Last night, the Chicago Cubs’ short-season A-ball team (I call them “Low A,” as in one step below A-ball Peoria, and two steps below High A Daytona), the Boise Hawks, announced their opening day roster. The season opens on Friday, and there could be/will be some changes to the roster before then (for example, supplemental first round pick Pierce Johnson, who says he’s headed to Boise, isn’t on the roster, but maybe he simply can’t be there by Friday – other draftees will be added as well).

Here’s the roster. Luke will have a breakdown of some of the notable inclusions and exclusions (yes, I imagine you’re immediately thinking “where is Dan Vogelbach?” (he’ll go to the AZL Rookie League team, apparently), and “where is Dillon Maples?” (he’s still rehabbing, to be ready next month)) soon. It’s a fair guess that, anyone you don’t see here who was drafted in 2011 is probably on the AZL Rookie League team.


Jose Arias (RHP)

Willengton Cruz (RHP)

Ian Dickson (RHP)

Rafael Diplin (RHP)

Pete Levitt (RHP)

Amaury Paulino (RHP)

Roderik Pichardo (RHP)

James Pugliese (RHP)

Tayler Scott (RHP)

Bryce Shafer (RHP)

Matt Spencer (LHP)


Wilson Contreras (C)


Gioskar Amaya (SS/2B)

Jeimer Candelario (3B)

Marco Hernandez (SS/2B)

Brian Inoa (UTL)

Rock Shoulders (1B)


Xavier Batista (OF)

Shawon Dunston, Jr. (CF)

Eduardo Gonzalez (OF)

Dong-Yub Kim (OF)

  • butlerdawgs

    Best name for a first baseman ever

  • cjdubbya

    Not to feign ignorance, but that roster looks a couple short? I mean, one lefty pitcher, one catcher?

    And butlerdawgs, you’re right. Maybe the best name in sports, at least for my money. And the dude’s interacted with me a bit on Twitter, which just makes it that much cooler.

    • JungleDrew

      Um Coco Crisp….

      • ETS

        I always have been a fan of Pastor Nicky myself

        • Packman711

          Boof. Bonser.

    • Brett

      They’ll get more as draftees filter in.

      • cjdubbya

        That makes sense. Could you see someone like Pierce Johnson fitting in, for instance?

        • Luke

          Sure.  We could also see some shuffling from Peoria down to Boise as other players come out of Arizona into the Peoria.

        • Brett

          Given the parenthetical about Pierce Johnson in this post … yes. :)

          • hansman1982

            SO WHATS GOING ON WITH VOGELBACH AND MAPLES!?>?!?!?!?>>!?!>?!>!?>?>??!?!?!??>!?!!??!???

            • Pete

              And Gretzky?

  • Leroy K

    Ahhh….Shawon Dunston Jr.—Now I know I’m getting old. Go get em kid. And heck yeah, Rock Shoulders????? That is a—wait for it—mazing!!!!

    • djriz

      And apparently Shawon Jr really impressed in ExST. Bet by the end of the year he overtakes Sczcur on the prospect list. Also, I think he walked 8 times. I think that’s more than his dad did in his entire career.

  • florida Al

    so wheres gretzky’s kid? did he ever sign?

  • George Cotugno

    Great, thanks for the update Brett, been waiting on this. I actually interviewed Rock Shoulders earlier in the season, pretty cool guy, hope he does well.

    – George

  • Carew

    Rock Shoulders? That may in fact be the greatest name on the planet

  • Kyle

    Vogelbach being left behind in Arizona is the result of a very disappointing XST session for him. Struggled hitting, didn’t flash much power at all, made a ton of errors. He’s still more than young enough to recover, but this is officially a setback. He doesn’t belong in the organization’s top-15 lists at this point, maybe not even top-25.

    • ETS

      I think it’s more the errors than anything. XST is a pretty small sampling for hitting, but 10 errors!!!! Sheesh.

      • Kyle

        The 2 HRs in 40+ games is really disappointing to me. This is Arizona in the summer, so the ball should be flying out.

        • ETS

          Yeah, still young. If he’s puttering around like this next year then I’ll start worrying.

    • Norm

      I was looking forward to Vogelbach as much as any other prospect in the system….disappointing.

  • fivetoolmike

    I think that Low-A refers to the Midwest league (and another league…not sure) and that the Northwest League is called short-season, just as an fyi.

    • Brett

      You’ll note I said both. There is no standard nomenclature. Some call Boise (short-season) “Low A,” and Peoria (full season) “A.” Some call Boise “short-season A” and Peoria “Low A.” That has never made sense to me, as it doesn’t clearly lay out the order of the levels.

      To me, this has always been crystal clear, and it’s what I use:

      Boise = Low A (short season)
      Peoria = A
      Daytona = High A

      That’s as clear as it gets, and I wish it were the descriptive nomenclature that more folks would use. So I’m doing my part to push it.

      • Kyle

        I’ve heard it both ways, but Brett’s is more common. I always think of them as A+, A and A-, personally.

      • Luke

        I’m a High A, Low A, Short-Season A guy.  That’s the naming scheme used by Baseball America, so that’s the one I’ve gravitated to.

        So long as the short-season leagues are called out as short season, it really doesn’t matter.  The full seasons and short seasons should be clearly distinguished though.

        Edit:  A+, A-, and SS-A in the shorthand nomenclature.

        • Brett

          I just think for folks who are more casual fans or newer fans of the farm systems, “short season,” as a descriptor in terms of the caliber of competition, doesn’t mean a whole lot to folks. Whereas Low A, A, and High A clearly spell out which is the “best” and which is the “worst.”

          Obviously you can stick with what you know/like, but this is one of my change-the-discourse missions. Much like when I capitalize the seasons. Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. They should be capitalized, and I can’t understand why they aren’t. Why are the months capitalized? They are a specific period of the year, which repeat once each year. So are the seasons.

          • MichaelD

            I agree with Luke’s classification. One problem with Low A, A, High A is that “A” is often used as a general classification for all three levels.

            • Luke

              To be honest, I think the biggest culprit is minor league baseball.

              A Advanced (High A)(A+) should be A ball.

              Full-season non-high A (A for Brett, Low-A for me) should be B ball.

              Short Season A should simply be Short-Season, or short of that , C.

              Problem solved.  But that makes entirely too much sense…

              • MichaelD

                I think the naming nomenclature just evolved over time. Teams used to have double-digit numbers of minor-league affiliates including B-level, C-level etc. affiliates. Most had more than one A affiliate but they were not necessarily ranked. Over time the B and lower leagues disappeared and the A’s started to distinguish themselves.

                The old nomenclature still asserts itself. My Minor League Baseball Encyclopedia (admittedly from a few years ago) lists the Florida State League, the Midwest League and Northwest League simply as “A”.

          • Luke

            I agree the short season label is less important with the advent of advanced metrics, but, for instance, say you hear that a guy hit 23 HR in A ball.  Did he do it in a full 140 game season in the MidWest League?  Or a much shorter season in the NorthWest League?  That’s why I like to get the short season label right up front.

            And the seasons should be capitalized.  I’m completely with you on that one.

          • MichaelD

            Also some teams do not have Short-Season A teams. So the Low-A/High-A for their two A affiliates seems more natural.

            • Luke

              There is at least one team that still has two Low A teams and no High A, I believe.  Unless that has changed in the past few seasons.

            • Brett

              Why doesn’t A/High A still work? Seems pretty clear to me.

              “Which is higher, A or High A?”

      • fivetoolmike

        Regardless, as noted below by others, Short Season is the most important part of the distinction.

        • Brett

          I disagree – the caliber of competition is at least as important a distinction. It’s all chicken and egg, though – the caliber of competition is lesser because it’s short season. It’s short season because it’s younger kids who’ve often already played a bunch that year. It’s lesser competition because it’s younger kids. The circle completes.

          I’m going to stick with my nomenclature, but I tend to also always mention that it’s short season.