The White Sox are currently playing their first exhibition game of the season, and three of the Dash’s owners–Billy Prim, Jimmy Strickland and Bryan Andrews–are in Glendale taking in the sights and sounds of Spring Training.
The view from Camelback Ranch. This is Jose Abreu’s first plate appearance as a member of the White Sox organization.
Tommy Thompson will return to Winston-Salem to lead the Dash in April. From left to right: Strickland, Thompson, Prim and Andrews.
Tim Anderson could very well start the season in the Triad. From left to right: Andrews, Prim, Anderson and Strickland.
A blast from the past! Former Dash manager Joe McEwing and pitching coach Bobby Thigpen are now with the White Sox. From left to right: Andrews, Prim, McEwing, Thigpen and Strickland.
We’ll keep you posted on the start of the White Sox exhibition slate. Have a great weekend.
The White Sox first and only intrasquad game of the spring took place yesterday, and multiple players thrived. However, the non-roster invitee who stood out was 2013 Dash All-Star Chris Beck, who logged a pair of scoreless innings including a perfect first.
According to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com, Beck faced the minimum while squaring off with a lineup that could be very similar to the White Sox starting nine on Opening Day.
Padilla mentioned that Beck has the attention of longtime White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper:
After his solid 2013 season, Beck moved into Baseball America’s top-10 list of White Sox prospects, and pitching coach Don Cooper has often included him when talking about long shot candidates for the Opening Day rotation.
Beck is one of the smartest pitchers I have been around. The question mark around the right-hander prior to the 2012 MLB Draft was his conditioning. He worked as hard as any Dash hurler a year ago, and Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago wrote about Beck’s conditioning tweaks over the last year.
In essence, the White Sox urged Beck to work harder in the gym, and he did after he was drafted in the second round. However, he emphasized the wrong muscles and body parts. Over the last 12 months, a different program has resulted in a great deal of success for the former Georgia Southern product.
If the intelligent Beck is also feeling better about his physical condition than he ever has, then the White Sox stole him in the 2012 Draft. He has already raised some eyebrows in White Sox camp, and fans in Chicago should keep an eye on the righty.
Here are a few other notes from Glendale and beyond:
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com highlighted Rick Hahn’s efforts as the White Sox General Manager. It remains to be seen if all of his moves will result in success at the big league level, but most around the game feel that Hahn has done a tremendous job thus far in Chicago.
- Happy belated birthday to Jerry Reinsdorf, the White Sox chairman, who turned 78 on Tuesday.
- The Sox announced their 2014 promotional schedule, and a Chris Sale bobblehead is the main attraction. Check it out here.
- Elsewhere, there is a unique study taking place at Mercyhurst University. The short version is that experts are analyzing the effectiveness of a pitch count on a pitcher’s arm. The full story is worth the read, and the results will be fascinating when they are released at some point in the next few years.
Some teams are kicking off their Spring Training schedule today. The White Sox begin on Friday! Thanks for reading.
While we gear up for another temperature dip in Winston-Salem, the White Sox are chugging along in warm Glendale, Ariz., with their first spring training game just three days away. Here are some news and notes from an exciting time of the baseball calendar.
- The White Sox first spring training game is Friday against the Dodgers, but the club will suit up for an intrasquad game later today. While many fans will pay attention to Jose Abreu’s first trip to the plate as a member of the organization, Dash fans should keep their eyes on the men throwing the pitches. Per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago, Winston-Salem alumni Chris Bassitt, Chris Beck, Andre Rienzo and Scott Snodgress will pitch two innings Tuesday. Charlie Leesman, Brian Omogrosso and Jake Petricka are also expected to pitch in the game.
- Speaking of Bassitt, Grantland’s Jonah Keri (one of the best baseball writers out there) offered up one non-roster spring invitee for each American League organization who intrigued him, and the 2013 Carolina League All-Star was the White Sox prospect. I encourage you to check out the full article here, but here was the most interesting line: The Sox hope Bassitt has the repertoire to eventually become a back-of-the-rotation starter, and at some point this season we could see his nasty sinker in the majors.”
- Hayes also penned a story regarding the White Sox catching situation, and Tyler Flowers has the early advantage over 2010 Dash alum Josh Phegley. Phegley, in essence, replaced Flowers as the Sox catcher after thriving with Triple-A Charlotte during last season’s first half. However, Phegley did not light it up, and Flowers is likely to get the chance to bounce back from a tough 2013.
- Micah Johnson led Minor League Baseball in stolen bases during his three-stop 2013 in Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Kannapolis, and Scott Merkin of MLB.com chatted with the likable infield prospect about the art of stealing a base. The best line? Johnson said this: “Really, it’s an art form, and it’s something you are born with. It’s an instinct you have.”
- The Dash’s season begins in just 37 days! The schedule is set for every home and road game (along with first pitch times). I encourage you to check out our schedule downloads page, where you can equip yourself with our schedule for 2014.
We will keep you posted on the White Sox all spring long. Baseball is almost here!
Most outlets believe the White Sox farm system has improved significantly over the last couple of years. Even though a system is not completely defined by its top few players, boasting multiple top-flight prospects goes a long way in public perception.
Baseball America released its Top 100 Prospect List in advance of the 2014 season, and the White Sox claimed four of the players on the list. A year ago, Chicago only had one Top 100 farmhand (Courtney Hawkins at 55).
This year, a pair of Dash alumni represented the White Sox. Righty Erik Johnson, who is a favorite to corral a rotation spot in The Show, checks in at 63, while fellow Cal product Marcus Semien, a versatile infielder who had a monster 2013 season, is at 91.
Two newly-acquired prospects rounded out Chicago’s representatives. Free agent signing Jose Abreu, who figures into Chicago’s big league plans this year, was the top-ranked White Sox product on the list by collecting the 29 slot. Matt Davidson, who came over from Arizona in the Addison Reed trade during the offseason, is at 72.
For comparison, here is how the White Sox stacked up to other big league clubs represented in the Carolina League on the Top 100 Prospect List:
Atlanta (Lynchburg) – 2
Baltimore (Frederick) – 3
Boston (Salem) – 8
Cleveland (Carolina) – 3
Kansas City (Wilmington) – 4
Texas (Myrtle Beach) – 5
Washington (Potomac) – 1
Outside of Boston’s significant lead, the White Sox are right there, especially when you consider Texas had two of the last four players on the list. Regardless, the reality is that Chicago’s system is on the upswing, and the talent that could come through Winston-Salem in 2014 is impressive, too. Fans should not be surprised to see even more newcomers on this list from the White Sox system in 2015.
Check out some of the sights after Winter Storm Pax rolled through Winston-Salem. We hope all of our fans are safe and warm after this inclement weather.
First and foremost, I arrived at the ballpark this morning to see this view after my baseball equipment experiment…
After some digging, I learned that the base and the bat fell down due to the wind associated with the storm. I cleared off some of the snow and lined them up again.
The bat (laying in the background) was obviously taller than the snow, and the base barely emerged. However, the helmet was completely submerged, as you can see by this photo after I dug it out of the snow.
So, in other words, it snowed more than a helmet and almost as much as a base. Here are a few other shots from BB&T Ballpark.
No green showing at this point.
The dugout isn’t quite baseball ready.
You can’t even see the steps!
Because of the snowy conditions, Bolt tried his luck at some sledding…
Bolt even made some new friends while out on the hill…
By this time tomorrow, Winston-Salem will be covered in snow and ice. We thought it would be fun to figure out, in baseball terms, how much snow we will receive.
As you can see in the picture below, we have lined up four baseball objects at BB&T Ballpark in advance of the storm. They will remain like that until the snow ends. The question is–how many of these items will be covered in snow by the end of the storm?
What are your predictions? How far will the snow cover the bat? Can the helmet and the base stand tall over the snow? We will post the results once the storm blows through.
On a serious note, please stay safe during this dangerous storm. Drive slowly and alertly, because roads will be in bad shape.
For the first time this winter, Winston-Salem received a significant amount of snow. We captured some of the sights from before, during and after the storm.
The snow began during the early afternoon hours yesterday, and it came down for a few hours.
It was relieving to know we were only 65 days away from Opening Day during yesterday’s storm.
Even though it creates some tough driving conditions, snow always creates awesome images. Check out the sun-drenched entrance to BB&T Ballpark this afternoon.
These walkways will be buzzing in about two months.
Snow even covered the seats closest to the field.
A batter’s eye view of a snowy view.
BB&T Ballpark looks good in any weather.
And here is the “before” look…well before the storm. These stands will be packed in 64 days for the Dash’s Opening Day!
MLB released its Top 100 prospects Thursday night, and a pair of White Sox prospects qualified for the list.
Right-hander Erik Johnson placed 70th on the list, while newly-acquired infielder Matt Davidson slotted 80th. Last season’s lone White Sox qualifier, outfielder Courtney Hawkins, did not make this year’s Top 100.
At the end of the 2012 season, Johnson was Winston-Salem’s ace, posting a 2.74 earned run average in eight starts down the stretch. Last year, the former California Golden Bear dominated between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte to the tune of a 12-3 record and a 1.96 ERA.
Johnson earned a September promotion to Chicago, where he went 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in five impressive starts. He will not be a prospect for long because “Puma” has a great chance to be in the Sox rotation on Opening Day.
And hey, if this baseball thing does not work out for Johnson, he could always go into sales. Check out the great video below of Johnson and former Dash shortstop Marcus Semien making sales calls for the White Sox, courtesy of whitesox.com.
The White Sox acquired Davidson from Arizona for former Winston-Salem flamethrower Addison Reed. Davidson also figures to play in Chicago for some or all of the 2014 season. He hit .237 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 31 games with the Diamondbacks late last year.
MLB.com’s Top 20 White Sox prospect list is available here (which does not jive with the Top 100 countdown, as Davidson tops the group). An impressive 12 players on this list have played in the Triad at some point in their minor league journeys.
Two weeks ago, Baseball America released its Top 10 White Sox prospect list. While this list is one of the most well-regarded compilations nationally, our friends at FutureSox put together the best list on the internet among White Sox-only sites. FutureSox’s preseason Top 25 is out, and the Dash are well represented.
Of Chicago’s 25 best prospects, a whopping 13 have played in Winston-Salem at some point in their minor league career. This number includes eight alums in the Top 12.
I encourage you to check out the entire list, which includes justification for the top 10 players. Here is the placement of the 13 former Dash players:
2. RHP Erik Johnson
4. INF Marcus Semien
6. OF Courtney Hawkins
7. RHP Chris Beck
9. INF Micah Johnson
10. OF Trayce Thompson
11. RHP Daniel Webb
12. INF Carlos Sanchez
15. RHP Jake Petricka
16. LHP Scott Snodgress
18. RHP Chris Bassitt
21. INF Rangel Ravelo
23. RHP Myles Jaye
A few notes from this list:
- If it weren’t for the signing of Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, Erik Johnson would be the top prospect. The exciting thing for White Sox fans is that both should be in Chicago in April.
- It has been quite a 12-month period for Marcus Semien. At this point last year, he was coming off a solid season in Winston-Salem. Very few people could have predicted his quick rise near the top of the Sox prospect rankings, but he was one of the hardest workers I have seen in my two seasons here in Winston-Salem. I’m thrilled for him.
- This time last year, Carlos Sanchez was the hot prospect. Sure, he did not wow in 2013, but the Venezuela native is still only 21 years old. He is still a legitimate prospect in the system despite coming back to earth a bit in 2013.
- I’m happy to see Chris Bassitt appear on a prospect list. I think people were waiting to see if his strong end to the 2012 season as a starting pitcher would carry over into last season, and it certainly did. He should also appear on Baseball America’s Top 30 rankings, which will come out later this offseason.
- Do not be surprised to see both Rangel Ravelo and Myles Jaye continue to climb from the low 20s. Both had strong efforts in 2013, and if they can find similar success in Double-A, they will garner even more praise.
As always, thanks to the guys at FutureSox. Matt Cassidy, one of the site’s main writers, visited Winston-Salem late last season and compiled some great videos. They do a great job with their coverage, and I encourage you to check out all their content here.
The 2012 season was a special one in Winston-Salem. Thanks to the White Sox 2014 field staff assignments, the three leaders of that squad are back for another go-around this summer.
Tommy Thompson will lead the Dash this season, with pitching coach J.R. Perdew and hitting coach Gary Ward also returning to the Triad.
The Dash’s 2012 season was one for the record books. Here are some of my favorite stats from that season:
- The Dash finished with the best record in full-season Minor League Baseball (87-51-1), narrowly edging out the Asheville Tourists (Low-A, Colorado) and the Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A, Pittsburgh) for the top mark.
- This record is good for the second-best mark in the 110-year history of the franchise. Only the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals (106-47) had a better record. That team is the best in the history of the Carolina League.
- Thompson won the circuit’s Manager of the Year Award, which was Winston’s third in the previous four years. Dan Black collected the club’s second straight Most Valuable Player honor.
- The Dash went 15-3-3 in home series and never suffered a sweep at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem’s 48-23 home record was the best in full-season Minor League Baseball.
- Five players from that squad have already advanced to the big leagues, while 14 others have made it to Triple-A since appearing on that team.
- These three men led the Carolina League past the California League 9-1 in the 2012 California-Carolina League All-Star Game. That victory snapped the Carolina League’s three-game losing streak in the series.
There is no question that Tommy, J.R. and Gary will have a tough time replicating the success they shared during the 2012 season. However, Winston-Salem fans have to be excited about what their reunion could mean for the Dash in 2014.