October 2012

MiLBY Voting Is In

The Dash finished sixth in voting for the 2012 “Team of the Year” MiLBY award, Minor League Baseball announced this morning.

Winston-Salem received eight percent of the votes and finished ahead of Elizabethton, Vancouver, St. Lucie, Wisconsin, Akron and Springfield. All of these teams except for St. Lucie won their league’s championship in September.

The Hudson Valley Renegades, Tampa Bay’s short-season A affiliate and the New York-Penn League’s champion, won the Fans’ Choice MiLBY by mustering an impressive 29 percent of the votes. The Asheville Tourists, Colorado’s Low-A unit, finished second in the voting but claimed the Staff’s Choice MiLBY after winning the South Atlantic League crown and finishing behind only Winston-Salem for the top regular season mark in full-season minor league baseball.

The Dash also fell just short of besting three Triple-A clubs–Reno, Pawtucket and Indianapolis–in the vote. That trio finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Winston’s 87-51 record was the best in full-season baseball, and the Dash also finished with a minor league-best 48 victories at home. The Dash’s playoff run fell short in the Mills Cup Finals, though, when Lynchburg won the best-of-five set in four games.

Thanks to all the fans who supported the Dash by voting online! Winston-Salem could still take home a MiLBY when the “Home Run of the Year” is announced Friday. Keenyn Walker’s homer against highly-touted prospect Dylan Bundy from July 20 is one of 12 nominees.

Here is a full list of the nominees and winners.

– Brian

World Series With The Dash

The Dash hosted a World Series Game 1 party for season ticket holders Wednesday night in the Womble Carlyle Club. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a great event. If you are interested in taking advantage of these types of opportunities by securing season tickets, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 today!

Here are a few pictures from the fun Wednesday night (thanks to Kayla Sherrill for the photographic mastery):

Have a great weekend!

– Brian

Sandoval’s Big Day In MiLB Terms

(Photo by David J. Phillip/AP via New York Daily News)

Pablo Sandoval became the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game last night. Only 12 big leaguers accomplished this feat during the 2012 regular season.

How about minor league baseball? There were 20, and here are some interesting stats on it.

  • Three full-season leagues (Southern League, Carolina League and Midwest League) did not have a three-homer game this season.
  • Only one player hit three long balls in a game for a short-season team. Robert Maddox III (a proud Ohio University alum like me) slugged three home runs on the Fourth of July for the Billings Mustangs against Helena.
  • Sandoval singled in his other” at-bat last night, while the minor leagues’ crop of three-homer kids posted just a .172 average (5-for-29) in their other at-bats during these special games.
  • The hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and California League each boasted six instances of three homers to pace all circuits.
  • High Desert’s Steve Proscia was the only player in the minors to boast two games of three home runs (April 19 and July 14).
  • A pair of White Sox farmhands accomplished the feat: Ross Wilson, who finished the season in Winston-Salem, hit three homers for Low-A Kannapolis April 27, and Triple-A Charlotte’s Conor Jackson followed suit with three bombs June 21.
  • Below is a chronological list of the 20 occurrences in the minors this season.

April 18 – Stockton’s A.J. Kirby-Jones v. Lake Elsinore
April 19 – High Desert’s Steven Proscia v. Island Empire
April 22 – Sacramento’s Chris Carter v. Reno
April 24 – Toledo’s Brad Eldred v. Columbus
April 27 – Kannapolis’ Ross Wilson v. Augusta
May 11 – Lancaster’s George Springer v. Lake Elsinore
May 12 – Erie’s Tony Plagman v. Altoona
May 19 – Buffalo’s Vinny Rottino v. Indianapolis
June 1 – Las Vegas’ Moises Sierra v. Tucson
June 3 – Oklahoma City’s Mike Hessman v. Iowa
June 10 – Jupiter’s Marcell Ozuna v. Bradenton
June 21 – Charlotte’s Conor Jackson v. Columbus
June 22 – Frisco’s Chris McGuiness v. Corpus Christi
June 25 – Stockton’s Josh Whitaker v. San Jose
June 29 – Salt Lake City’s Cory Aldridge v. Las Vegas
July 1 – Rancho Cucamonga’s Joc Pederson v. High Desert
July 4 – Billings’ Robert Maddox III v. Helena
July 14 – High Desert’s Steven Proscia v. Stockton
August 16 – Midland’s Conner Crumbliss v. Northwest Arkansas
August 18 – Las Vegas’ Ricardo Nanita v. Sacramento

It is an exclusive club in the World Series and in the minor leagues. Congrats to Pablo Sandoval and to this group of minor league players!

– Brian

BB&T Ballpark Needs Your Help


BB&T Ballpark is minor league baseball’s toughest place to play over the last three years. This week, Dash fans can once again provide a home field advantage.

The Dash’s gorgeous home is a finalist in Baseball America’s Battle of the Ballparks, and fan voting will determine if BB&T Ballpark will be featured in the 2013 Great Parks Calendar.

The opponent is Fifth Third Field, the home of the Toledo MudHens (Triple-A, Detroit). You can hype it as the “Battle of the Banks,” the “White Sox revenge over Detroit,” or any other fancy name you want to give it.

Voting takes place at this link, and fans must like Baseball America’s page in order to vote.

If you share your vote for BB&T Ballpark on your facebook page, you will be entered into a drawing for a Dash prize pack and a free 2013 Great Parks Calendar. The catch is, BB&T Ballpark must win for the giveaways to reach the hands of some lucky Dash fans.

You can vote once per day, and the contest stretches until Friday. Help BB&T Ballpark make the 2013 Great Parks Calendar!

– Brian

Thanks For The Help, Winston-Salem

The Dash have done plenty of high-fiving after games at BB&T Ballpark (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The offseason brings with it a chance to reflect on the Dash’s season and recent history. With that as the motivation, I explored Winston-Salem’s successes both at home and overall, and some tremendous facts came from this research.

First off, the Dash boast the best home record in full-season minor league baseball since 2010, the debut season at BB&T Ballpark.

In other words, BB&T Ballpark is the toughest place to play in the minor leagues since its opening April 13, 2010.

Winston posted a 48-23 mark at home this season, which was tops among the 120 full-season clubs. The Dash also thrived at home in their debut season at BB&T Ballpark in 2010 (47-22) before following up with a solid 2011 showing in the Triad (39-32).

Also, the Dash’s drive to the top mark in the minors this season propelled Winston-Salem into the conversation for best minor league team since 2010.

The franchise is 237-180-1 (.568) over the last three seasons, which is the third-best overall record in the minors during that span.

Only the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (244-177; .580) and San Jose Giants (241-179; .574) have been better than the Dash in the last three seasons.

The Dash have had some great players come through Winston-Salem, but fan support helps a ton, too. You, the fans, have brought almost one million fans to BB&T Ballpark since its opening, and this support, the best in the Carolina League, has aided the Dash’s incredible three-year run.

Thanks, fans!

– Brian

Dash Dominate Organization All-Stars

Trayce Thompson has “a chance to be a superstar if everything clicks.” (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

It’s still early, but the Dash are tied for an almost-unbeatable record.

Minor League Baseball is in the process of releasing its 2012 Organization All-Stars, and today was the White Sox turn. This All-Star team features 12 players (one player at each position in the lineup plus a right-handed starter, a southpaw starter and a reliever). Of those 12 players, 11 of them played in Winston-Salem during the 2012 campaign.

Only the Bowie Baysox, Baltimore’s Double-A affiliate, has also placed 11 players on their organization’s All-Star team. There are still 24 teams to go in the countdown, but it will be tough for a team to finish with a perfect 12-for-12. Quite frankly, I’m surprised there was another team with 11 already.

You can read about all 11 Dash representatives here. We won’t highlight all of them because Minor League Baseball does a great job of that in the article, but a few quotes from Nick Capra, the organization’s Director of Player Development, are worth noting.

On Carlos Sanchez, who shined with Winston-Salem during the season’s first half and held his own with Triple-A Charlotte during their run to the Governors’ Cup Finals:

“He’s going to be a special player. He has great instincts, can play both second and short and is a solid switch-hitter, with maybe a little more power from the right side.”

On Brady Shoemaker, who was the Dash’s MVP during the first half Southern Division title run and had some tough luck while with Double-A Birmingham in the second half:

“He really hit the ball on the nose there but had some bad luck with balls going right at people. He was one of the most consistent hitters we had in the organization this season.”

On Trayce Thompson, who led the Carolina League with 90 RBI before making his way to Triple-A Charlotte in the final few weeks of the season:

“He has a chance to be a superstar if everything clicks. He covers a lot of ground in the outfield and has an above-average arm. The strikeouts are a concern, but he’s still young and still making adjustments — and anyone in baseball will take a guy with that kind of talent and 25 homers and 90 RBIs.”

On Keenyn Walker, who showed some tremendous potential during his two-month stint in Winston at the end of the season:

“He’s another young guy who’s still making adjustments. He hasn’t played a ton of baseball and needs to learn to make contact and hit with two strikes, but honestly, he made about as much progress as anyone in the system this season.”

This system did not receive a ton of respect at the start of the season, but they earned plenty of it after a highly successful 2012 season. Much of that success either started or continued in Winston-Salem, which resulted in minor league baseball’s best record.

It was quite a season at BB&T Ballpark, and this All-Star team is yet another example.

– Brian

Most Exciting Team In The Land?

Michael Earley adds another honor to his great 2012 season (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The Dash had an exciting season in 2012, and a handful of players earned recognition for that in a player poll regarding the minors’ most exciting player.

Minor League Baseball polled 382 players, and five men who donned the Dash purple in 2012 earned at least one vote.  Michael Earley, Marcus Semien, Scott Snodgress, Kevin Vance and Blair Walters found their way onto this list.

Only 15 players earned more than two votes, with Billy Hamilton receiving more votes than anyone else with 40. Mike Trout finished second with 26, while fellow big leaguer Bryce Harper placed third with 13.

Former Winston-Salem star Ian Gac, who won the Carolina League’s Most Valuable Player award last year, made the list, too. He played with Double-A Mississippi in the Braves’ system this season.

Who was the Dash’s most exciting player in your opinion? There are plenty to choose from, whether he is in this quintet or outside of it.

– Brian

All’s Well In Arizona

Taylor Thompson and the rest of the Dash contingent are off to a 2-0 start with Salt River in the Arizona Fall League (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Through two games in the Arizona Fall League, a handful of prospects have represented the Dash and White Sox well.

The Salt River Rafters are off to a 2-0 start in AFL play, and Dash alumni have played a key role.

In Salt River’s season-opening 6-5 win Tuesday, Trayce Thompson went 1-for-2 with a pair of RBI. Thompson has reached base in five of his nine plate appearances during the season’s first two games.

Also in the opener, Carlos Sanchez went 1-for-3 with a run scored, and Andy Wilkins hit a solo shot in the sixth for his lone knock.

Last night, the Rafters rolled to an 11-3 triumph. While the offense was the story for Salt River, a pair of former Dash righties shined out of the bullpen. Salvador Sanchez, a late addition to the AFL roster, tossed an inning and a third of scoreless relief. Taylor Thompson, who finished the season as the Dash’s best option in the back-end of the bullpen, twirled an easy eighth inning, whiffing two and walking one.

Salt River, the AFL’s lone remaining unbeaten squad, takes to the diamond again tonight at 9:35 EST against Scottsdale.

– Brian

Track Dash Alums In Arizona

The Dash’s season may be over, but there are a handful of Winston-Salem alumni who will be playing for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, and their season begins tonight at 9:35 p.m. EST against the Mesa Solar Sox.

The AFL features some of minor league baseball’s top prospects, and each of the six teams on the circuit consists of representatives from five different MLB organizations. The Rafters boast prospects from the White Sox, Astros, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Tigers.

The White Sox have sent seven players to Salt River for the 2012 AFL season, and all of them made a stop in Winston-Salem en route to this opportunity. Pitchers Andre Rienzo, Santos Rodriguez, Salvador Sanchez and Taylor Thompson are with the Rafters, along with infielders Carlos Sanchez and Andy Wilkins and outfielder Trayce Thompson.

The Rafters will play 32 games over the next few weeks, and fans can track all of the AFL action here.

And if you have never heard of the AFL before, check out this list of AFL Hall of Famers. What a group.

– Brian

Three Winston-Salem Stars Honored

Erik Johnson became the Dash’s ace after his promotion in July (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Baseball America released its Top 20 Prospects ranking for the Carolina League, and three men who donned the Dash purple this season made the list.

Infielder Carlos Sanchez placed sixth, which was the highest ranking for a Winston-Salem player. Righty Erik Johnson is 11th on the list, while outfielder Trayce Thompson checks in at 18th.

The 20-year-old Sanchez led all Carolina League qualifiers with a .315 batting average. In 92 games with the Dash, Sanchez scored 58 times and drove in another 42 runs. A member of the World Team in the 2012 MLB Futures Game, Sanchez earned promotions to Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte before the season ended.

Johnson joined the Dash July 21 and went 4-3 with a 2.74 earned run average in eight starts. He was the club’s Game 1 starter in their playoff run last month. Before his stint in Winston-Salem, the former California Golden Bear boasted a 2.30 ERA in nine efforts with Low-A Kannapolis.

Finally, Thompson slugged his way to a spot on this prestigious list. The former second-round pick finished tied for the league lead with 22 home runs, and he paced the circuit with 90 RBI. Like Sanchez, Thompson also made a stop in Double-A Birmingham before finishing the season with Triple-A Charlotte during its playoff run in the International League.

Only Salem and Myrtle Beach (four apiece) had more players on this list. Frederick’s Dylan Bundy finished atop the rankings, followed by a Salem triumvirate of Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Myrtle’s Cody Buckel finished in fifth.

Interestingly enough, the only player on this list who never appeared in a game at BB&T Ballpark was Potomac’s Nathan Karns, who finished 15th overall.

Congrats to Carlos, Erik and Trayce!

– Brian