of the game right
Mesa 17-24 – Starting to see some improvement from their young pitchers

Most of the pitching at these two levels is will hopefully get a second chance to improve next year as very few of them are ready to either head stateside from the Dominican or to head up to Myrtle Beach. In addition, the Cubs took a lot of arms in this year‘s draft including several high school pitches. They should all be at Mesa as well. There’s going to be a lot of competition next spring to get a coveted stateside assignment.

If we’re looking at hitters coming north, Adan Sanchez is going to lead the pack.

Coming north, Sanchez should be joined by OF Raul Guzman, infielders Geuri Lubo, Jose Escobar, Lizardo Ruiz, Jefferson Rojas, and catchers Christian Rojas and the very hot Carlos Altuve. Several more could join them depending on how they develop the next 7 months, which is a long time for a young teenager.

When it comes to pitching, Gabriel Agrazal should find his way to Mesa along with reliever Scarlyn Lebron and swingman Diego Dugarte. 

It’s going to be strange because only about 20% of each squad is coming north or should be coming north based on their current production and performance. Then again, things can happen over the winter and instructs, in spring training, and then again in extended spring training to get them stateside. 

As well, the Cubs are going to have another international free agent class come in. Those rankings for the 23 class have not come out yet. Those should be out here in the next month or so from either Jesse Sanchez at MLB Pipeline or Ben Badler at Baseball America. 

When the time comes to send a few players to Myrtle Beach this month, it’s only going to be for three weeks. Cristian Hernandez is going to be at the top of the list along with Pedro Ramirez and Christian More and probably Rafael Morel. When it comes to pitchers, Rony Baez and Tomy Sanchez have both been excellent in the bullpen. They should head to Myrtle this year and next. Christian Rojas and Marino Santy will probably get a cup of Myrtle Beach, too. I also wonder if the aforementioned Valdez will be included???

There are still a lot of unknowns in development between the end of August and the beginning of April. That’s a full seven months to develop. Players can change physically, they can change their batting stance or approach. Pitchers can develop new pitches and they can fill out a little bit more and gain a few miles on the old fastball. The interesting thing about this level is that a player can not be good one year and be fantastic the next just by making a few changes. So, even if I didn’t list a player, there’s still a chance for them to move up by improving over the offseason.