Fall instructs began back on Monday, September 18 in Arizona and the Cubs had 69 players getting in some extra work. Most of the players on the instructional roster came from South Bend, Eugene, Mesa, and the Dominican. There were only a couple of players from Myrtle Beach as well.
According to Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter, the young Cubs will only be playing situational/simulation games this year in instructs. They will not be playing other franchises, nor are there plans for a dual-team “Advanced Instructs” squad like the one they’ve fielded the last couple seasons. What’s more, the Cubs aren’t even scheduling intra-squad games.
This may seem like a very minor development, and perhaps it is, but the Cubs have obviously tweaked things with their developmental process based on what they’ve seen in terms of past results. We may never know for certain whether one way or the other works best, but here are some names that most intrigue me from among this year’s attendees
Luis Verdugo – The Cubs signed this young shortstop from Mexico this summer. He’s just 17 but I am interested to hear about his defensive skills and his ability to put the bat on the ball at his tender age.
Gioskar Amaya – I am hoping he can come back from a knee injury that occurred during spring training. I’m glad he’s going to get some work in before this year officially ends, though I don’t think he will be doing any catching this fall. More than likely, he will be at first and could even revisit his old haunt at second base as the Cubs seemed stocked behind the plate in the system.
Christopher Morel – Another shortstop, he had a streaky year in the DSL. He is still pretty young at 18, and I’m interested to see if he has what it takes to make it Stateside next year.
Fernando Kelli – When you steal 58 bases and have a .437 OBP, you are going to draw a lot of attention. That’s what Fernando Kelli did this summer and I’m wondering just how good he has become. He’s only 18 and was the best prospect the Cubs had in the DSL this summer.
Jesus Tejada – Mr. No-Hitter looks like he’s going to stay in the US next year after an excellent 2017 campaign in the Dominican. He struck out 26 across 23 innings in August and I’m wondering how his season translates into confidence.
Carlos Pacheco – When you start looking at the stats and the pure power numbers, the 18-year-old seems a bit of a free swinger. He mashed nine homers and 40 percent of his hits went for extra bases. Once you get past the batting average (.232) and start looking at his on base percentage (.366), however, he shows a better approach than one would first think.
Keegan Thompson, Cory Abbott – The more I watched these two college pitchers throw for Eugene this summer, the more I was impressed with their skills, even in 2-3 inning outings. They’re not going to throw that much in instructs, but I still want to see how they do heading into 2018. The Cubs have two potential starters here. They both possess the ability to work a batter to get outs in addition to having quality pitches.
Here’s the full roster list courtesy of The Cub Reporter:
PITCHERS: Cory Abbott, Jose Albertos, Jonathan Bruzual, Bailey Clark, Danis Correa, Yovanny Cruz, Jeremiah Estrada, Riger Fernandez, Emilio Ferrebus, Ben Hecht, Bryan Hudson, Rollie Lacy, Brendon Little, Ronaldo Lopez, Brailyn Marquez, Hector Matos, Erling Moreno, Carlos Paula, Tyler Peyton, Eury Ramos, Nathan Sweeney, Jesus Tejada, Ricky Tyler Thomas, Keegan Thompson, Erich Uelmen, Didier Vargas
CATCHERS: Miguel Amaya, Cam Balego, Michael Cruz, Jhonny Pereda, Henderson Pere, Jonathan Soto
INFIELDERS: Aramis Ademan, Gioskar Amaya, Jhonny Bethencourt, Luis Diaz, Christian Donahue, Austin Filiere, Luis Hidalgo, Josue Huma, Joey Martarano, Fidel Mejia, Andruw Monasterio, Christopher Morel, Rafael Narea, Orian Nunez, Yonathan Perlaza, Fabian Pertuz, Gustavo Polanco, Austin Upshaw, Luis Vazquez, Luis Verdugo, Jared Young, Delvin Zinn
OUTFIELDERS: Luis Ayala, Zach Davis, Alonso Gaitan, Brandon Hughes, Fernando Kelli, Kwang-Min Kwon, Eddy Julio Martinez, Kevonte Mitchell, Carlos Pacheco, Chris Pieters, Jonathan Sierra, Chris Singleton, Nelson Velazquez, Ricardo Verenzuela, D. J. Wilson