Michael McAvene – Picture by Todd Johnson
For some strange reason, I thought it would be a good idea last night to go over and check out The Cub Reporter to see if there was any other news going on in Arizona. The Arizona Fall League squad, as Greg Huss reported, was released Wednesday night. My interest was in a list of players that Arizona Phil dropped about who will be attending fall instructs once the minor league season ends. They usually run for the month of October. That roster gives us his fans a little clue into who the Cubs might value to come stateside from the Dominican next year and who they might be working with to improve some things to get ready for 2023. You could even go as far as to say that a lot of players will begin competing to get a leg up to play at full season Class A Myrtle Beach.
Let’s break it down by position groups of who is going to be in Arizona later this month.
Pitchers: Michael Arias, Max Bain, Brandon Birdsell. Jackson Ferris, Carlos Garcia, Angel Gonzalez, Yoendris Gonzalez, Bailey Horn, Cade Horton, Nick Hull, Grant Kipp, Zac Leigh, Luke Little, Michael McAvene, Brody McCullough, Mason McGwire, Koen Moreno, Nazier Mule, Branden Noriega, Eligio Paredes, Kenyi Perez, Mathew Peters, Jake Reindl, Wilbur Rodriguez, Luis Rujano, Marino Santy, Frankie Scalzo, Freilyn Silverio, Kevin Valdez
Most of the draft picks the Cubs took are going to be here. We’ll get to see our first look at Cade Horton and Brandon Birdsell in Cubs uniforms as well as Nazier Mule and Jackson Ferris. A couple of names popped right out at me that were on this list. They included Max Bain who’s been on the development list for quite a while in Tennessee. Max got off to a good start this year at South Bend and was promoted to Tennessee where he struggled. It was a big jump in competition and he can’t go around walking guys as well as having a high flyball rate. That’s a recipe for disaster. So hopefully, the Cubs can do some work to get him to be more efficient and ground ball oriented.
The other guy that sticks out to me is Carlos Garcia who was suspended this year for a positive drug test. He likely would’ve been in extended spring training with a chance to be in Myrtle Beach by mid summer. As a lefty, he is a power pitcher and I would not be surprised to see him make Myrtle Beach‘s roster coming out of spring training.
Two guys who are not there are DJ Herz and Kohl Franklin. I thought Kohl would come to instructs to get a little bit more work in to increase his innings up to close to 80. I thought the Cubs would also be working with DJ to make his pitches more efficient in the zone to get his walk rate down.
All summer, we talked in the Rookie League Recap about there might not be as many guys coming north next spring to Arizona as in previous years. In total, it looks like there’s only gonna be 12 guys from the Dominican and just a few pitchers. Just based on this little insight, there’s going to be a lot of holdovers next year.
Catchers: Yoanis Aleksandrov, Moises Ballesteros, Ethan Hearn, Haydn McGeary, Miguel Pabon, Malcom Quintero, Carlos Ramos, Adan Sanchez
Most of these guys are slated to be in Arizona or Myrtle Beach except for Hearn who is headed to South Bend and possibly Ballesteros could be there as well next spring. It’ll be interesting to see what they’re going to be working on with these guys and how much McGeary is going to catch, play first, or get in some work in the outfield. The biggest surprise in this list is the inclusion of Aleksandrov who only had a handful of hits this summer while batting under .100.
Infielders: Alexis Hernandez, Cristian Hernandez, Rafael Morel , Christian Olivo, Christopher Paciolla, Reggie Preciado, Pedro Ramirez, Jefferson Rojas, Anderson Suriel, James Triantos
This looks like a mix between guys that will be in Arizona next summer and the Myrtle Beach infield. It’s strange seeing Olivo listed as an infielder when he played mostly outfield this past summer. What I am most interested in is just how much time at short Paciolla is going to get and how much time at third he’s going to play. As well, one of the more important storylines is who’s going to play short at Myrtle Beach next year? Will it be Cristian Hernandez or will it be Pedro Ramirez? Or will it be both guys? For all we know, it could even be Preciado or all four guys.
Outfielders: Josefrailin Alcantara, Kevin Alcantara, Brayan Altuve, Parker Chavers, Ke’Shun Collier, Raino Coran, Andy Garriola, Frank Hernandez, Erbin Jaque, Ismael Mena, Yohendrick Pinango
This looks like a mix of guys who will be anywhere from South Bend on down to Arizona. I noticed there is only one player coming from the DSL to Mesa as an outfielder this fall. There could be a couple more next summer if they perform well in extended spring training down in the Dominican. The wild card here is Pinango who looked to be pressing a little bit too much in the second half. I wonder if the Cubs are going to try a different approach with him as he did show off some talent for hitting the ball over the fence this year but that came at the cost of a lower average, a much lower average in the second half in fact.
I’m excited to read Arizona Phil‘s reports of these guys playing. It looks like they have enough for two teams that could play each other almost every day. I doubt if they do as they might play other squads.
Just when they thought we were out, they keep pulling us back in!