As we get ready to turn the page to a new year tomorrow, it’s time to start looking ahead towards what the rosters are going to be for the Cubs minor league system in 2023. I am of the mind that trying to figure out exactly who is going to be in Myrtle Beach and Mesa is going to be a hot mess. Trying to figure out the starting rotation for every affiliate is also going to be a challenge. The Cubs also have to deal with bringing some guys stateside from the Dominican teams but they don’t officially have to assign any to a roster for quite a few months yet. But that day will come.
Current Roster Counts.
Iowa has 25 players on the roster as of January 1, 2023, including some guys who will be at South Bend or Tennessee to start the year. They were placed on Iowa’s roster because they were acquired in the rule five draft.
Tennessee currently has 35 guys and some of them will head up to Iowa to start the year, especially on the position player side of things. Many will be coming back from injuries.
South Bend has a nice round number of 30 players on their roster. Quite a few of the position players will head to Tennessee along with just a few pitchers.
As for Myrtle Beach, they have the biggest roster of the four full season affiliates as they have 37 guys mustered up.
That gives the full season squads a total of 127 players. As for the Arizona team in Mesa, the Cubs currently have 44 players of which many, but not all, will go to Myrtle Beach.
The Cubs can have 190 over the winter but have to get down to 180 by the end of spring training.
That brings us to a total of 171 players. At the end of spring training, prospects placed on the 40 man roster this winter will be sent down to the minor leagues and count against the 180 cap number.
Depending on who makes the 26-man roster, the number the Cubs send down could greatly fluctuate. Right now, anywhere between 12 and 14 prospects would be assigned to Iowa, Tennessee, and South Bend from the 40-man. And that puts the roster between 184 and 186 players.
For now, the Cubs are fine. They don’t need to make any adjustments, but they probably will at the end of spring training. Come June, games will officially begin in Arizona and that is most likely when the Cubs will make some wholesale changes and then again after the draft.
In addition, there are three players who basically have not played in a few years but are still rostered in Andres Bonalde, Craig Brooks, and the recently incarcerated Jesus Camargo. How long the Cubs keep them on rosters is up in the air, but teams tend to not release players who don’t show up so that they can’t sign with somebody else.
Odds are that there might be an additional catcher or two added over the winter, depending upon what happens with PJ Higgins. Right now, Iowa has zero catchers. It’s assumed that Bryce Windham and Tim Susnara will move up from Tennessee but the Cubs are going to need a little bit more than that for insurance reasons. Windham is fully healthy but Susnara missed all of 2022.
Over the next three months, I am going to continue doing affiliate sneak peaks every other week as well as merging that type of post with the five series to look at five guys at each affiliate that I’m looking forward to seeing. This next week, I’ll take a look at five players at South Bend and then the week after I will examine Myrtle Beach in the “Affiliate Sneak Peek” as I try to figure who exactly could be in the starting rotation for the Pelicans. It might just be the wild wild west of roster construction during spring training.
You can always stay updated on NSB with who is which roster on our prospect profile database and the affiliate pages for Iowa, Tennessee, South Bend, Myrtle Beach, and Mesa.
Odd catching situation for Iowa- hope they can keep Higgins. Where do you think Amaya will be ?
He will probably end up in Iowa to start the year
Question for you, do the minor league teams post the beginning of spring training also have injury designations (eg., 60 day injury designation, etc.) that temporarily permit their minor league systems to carry more than the allotted 180 positions?
In spring training, usually the organization places them on an injured list until it’s time to be assigned to an affiliate