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.