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Cubs Instructional League snapshots: Alfonso Rivas, Manuel Espinoza, Danis Correa

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Next in a series about Cubs prospects playing in Arizona this fall.

Alfonso Rivas playing for the Cubs during spring training 2020
Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

My series continues on players invited to the Cubs Instructional Camp. Games will be played, whether we end up seeing boxscores or not. The list I'm working with is the players eligible to play in the games. A few others are in attendance for lab work, bullpen sessions, and other sundries. Nonetheless, I plan designate some homework time to each player on the list of 47.

Incidentally, I've made a statistical executive decision. When referring to hitters' statistics, my lean will be toward batting average and OPS. Even though many of you might be in the "batting averages are worthless" camp, I believe it does have some value, and you can likely find a player's on-base percentage easily enough. If you want to learn about baseball, I would like to be a part of your laboratory of learning, regardless your preferences.

Alfonso Rivas went to the University of Arizona in Tucson. If you're looking for a college baseball program to follow, and you're more Tucson than Phoenix, the Wildcats are a solid follow. Rivas' freshman team now boasts three current MLB players in Bobby Dalbec, Jared Oliva, and Kevin Ginkel. Rivas attended the same high school as Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman.

In his three years in Tucson, his numbers (BA and OPS) were .251 and .667, .371 and 1.013, and .342 and .954. A fourth round selection by the Athletics in 2018, he played most of the season in 2019 in Advanced-A at Stockton with .285 and .791. Not eye-popping or earth-shattering, but better than the Cubs have usually gotten from second-day bats in their first year.

Speaking of Tucson, if you were to drive about 12 hours south-southeast from there, you might end up in Culican Rosales, Sinoloa, Mexico, the home of Manuel Espinoza. He tossed 47 innings for the Dominican League Cubs in 2019, walking only nine hitters. The 6-foot righthander turns 20 in mid-November, and only needed one year to get out of Boca Chica, the Cubs DSL site. As information is scant from the DSL, and anything from 2019 is about obsolete anyway, that he's upright is enough for me.

In my podcast in the same series, I spent a bit of time talking about Cartegena, Colombia, the hometown of Danis Correa, and another player I've wanted to talk about came up in my research: Gio Urshela. A regular for a few off-seasons on the DFA wire, he finally figured out the hitting thing with the Yankees. As much as other people want to banter Yu Darvish or Trevor Bauer for the Cy Young Award, that's the type of banter I'd appreciate regarding potential waiver wire claims, or DFA trades, beforehand. The Cubs added Alec Mills on a DFA wire trade. Those low-end gambles fascinate me.

Correa split time in 2018 between the Dominican and Arizona Leagues. That's a bit of an oddity, though not unique to Correa. If 2020 had provided a minor-league season, he might well have spent his summer in Eugene, Oregon. A definite lottery ticket, Correa missed the 2019 campaign with injury.