When the minor league season ends, prospects are frequently scattered to the four corners. Some go on to play in organized leagues that you’ve probably heard of, such as the Arizona Fall League, the Dominican Winter League, etc. Others go home with instructions on what they should work on (physically), and won’t be back, formally, until February. And others, still, go to Mesa, Arizona to participate in “instructional league.”

The gist of instructionals is that players play some more games, but they also get one-on-one instructional attention, giving youngsters an opportunity to focus on improving certain aspects of their game, within the context of a coached league. Instructionals are most frequently populated by recent draftees/signees, who didn’t play a full minor league season (but who probably did play a full high school or college season), as well as other young prospects who, for example, played only in a short season league (AZL or NWL).

So it is for the Chicago Cubs this year, whose instructional team will feature a host of 2012 draft picks, as well as Cuban signees Jorge Soler and Gerardo Concepcion, Dominican signee Juan Paniagua, and 2011 picks Dillon Maples, Dan Vogelbach, Shawon Dunston, Jr., and Trevor Gretzky. Established, but still young, prospects like Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, and Jeimer Candelario will also participate.

The full roster, courtesy of Carrie Muskat:


Jose Arias, Dallas Beeler, Paul Blackburn, Gerardo Concepcion, Nathan Dorris, Corbin Hoffner, Pierce Johnson, Trey Lang, Dillon Maples, Chad Martin, Carlos Martinez, Ryan McNeil, Juan Paniagua, Stephen Perakslis, Starling Peralta, Anthony Prieto, Austin Reed, Duane Underwood, Ben Wells.


Wilson Contreras, Chadd Krist, Rafael Lopez, Justin Marra, Lance Rymel.


Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, David Bote, Stephen Bruno, Jeimer Candelario, Ben Carhart, Marco Hernandez, Jesse Hodges, Carlos Penalver, Jacob Rogers, Tim Saunders, Dan Vogelbach.


Albert Almora, Yasiel Balaguert, Shawon Dunston Jr., Trevor Gretzky, Trey Martin, Bijan Rademacher, Jorge Soler.

Instructionals last about a month, and the games begin on September 21.

  • Deer

    Really hope they can teach Concepcion to not suck.

    • Melrosepad

      If memory serves, didn’t he get mono and if that is the case, it probably was a big reason why his numbers and velocity were poor.

      • hansman1982

        That was Hayden Simpson – Concepcion may have been over-valued by a portion of the Cubs fan base based off the signing bonus/contract he received.

        • Jeremy

          no, Conception also got Mono this year as well.

          • hansman1982

            that’s right…he didn’t have quite the case that Simpson had but both did.

        • ETS

          Both had mono, if I recall correctly.

      • AB

        Concepcion sucked before he had mono

        This is a guy who barely struck out 5 batters/9 innings in Cuba. I’d bet he’s not in most people’s top 20. He’s more of a project than anything.

        • ETS

          Could be. Concepcion is at a point in his career you are going to have to rely more on scouting reports than #s.

  • BD

    That roster gives me hope.

    • swaz46

      Exactly what I was thinking as I read that list.

  • MightyBear

    Really hope Pierce Johnson and JC Paniagua turn out to be superstars among others.

  • Chris

    Brett, any unofficial word on the Cubs and Kane County Cougars? They’ve kept it pretty quiet since the first report in August, possibly due to the potential penalty for premature negotiation. I know they could technically sign the PDC starting yesterday, but I’m guessing maybe we’ll hear something today. Just wondering if you’ve heard anything semi-concrete.

    • cubbiesOHcubbies

      Semi-concrete???? Is that like sort of pregnant?

      • Tommy

        You become ‘sort of pregnant’ after ‘premature negotiations’.

        • Professional_High_A

          Boom got’em

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing. I was surprised not to hear yesterday, actually.

  • Cedlandrum

    Hmm wonder where Austin Urban is in his rehab. I thought we might see him at instructs. maybe he is going to wait till the spring. Either way it would be good to have him throwing again.

    Anyone heard anything about him?

  • JB88

    Glad to see all the Cubs’ top arms are in the instructional league. I’m really hoping the Cubs take a more hand’s on approach to developing their pitching in the offseason.

  • MightyBear

    I totally agree with you.

  • Teddy Ballgame

    Great to see Vogelbach on this list. To me, Vogelbach, Soler, and Almora are the three most intriguing position players in our system. During BP this weekend at Wrigley, Almora was hitting line drive after line drive. You can tell the power he has. Soler’s BP on Saturday was a little shaky at first. By his 3rd round in the cage he hit 3 absolutely monstrous balls onto Waveland. Kingman-esque. I know it’s BP, but I think you can see “natural power” a player has. Vogelbach would be getting his Glenallen Hill on if he hit at Wrigley…

    • hansman1982

      Either you forgot about Baez or you grossly overrate Vogelbach.

  • Teddy Ballgame

    Baez is definitely up there, but I just meant intriguing. My best players list has Baez at #1 for posiitonal players and maybe overall.

  • Alex

    Hey Brett! Have you heard how Reggie Golden is doing with his rehab? Will he be playing anywhere this winter to prepare for Spring Training?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I have not. It’s a 10 to 12 month injury for most, so although I’d expect that he’ll be back to baseball activities this Fall, I wouldn’t necessarily expect games before next Spring.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    Surprised to see Dallas Beeler on the instructional roster; especially since he spent the entire year at AA Tennessee. Any insight here?

    I really like this kid, and thought he had a pretty decent year. His run support was not good and I thought he pitched well at times.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on why he is at instructional ball?


    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For him, it could simply be a matter of the Cubs wanting more looks at him before they have to make a 40-man roster decision (it doesn’t seem like he’d be a potential Rule 5 pick, but maybe the Cubs know more than we do). Or maybe they want to work on his mechanics or a certain pitch. I thought his season was actually rather disappointing (1.574 WHIP, BB rate skyrocketed from an awesomely low level to a rather weak 3.2/9, and his K rate plummeted to just 4.6/9). He seemed to regress pretty badly from the year before.

    • Cedlandrum

      My guess is that they want him to work on a certain pitch. Probably an out pitch. He just doesn’t miss bats at all. He has the physical tools and from all reports the mental makeup to be a good pitcher, but Brett is right statistically he was not good this year.

      That is my thought anyway. Don’t know this for a fact just surmising.