Results tagged ‘ Andre Rienzo ’

Spring (training) is in the air

Josh Phegley has some work to do to be Chicago's Opening Day catcher (Saul McSween/W-S Dash).

Josh Phegley has some work to do to be Chicago’s Opening Day catcher (Saul McSween/W-S Dash).

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!

- Brian

The first 2014 White Sox prospect list

Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America's White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Speedster Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America’s White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Baseball America is, in many ways, the bible of baseball prospects. Few publications examine Minor League Baseball more thoroughly than Baseball America, which has released its 2014 White Sox Top 10 Prospect list.

Over the last few seasons, Baseball America has been critical of the White Sox system, but the publication believes that the system is making significant progress:

For the first time since at least 2000, when the White Sox had the game’s No. 2 farm system, the organization has prospect depth.

How can one best illustrate this depth? Let’s take a look at Baseball America’s Top 10 list from this time last year and compare it to this year’s.

2013 White Sox Top 10:
1. OF Courtney Hawkins
2. OF Trayce Thompson
3. INF Carlos Sanchez
4. RHP Erik Johnson
5. OF Keenyn Walker
6. LHP Scott Snodgress
7. RHP Andre Rienzo
8. INF Keon Barnum
9. OF Jared Mitchell
10. RHP Chris Beck

2014 White Sox Top 10:
1. INF Jose Abreu
2. RHP Erik Johnson
3. INF Tim Anderson
4. INF Matt Davidson
5. INF Marcus Semien
6. INF Micah Johnson
7. OF Courtney Hawkins
8. OF Trayce Thompson
9. RHP Chris Beck
10. OF Jacob May

Only four members of the 2013 list appear on this year’s edition. This reflects the benefits of the transactions the White Sox have made much more than the struggles of a few of these players over the last 12 months.

Not only have these players impressed the White Sox and other baseball people, but many of them have produced at or near the top of the organization. Three of the current Top 10 have played in the big leagues, with Jose Abreu likely to play much of next season on the South Side. Excluding Abreu, only Tim Anderson and Jacob May have yet to play in High-A, and both could start in Winston-Salem in 2014.

Beyond the Top 10 rankings, Baseball America’s “Best Tools” and “Top 15 Players 25 and Under” lists, which can also be viewed here, feature more of Chicago’s minor league depth.

The White Sox had a tough 2013 in The Show, but the farm system should instill plenty of hope in the fan base for 2014 and beyond.

- Brian

Top 10 of 2013 – #4: Four alumni promoted to MLB

MG_EJ_MS_DW_MW_jmywk7bg_c5w9htu6The 2013 season is over, but there were plenty of memorable moments. Over the next two weeks, we will count down the Top 10 moments of the Dash era’s fifth season.

Previous Top 10 Moments:
#10: Dash clinch winning record
#9: Comeback in Delaware
#8: 17 runs in six innings
#7: Buckner sets RBIs record
#6: Attendance record on July 4
#5: Beck, Blough toss gems

Moment #4 – September 3
Four alumni promoted to big leagues

At times, cheering for a Minor League Baseball team can be frustrating. Many players advance to a higher level once they become fan favorites due to their production. However, this fandom frustration goes away whenever one of this temporary favorites jump to the highest level.

The 2013 season was a great one for Dash alumni. In early July, Josh Phegley became the 13th Dash alum to play in Major League Baseball, and he began the pipeline from Winston to the bigs. Andre Rienzo followed suit later that month.

In August, Charlie Leesman made his debut as a spot starter, while Jake Petricka joined the White Sox bullpen for the first time.

However, with respect to these four men and their incredible accomplishments, the biggest day in terms of big league promotions came the day after the Dash concluded their 2013 season. It’s one thing to see four alumni climb to baseball’s grandest stage during the course of the season. It’s much different to hear four former players moving to the big leagues on one day, which is something the White Sox strongly hinted a few days before the official transactions.

Because of Chicago’s rare rough season, the front office aimed to get some young players a taste of the Majors. Miguel Gonzalez, Erik Johnson, Marcus Semien and Daniel Webb benefited from this opportunity with a month of big league experience.

All four players flashed the potential that Winston-Salem fans witnessed over the last few years. Here are their numbers after earning promotions:

- Gonzalez: .222 (2-for-9) in 5 games
- Johnson: 3-2, 3.25 ERA, 27.2 IP, 18 K in 5 starts
- Semien: .261 (18-for-69), 2 HR, 7 RBI in 21 games
- Webb: 0-0, 3.18 ERA, 11.1 IP, 10 K in 9 appearances

The Winston-to-Chicago pipeline had never been busier than it was in 2013, and never was that fact more evident than immediately after the regular season came to an end in the minors. Four men who suited up for the Dash in either 2012 or 2013 were big leaguers. It does not get much better than that.

Only three more moments remain in our Dash Top 10. What will number three be? Find out tomorrow.

- Brian

MLB wins come in pairs

While Winston-Salem is busy wrapping up a victorious road trip, two Dash alumni picked up their first victories at the big league level.

Andre Rienzo, who made his MLB debut late last month in Cleveland, had thrown well in his first four outings with the White Sox. He worked into the sixth inning and held his opposition to four runs or less in all four of those starts; however, he had not picked up a decision until Wednesday night in Kansas City.

In that outing, Rienzo allowed just two runs over six strong innings as the Sox won in Kansas City by a score of 5-2. Little did we know that the Brazilian would not be the only Dash alum to earn his first win in the majors.

One night later, the White Sox and Royals played into the 12th inning, and Jake Petricka was summoned for his big league debut. With two on and one out in the last of the 11th, Petricka induced an inning-ending double play. Conor Gillaspie’s 12th inning blast gave the Sox the lead, so Petricka collected a win in his first big league appearance.

Here are some reactions from Twitter to back-to-back firsts for two former Dash hurlers:

Quite a two-day run for Dash alums in the big leagues. Plus, Winston-Salem and the White Sox have won a combined 10 straight games. In a season of ups and downs, it is a good time to be in this organization.

Stay tuned to the blog for our preview of the Dash’s sweep chance at Potomac.

- Brian

Semien promotion caps big month for Dash alums

Marcus Semien was called-up to Triple-A Charlotte today, after posting MVP-like numbers in Birmingham (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Marcus Semien was called-up to Triple-A Charlotte today after posting MVP-like numbers in Birmingham in 105 games this season (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

July was a good month for Winston-Salem Dash alums as Josh Phegley and Andre Rienzo both made their major league debuts. Other alums have been progressing as well, led by infielder Marcus Semien.  He was promoted from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte earlier today.

The 2012 Dash alum has had an excellent campaign for the Barons, leading the Southern League in hits (114), runs (90), walks (84), on-base percentage (.420) and total bases (190).

The 90 runs is also good for the second-best total in all of Minor League Baseball, behind only Winston-Salem’s Micah Johnson. His numbers have been so good he has garnered some MVP consideration:

Semien joins fellow 2012 Dash alum Michael Earley up in Triple-A after Earley was promoted a few weeks ago. The Indiana University product was hitting .282 with 29 RBIs at the time of his promotion, and has driven in five runs in his first 11 contests as Charlotte’s everyday left fielder. 

Brandon Short will be taking on some of his old teammates this weekend as his new team, Pensacola, travels to Birmingham (Saul McSween/W-S Dash).

Brandon Short will be taking on some of his old teammates this weekend as his new team, Pensacola, travels to Birmingham (Saul McSween/W-S Dash).

Also, outfielder Brandon Short, who spent all of 2010 and part of 2012 here in Winston-Salem, was released by Chicago a few weeks ago. He was signed yesterday by the Cincinnati Reds and assigned to their Double-A affiliate in Pensacola.

Short, who had been playing with Birmingham in 2013, got a lot of support from his former teammates on Twitter, including Chris Bassitt, who was promoted to Double-A a few weeks ago:

Many of his former teammates will have the opportunity to offer their congratulations in person very soon as the Barons welcome Short and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to town tomorrow for the beginning of a five-game series.

Another former White Sox farmhand has found himself a new home as righty Ryan Buch has latched on with the Colorado Rockies’ organization. Buch, who has pitched in Winston-Salem in each of the past three seasons, started with High-A Modesto and has now made his way to the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers.

The Dash are back at BB&T Ballpark tonight to open up a six-game homestand against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Check back later for the preview of today’s series opener.

- Rob

Rienzo’s big league debut

Andre Rienzo arrived in Cleveland to this sight ahead of his first appearance in the majors (Chicago White Sox).

Andre Rienzo arrived to this sight ahead of his first major league start (Chicago White Sox).

As we mentioned yesterday, Brazilian right-hander Andre Rienzo became the 14th Dash alum to get the call to the big leagues and the first Brazilian born pitcher to appear in a major league game.

The 2011 and 2012 alum was given the start last night in Cleveland in place of Jake Peavy, who was scratched amid trade rumors and later dealt to the Boston Red Sox after the game.

Coming off a seven-inning no-hitter in his final start for Triple-A Charlotte last week, Rienzo did not disappoint in his major league debut, striking out six Indians in seven frames of work. He allowed just three runs, all of which were unearned, against a Tribe offense that has the third-most runs scored in the majors.

The righty’s performance impressed media members and teammates alike:

Rienzo also made some history in the third when facing Indians catcher Yan Gomes, as the two became the first pair of Brazilians to face off in a Major League contest:

A few of Rienzo’s former clubs chimed in with their congratulations on the excellent debut:

Plenty of fans showed Rienzo some love after his stellar debut, too:

With Peavy being traded to the Red Sox, this may be a lengthy trip to the big leagues for Rienzo. After his effort last night, he looks like he fits right in at the big league level.

- Rob

Report: Rienzo likely to join White Sox

According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Dash alum Andre Rienzo is likely to join the White Sox and start tonight in Cleveland. Rienzo would take Jake Peavy’s spot in the rotation. Peavy has been all over the rumor mill with the trade deadline on the horizon tomorrow.

Here’s the original tweet from the Chicago Tribune:

The word has gotten out quickly on Twitter, and here is some of the reaction.

Stay tuned throughout the afternoon for more information on this report and Rienzo’s status.

- Brian

Three Dash players among Sox top 20 prospects

Courtney Hawkins has retained the top spot in MLB's rankings in his first full season in pro ball (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins has retained the top spot in MLB’s White Sox rankings (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

With the season roughly three-quarters of the way complete, MLBPipeline.com released its updated top 20 Chicago White Sox prospects yesterday. Three current Winston-Salem players are among the Top 20:

1. OF Courtney Hawkins - .191, 18 HR, 51 RBI, 69 games
6. RHP Chris Beck – 9-8, 3.01 ERA, 101.2 IP, 50 K, 18 starts
16. INF Micah Johnson - .326, 6 RBIs, 12 R, 10 SB, 21 games

The list also includes 10 former Winston-Salem players. This includes RHP Daniel Webb (#18), who started the year in the Triad before quickly ascending all the way to Triple-A Charlotte by mid-June.

MLBPipeline.com’s rankings also feature seven players from the 2012 version of the Dash that posted the best record in all of full-season Minor League Baseball. Those seven are RHP Erik Johnson (#2), OF Trayce Thompson (#4), INF Marcus Semien (#9), INF Carlos Sanchez (#10), LHP Scott Snodgress (#12), OF Keenyn Walker (#14) and RHP Andre Rienzo (#17).  Rienzo, who fired a no-hitter earlier this week, also spent his entire 2011 campaign with Winston-Salem.

In addition to Rienzo, the 2011 version of the Dash have another alum in the top 20, with OF Jared Mitchell (#11), who is currently with Double-A Birmingham, making the list.

The first Dash team to play at BB&T Ballpark (2010) has one member on the list in C Josh Phegley (#5). Earlier this month, Phegley became the 13th Dash alum to make it to the big leagues.

The Dash and Carolina Mudcats conclude their series tonight at 7. Check back later for a preview of this evening’s contest.

- Rob

Rienzo tosses no-hitter; big leagues next?

2011 and 2012 Dash alum Andre Rienzo no-hit the Indianapolis Indians last night (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Dash alum Andre Rienzo tossed a no-hitter in game one of a doubleheader for Charlotte (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Just three nights after Scott Snodgress took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, fellow Dash alum Andre Rienzo no-hit the Indianapolis Indians last night in the front end of a doubleheader for Triple-A Charlotte.

The Knights took both seven-inning contests, but the nightcap was overshadowed by the Brazilian right-hander’s dazzling performance in the double dip opener on Christmas in July night down in Fort Mill, S.C.

Rienzo struck out a career-high 11 while tossing the seventh complete game of his career. He has been on fire this month for the Knights, going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts with two complete games. After struggling at the start of the season and posting a 7.71 ERA in April, the Dash alum has lowered his earned run average by at least a full run each month since.

It has been a whirlwind month for Rienzo, as he added a scoreless inning of work in the Sirius-XM All-Star Futures Game a few weeks back in New York to go with his dominance for the Knights. Could his phenomenal month end with his first promotion to the big leagues? ESPN Chicago’s Doug Padilla shared this thoughts on the matter last night:

A few Winston-Salem alums chimed in as well, offering their congratulations to the Brazilian righty:

Congratulations to Andre on the no-no, and best of luck to him whether his next outing is in the big leagues or his next turn in Charlotte’s rotation.

Winston-Salem and Carolina continue their four-game series tonight at BB&T Ballpark. Check back later today for our preview.

- Rob

Rienzo headlines busy week for Dash alums

It was a busy week for several members of the 2012 Dash pitching staff. Here is the latest news from White Sox camp and beyond as we begin the first week of March.

Andre Rienzo pitched well for Team Brazil this weekend (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Andre Rienzo pitched well for Team Brazil this past weekend (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Rienzo earns rave reviews despite WBC loss: Dash alum Andre Rienzo surrendered just one hit over four and two-thirds innings but suffered the loss after starting for Team Brazil in the World Baseball Classic Saturday against Cuba.

Rienzo struggled a little bit with his command early, walking three in the first two innings. However, the righty settled in and kept the Cuban bats quiet until the fifth inning, when they scored twice and took the lead for good. As a result, Rienzo (4.2 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 4 BB, 2 K) was saddled with a tough-luck defeat.

Still, the loss should take nothing away from Rienzo’s performance against a heavily-favored Cuban team, writes Dan Hayes of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. His effort impressed John Manuel of Baseball America, too:

Rienzo, who comes into 2013 rated as the number seven prospect in the White Sox organization by Baseball America, went 9-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 2011 and 2012 with Winston-Salem.

He was promoted to Double-A Birmingham after a 3-0 start last year and ended the season with Triple-A Charlotte. With Brazil now 0-2 in Pool Play, they will not advance to the next round of the World Baseball Classic, meaning Rienzo will be back at White Sox spring training in the very near future.

Johnson, Snodgress appear in big league games: Both Erik Johnson and Scott Snodgress made appearances for the White Sox over the last few days down in Arizona.

Snodgress impressed with the Dash in 2012. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Snodgress sported a 1.50 ERA with the Dash in 2012. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Let’s start with the good. Snodgress made just one bad pitch in a three-inning start against Milwaukee Thursday. The southpaw allowed a two-run homer but otherwise pitched well in his second effort of the spring.

Snodgress, who began the 2012 season with Low-A Kannapolis before joining Winston-Salem in July, told MLB.com’s Cash Kruth that he has enjoyed his time in Glendale:

“It’s been an awesome experience, really a dream come true. I’ve had a lot of fun, I’ve learned a lot. And it’s a good place to be. A lot of guys to talk to. A lot of guys you can pick their brains and learn a lot from. It’s been awesome experience.”

Snodgress boasted a sparkling 1.50 ERA and a perfect 4-0 record in his short time in the Carolina League a year ago.

Erik Johnson became the Dash's ace after his promotion in July 2012 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Erik Johnson became the Dash’s ace after his promotion in July 2012 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Johnson, the fourth-ranked White Sox prospect according to Baseball America, did not fare as well. He came out of the White Sox bullpen  Friday against Cleveland and gave up five runs on five hits in an inning and a third.

Like Snodgress, Johnson pitched very well for the Dash after getting the call-up from Low-A Kannapolis shortly after the All-Star Break. Johnson went 4-3 with a 2.74 ERA in eight starts and nearly posted a strikeout per inning.

National Anthem Tryouts a success: Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Winston-Salem Journal National Anthem Tryouts at Hanes Mall on Saturday. More than 150 fans auditioned for a chance to sing at a Dash game this season.

If you tried out over the weekend, check out photos from the event here. Our five finalists for the Grand Prize will be announced over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that.

- Rob

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