Results tagged ‘ Birmingham Barons ’

Winston-Salem tweaks bullpen

After two outings in Kannapolis, southpaw Sean Bierman has made the leap to the Dash (photo via the Kannapolis Intimidators).

After two outings in Kannapolis, southpaw Sean Bierman has made the leap to the Dash (photo via the Kannapolis Intimidators).

The Dash’s roster has not changed much thus far this season, but the White Sox did announce a pair of promotions affecting the Winston-Salem bullpen on Thursday afternoon. Evan Crawford has jumped up to Double-A Birmingham after two efforts in the Carolina League, while fellow southpaw Sean Bierman has earned a spot in the Dash’s clubhouse after starting the season in Low-A Kannapolis.

Crawford, who logged 10 appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, joined the White Sox organization via the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. He tossed two and two-thirds innings with Winston-Salem over two outings and surrendered two runs (one earned) on one hit. He will head to the Double-A level, where he has made 80 appearances over his seven-season minor league career.

Thanks to this promotion, the Dash have added another left-hander in Bierman, who made two starts with the Intimidators to begin the season. Bierman, who went 0-1 with a 7.00 earned run average in those efforts, was 11-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 31 outings with the Tampa Bay organization. He came over to the White Sox from the Rays as one of the players to be named later in the Jesse Crain trade, which was agreed to in July and completed in October.

As a result, the Dash’s roster remains at 25, with 13 of those men being pitchers. Winston-Salem aims to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Frederick Keys tonight at 7. A full preview is on the way later.

- Brian

A look around the White Sox system

Each team in the system is at least 10 games into the season, so let’s spin around the organization and see how each team is doing thus far this season.

MLB: Chicago White Sox (7-6)

Former Dash star Jordan Danks (right) is ready to fill in for Avisail Garcia in the White Sox outfield (photo via chicagonow.com).

Former Dash star Jordan Danks (right) is ready to fill in for Avisail Garcia in the White Sox outfield (photo via chicagonow.com).

Chris Sale improved to 3-0 this season after Friday’s outing against the Indians, but the White Sox bats played a big role in the outcome. Sale grinded through five innings, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out five. The ace spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times following his start.

Infielder Marcus Semien has played well of late, recording hits in nine of his last ten games. Among those was this solo homer on Sunday against Cleveland:

In this whitesox.com article, learn more about Erik Johnson’s standing in the Chicago pitching rotation. Plus, Semien takes part in Jackie Robinson Day festivities on Tuesday and who Sale credits for the development of his changeup:

Thanks to the season-ending shoulder injury to Avisail Garcia, outfielder Jordan Danks was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to help fill the void. The Dash alumnus spoke with CSN Chicago about the opportunity:

Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (6-6)

Catcher Josh Phegley is off to a solid start in 2014. His .286 batting average currently ranks second on the team among qualifying players, and he has scored four runs in eight games.

The other BB&T Ballpark looks pretty darn good, too (photo via Charlotte Knights).

The other BB&T Ballpark looks pretty darn good, too (photo via Charlotte Knights).

The Knights opened their sparkling new Uptown Charlotte facility, the second BB&T Ballpark, on Friday night against the Norfolk Tides. For a recap of their historic evening, click here.

Double-A: Birmingham Barons (5-5)

The defending Southern League champions won three of five games against the Jacksonville Suns to reach the .500 mark. The Barons were washed out at Mobile on Monday night, so a doubleheader is on tap this evening.

Former Dash outfielder Trayce Thompson was recently profiled on MiLB.com talking about some of the valuable lessons he learned during Spring Training with the White Sox.

Low-A: Kannapolis Intimidators (4-7)

The Intimidators were swept in a four-game series at Greenville this weekend, the last contest a heartbreaking 5-4 setback to the Drive in 14 innings. Kannapolis looks to regain its footing this week in Hickory. That series opener was also postponed, so the Intimidators and Crawdads will play two this evening.

Infielder Cleuluis Rondon continues his development at the Low-A level. The Venezuelan native, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday, is batting .298 with six RBIs, three runs scored and three stolen bases in 11 games.

Stay tuned for a preview of tonight’s homestand opener against Frederick.

- Dave

Recapping the weekend around the system

The rainy off-day for the Dash means that it’s a perfect time to scroll through the White Sox system to see how the teams and some former Dash players are doing.

Chicago White Sox (3-3):

Chris Sale dazzled in his start against the Royals on Sunday, tossing eight scoreless innings while striking out six. Following his outing, Sale told whitesox.com, “You know what you’re getting when you face a team like this and a starter like James (Shields). You’ve just got to bear down and give it everything you’ve got.” Sale is now 2-0 on the season with a 1.76 ERA on the young season.

Marcus Semien has received plenty of congratulatory high fives so far in 2014 (Ed Zurga via zimbio.com).

Marcus Semien has received plenty of congratulatory high fives so far in 2014 (Ed Zurga via zimbio.com).

Infielder Marcus Semien has started all six games, playing at second base and third base. With Gordon Beckham recovering from an oblique injury, the Chicago Sun-Times discussed Semien’s attempt to convince White Sox management to keep him in the lineup.

Erik Johnson struggled in his first start with the South Siders this year, allowing seven runs against the Royals on Friday. Fellow Dash alum Jake Petricka also pitched in that contest. Johnson spoke with the Chicago Tribune following his start, and you can read about that here.

Nate Jones, who pitched with Winston-Salem from 2008-10, allowed four runs in two outings and failed to retire a single batter. He was sent to the disabled list on Friday with a strained hip muscle, and could miss more than two weeks. Before he was placed on the DL, Jones told CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes about his discomfort.

Charlotte Knights (3-1):

Dylan Axelrod, who pitched for the Dash in 2009 and 2010, had a solid outing against Norfolk on Sunday, allowing just one run in five innings while striking out seven batters. The Knights won that game, 2-1.

Former White Sox slugger Jim Thome will be tossing the ceremonial first pitch at Charlotte’s home opener in their new ballpark on Friday, April 11 against Norfolk. Thome, who played with the Knights in 1993, spoke with charlotteknights.com about his time there.

Birmingham Barons (1-2):

The defending Southern League champions won their opener against Montgomery before losing two straight games. Following a rainout on Sunday, the Barons are playing a doubleheader against the Biscuits today to conclude their five-game opening series.

Former Dash infielder Micah Johnson is off to a hot start in Birmingham, hitting .462 with a home run, two RBIs and four runs scored in three games. Johnson was recently featured on al.com prior to Opening Day.

Kannapolis Intimidators (2-2):

The Intimidators split their opening weekend series with Greenville and return to Kannapolis for their scheduled home opener against Hickory tonight.

Tyler Danish, a second-round draft pick of the White Sox last year, shined for Kannapolis in their Friday night victory over Greenville. The 19-year-old pitcher struck out six over five innings while allowing no earned runs.

That’s your look around the White Sox system. The Dash will take the field again Tuesday night at Salem, trying to cool off a Red Sox team that started 2014 with a weekend sweep of Myrtle Beach. All three games of that series are scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. Join Brian Boesch for the Pregame Dash at 6:50!

- Dave

Sanchez, Thompson added to 40-man roster

Highly-touted prospect Trayce Thompson is now on the Sox 40-man roster (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Highly-touted prospect Trayce Thompson is now on the Sox 40-man roster (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Two Dash alumni have joined the White Sox 40-man roster. Infielder Carlos Sanchez and Trayce Thompson, key contributors during the Dash’s magical 2012 season, have joined the top group in Chicago’s organization.

For those who are unclear why this is so important, only the 40 players in this group can appear in the big leagues. Inclusion on a 40-man roster also promises a higher salary.

Sanchez spent his 2013 campaign with Triple-A Charlotte after a breakout 2012 throughout three levels of the system. The Venezuela native hit .241 with 28 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 16 stolen bases with the Knights. A year ago, Sanchez helped the Dash win a first-half division crown while finishing with the best qualifying batting average in the Carolina League.

Thompson was an everyday outfielder on Double-A Birmingham’s championship team this year. The former second-round pick posted a .229 average to go along with 15 homers and 73 RBIs with the Barons. He shared the CL’s home run lead (24) while spending much of the 2012 season in Winston-Salem.

Both prospects have participated in the Venezuelan Winter League with Tiburones de La Guaira this offseason, and Sanchez has been one of the club’s best hitters.

Congratulations to both Carlos and Trayce on the accomplishment! Both will be on the White Sox radar in the coming years, and this is an important step in that process.

- Brian

All-Stars, big signing, Halloween uniforms

The World Series may come to an end tonight, but there is still plenty of news in the baseball world. Here are some of the top stories.

BASSITT, SEMIEN NAMED AFL ALL-STARS

Marcus Semien's tremendous 2013 continued with a spot in the XXXX (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Marcus Semien’s tremendous 2013 continued with a spot in the Fall Stars Game (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Minor League Baseball holds many All-Star Games each year, but none are more exclusive than the Arizona Fall League’s showcase. The AFL itself is an exclusive collection of the game’s top prospects. Thus, the annual “Fall Stars Game” features the best of the best within the minor leagues.

Both Chris Bassitt and Marcus Semien will represent the White Sox in this prestigious exhibition, which can be seen Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT on MLB Network. Earlier this week, we discussed the success of former Winston-Salem players in the AFL. Bassitt and Semien have been two of the breakout White Sox prospects of 2013, so it is fitting that they receive this opportunity.

Bassitt has surrendered just one run in six relief appearances this fall. The former Akron Zip was a starter throughout the minor league season, amassing an 11-4 record with a 3.08 earned run average. He was a Carolina League All-Star and a Southern League champion.

Semien had a similar level of success at the top of the Chicago organization. Following a strong 2012 showing in Winston-Salem, Semien hit .290 with 15 homers and 49 RBIs en route to the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player Award while with Double-A Birmingham. He also earned promotions to Triple-A and the big leagues, where he held his own against the game’s best competition.

WHITE SOX SIGN CUBAN STAR ABREU

The White Sox front office stated that they were going to reload the big league roster following the club’s disappointing season. Before the true free agency period, the Sox have already added a huge piece to the present and the future.

Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu has joined the White Sox thanks to a six-year, $68 million deal, the club announced Tuesday. Abreu shined in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year and in Cuba since 2007, but fans should be most excited about executive vice president Ken Williams’ quote about the 26-year-old.

“Well, he’s the only player that I’ve seen work out and then play in a game that I wanted to give a standing ovation to.”

Williams expounded upon these comments in that same piece from whitesox.com.

“It was the most professional exhibition of hitting and really defensive work the way he went about things. It was professional. It was focused. It was geared to not just impress, but impress the right way,” Williams said. “One of the things that we did not want to entertain was a guy who was just one dimensional. This guy is a hitter.”

The White Sox have a long way to go to rebound from a 99-loss campaign, but this is an important first step.

CRAZY BASEBALL STORIES

- San Diego State University’s baseball team played an exhibition game in Halloween costumes, and many national outlets picked up the story. Check out the crazy video, which includes Buddy the Elf with a plus glove at third base.

- The Cardinals had some trouble getting to Boston yesterday in advance of Game 6 of the World Series. A mechanical issue on the team’s plane brought about a seven-hour delay; therefore, the Cards arrived at their hotel around midnight EDT.

You can read the entire account of the long travel day, including some funny tweets and comments from team members, here.

The Dash’s 2014 schedule has been released, and we will break down some of the biggest games of the season tomorrow on the blog. Talk to you then.

- Brian

Alumni react to Southern League title

Winston-Salem did not qualify for the postseason, but many players who have suited up for the Dash in recent years celebrated a championship last night.

Double-A Birmingham claimed its first Southern League championship in 11 years with a 4-2 win over Mobile in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday night. Mobile, who fell one win short of a three-peat, scored twice in the first, but the trio of Myles Jaye, Ryan Kussmaul and Cody Winiarski (who finished off the championship clincher with this strikeout) held the BayBears off the scoreboard in the final eight innings.

Offensively, Micah Johnson was the star of the show. The former Indiana Hoosier hit a solo homer in the first inning to get the Barons on the board, and he drove home a run and scored another in the deciding three-run second frame.

Twitter was buzzing with reactions from Birmingham, where the Barons ushered in the Regions Field era with a championship.

Congratulations to the Barons on a magical season. A total of 48 players suited up for the Barons this season, and 39 of them played in Winston-Salem at some point during their minor league careers.

- Brian

Barons ticketed for Southern League Finals

A year ago, Winston-Salem was involved in the Mills Cup Finals. Many of the Dash’s players in that playoff run a year ago, along with some members of the 2013 Dash, are heading to the highest stage in the Southern League.

The Birmingham Barons, the White Sox Double-A affiliate, punched a ticket to the Southern League Championship Series for the first time in 11 years. Birmingham accomplished this feat with a 7-4 victory in its winner-take-all clash with the Tennessee Smokies on Monday night.

In that Game 5 battle, Dash alumni shined for the Barons. Mike Blanke and Micah Johnson drove home a run apiece, and Jared Mitchell scored twice to cap a big North Division Series. Myles Jaye started the game, and Cody Winiarski collected the final four outs for a save.

Twitter was packed with some great tweets from some Barons players, many of whom made a stop in Winston-Salem en route to this Double-A postseason run.

The Southern League Championship Series pits the Barons and the Mobile BayBears, who host Game 1 and Game 2. The series begins Wednesday night, with the first of three possible home games for the Barons coming up on Friday night.

Good luck to the Barons, especially those former Dash stars who are now three wins away from a ring at the Double-A level.

- Brian

And then there were two

Carolina LeagueLast season, Winston-Salem and Lynchburg emerged from winner-take-all Game 3s in the semifinals to punch their tickets to the Mills Cup Finals. Here in 2013, both Division Championship Series concluded in Game 2, but the playoffs have been packed with drama.

All four Carolina League playoff games have been decided in the last at-bat for the winning club. Plus, the margin was higher than one run at the start of only three of the 43 innings thus far this postseason.

Salem won a pair of 10-inning games over Myrtle Beach to clinch its first trip to the Mills Cup Finals since 2009, while the Pelicans lost in the Southern Division Championship Series for the third straight season.

In the Northern Division, Potomac rallied in the ninth inning of Game 1 before nipping Lynchburg in the 14th. One night later, the P-Nats walked off with a 3-2 win in the last of the ninth. Thus, Potomac can win its first CL crown since 2010. On the flip side, Lynchburg could not become the first franchise to repeat as Carolina League champions since 1999-2000 (Myrtle Beach).

While the Red Sox and P-Nats were advancing in the CL postseason, some Dash alumni shined elsewhere in Minor League Baseball’s postseason.

  • Last season, Chris Bassitt pitched the Dash to the Mills Cup Finals with a seven-inning gem. Yesterday, the righty went seven innings and punched out nine Smokies in Double-A Birmingham’s 3-1 win over Tennessee in Game 1 of the Southern League North Division Series.
  • Behind Bassitt’s huge effort, Trayce Thompson went yard and drove home two runs, and Cody Winiarski earned the save. In Game 2 of this best-of-five set, Chris Beck toes the rubber for the Barons tonight.
  • Veteran Cyle Hankerd, who was a key cog in the Dash’s offense a year ago, came up with the hit of the season for the Arkansas Travelers, the Angels’ Double-A affiliate in the Texas League. Hankerd’s three-run blast in the top of the ninth broke a 1-1 tie and propelled the Travs to a Game 2 victory over the Tulsa Drillers in the TL’s North Division Series. Hankerd and the Travelers now have a 2-0 series lead with the next three games all at home.

We will keep you posted on the MiLB playoffs throughout the month here on the Dash Board blog!

- Brian

Game 139 Preview – Dash at Wilmington

Game #139 – Road Game #69
Winston-Salem Dash (32-36, 70-68) at Wilmington Blue Rocks (29-39, 62-76)
Sunday, September 1 – 1:35 p.m.
Frawley Stadium (Wilmington, Del.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash have dropped back-to-back games since their 10-game winning streak. Winston-Salem seeks to clinch a winning record this afternoon in Delaware.

Bryan Blough can become the CL's first 12-game winner Sunday (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Bryan Blough can become the CL’s first 12-game winner Sunday (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

STARTING LINEUP:

Joey DeMichele – 2B
Jeremy Farrell – DH
Chris Curley – 3B
Mark Haddow – RF
Courtney Hawkins – CF
Josh Richmond – LF
Grant Buckner – 1B
Martin Medina – C
Jake Brown – SS
Bryan Blough – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The White Sox announced that right-hander Myles Jaye was promoted to Double-A Birmingham this afternoon. Jaye was 9-6 with a 4.11 earned run average in 20 starts with the Dash. The Fayatteville, Ga., native began the season with Low-A Kannapolis and boasted a 2.20 ERA.
  • Jaye recorded 13 quality starts in his 20 efforts with Winston-Salem. In his final two High-A showings, he twirled 14 scoreless innings against the Potomac Nationals, who own the CL’s best overall record.
  • Winston-Salem can clinch the fourth winning season during the five-year Dash era with one more triumph. The lone losing season by the Dash came in 2011 when Winston-Salem went 69-71.
  • Dash catcher Kevan Smith is hitting .444 (16-for-36) in his 10 starts over Winston’s last 12 games, during which the club is 10-2. Smith has a pair of homers and 10 RBIs in the midst of this hot streak. The former Pittsburgh Panther leads all CL catchers and is sixth overall with 73 RBIs.
  • With their loss Saturday, the Dash guaranteed a losing month of August (14-15), which included a 10-game winning streak and an eight-game skid. Winston-Salem has suffered consecutive losing months after stringing together nine months with more wins than losses.
  • Still, the Dash have only recorded two months with a mark more than one game below .500 over the last three years, while Winston-Salem has logged 20 victorious months in 29 tries during the Dash era (2009-present).
  • Winston-Salem starter Bryan Blough will make the final start of his breakout 2013 season. Blough leads all High-A hurlers with 165.2 innings pitched, a total that is good for a share of sixth place in all of Minor League Baseball.
  • In the Carolina League, Blough enjoys a 17-inning lead on Frederick’s Zach Davies for the top spot in innings. Blough, who recorded his first career nine-inning complete game shutout in his last outing six days ago over Myrtle Beach, can become the first CL hurler to collect his 12th win.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

The Pregame Dash kicks off at 1:20 p.m., and fans can listen live here throughout the afternoon.

- Brian

Notes from around the system

Former Dash shortstop Marcus Semien was named a Double-A Year-End All-Star (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Former Dash shortstop Marcus Semien was named a Double-A Year-End All-Star (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The minor league regular season wraps up Monday, so playoff races are winding down while All-Star teams are announced. It is no surprise, then, that there has been plenty of activity within the White Sox system. Here are some notes:

  • Triple-A Charlotte concludes its 24-year run at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., this weekend. The Knights will move to the second BB&T Ballpark in Minor League Baseball for next season. The new facility will be in downtown Charlotte, and the organization is already gearing up for the big opening.
  • At the Double-A level, a pair of 2012 Winston-Salem alumni were honored earlier today. First baseman Dan Black and shortstop Marcus Semien have earned spots on the Southern League’s Year-End All-Star team. The 2012 Carolina League MVP, Black is hitting .289 with 17 homers and 81 RBIs, numbers that are very similar to his efforts here in the Triad last year (.315, 17 HR, 88 RBIs).
  • Prior to his promotion to Triple-A earlier this month, Semien was an MVP candidate in the SL. The former California star hit .290 with 15 homers and 49 RBIs in 105 games with the Barons. Since joining the Knights, Semien is a .246 hitter with four long balls and 14 RBIs.
  • Plus, Semien’s 108 total runs between Birmingham (90) and Charlotte (18) are good for a share of the top spot in all of Minor League Baseball. He is tied with highly-touted prospects Byron Buxton (Minnesota) and Chris Taylor (Seattle) in this category.
  • In short-season baseball, Great Falls continued their impressive playoff streak Friday night. In their regular season home finale, the Voyagers clinched a postseason berth for the seventh consecutive season with an 8-7 victory over Billings.
  • Thus, Great Falls will join Birmingham as White Sox affiliates in the playoffs. Like the Dash, Charlotte, Kannapolis and Bristol will not be vying for a league crown next week.

Winston-Salem will open a three-game set in Wilmington tonight at 6:05. Stay tuned for a preview of the Dash’s final series opener of the season.

- Brian

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