Results tagged ‘ Birmingham Barons ’
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.
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
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.
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.
SOUTHERN LEAGUE CHAMPS!!!!’nn pic.twitter.com/si3RIlsSVC
— Chris Beck (@WatchurBeck) September 16, 2013
This team did it! Never had more fun in my life.. 2013 champions.. Ain’t got no worries
— Micah Johnson (@Micah_Johnson3) September 16, 2013
— Myles Jaye (@MJaye14) September 16, 2013
— Kevin Vance (@SorryBoutIt10) September 16, 2013
— Chris Bassitt (@C_Bass419) September 16, 2013
Ahhhhhhhh 😝😝😝😝coming home CHAMPIONS BABY!!!!! SO STOKED!!!!!
— Keenyn Walker (@Keenyn_Walker) September 16, 2013
The Indiana crew proving most champions per capita pic.twitter.com/nFfa6Xfqv7
— Micah Johnson (@Micah_Johnson3) September 16, 2013
So where do I get my ring fitted?
— Cody Winiarski (@cody_winiarski) September 16, 2013
Being a champion feels so good
— Jarrett Casey (@JCasey13) September 16, 2013
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.
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.
Bout to win this whole dang thing!! pic.twitter.com/3IR9APWFSI
— Chris Beck (@WatchurBeck) September 10, 2013
Barons headed to the championship #FIREMEUP 💍
— Jarrett Casey (@JCasey13) September 10, 2013
I hope champagne is good for your hair cause mine still smells like it and I plan for some more to be on the way!! #firemeup 💍💍
— Chris Beck (@WatchurBeck) September 10, 2013
— Chris Bassitt (@C_Bass419) September 10, 2013
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.
Last 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!
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.)
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.
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
- 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.
The Pregame Dash kicks off at 1:20 p.m., and fans can listen live here throughout the afternoon.
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.
Two days after earning a spot in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, infielder Micah Johnson was promoted to Double-A Birmingham for the first time in his minor league career, the White Sox announced this afternoon. This will be the third different level that he has played at this season, continuing his quick rise through the system.
Johnson has had a phenomenal first full season in the minors. He paces all of Minor League Baseball with 83 stolen bases, 10 more than Cincinnati Reds’ prospect Billy Hamilton. Hamilton stole a single-season minor league record with 155 swipes a year ago, but he has only mustered 73 in Triple-A this season.
A ninth round pick in the 2012 draft, Johnson has also been among the minor league leaders in runs scored throughout the season. Currently, he is in a tie for fourth-most in that category, having scored 104 times between Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem this season.
The former Indiana University Hoosier has had a great season at the plate, boasting a .315 average in 126 games this year with the Intimidators and the Dash, giving himself plenty of opportunities to collect all those stolen bases and runs.
In his time here in Winston, we learned a lot about Johnson, including the reason he is so fast. With the Barons, Johnson will be joining a team that has already clinched a spot in the Southern League playoffs after they took the Northern Division’s first half title.
Winston-Salem will look to continue their nine-game winning streak tonight against the Potomac Nationals at BB&T Ballpark. A win would tie the Dash era (2009-present) for the longest winning streak, set by last year’s incarnation of the Dash. Check back later this afternoon for a preview of tonight’s contest.
There have been many Dash alums in the news as of late, so today we decided to highlight some of the biggest news from a few of our alums over the last several days.
Sale dominates Tigers
The week started on a high note at the big league level as 2010 Dash alum Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season in a 6-2 win over Detroit on Monday. The southpaw lowered his ERA to 2.73 and pushed his strikeout total to 167 for the season, both which rank him in the top five among American League starters. After an extra-inning victory last night, the South Siders can sweep the first-place Tigers with a victory today.
Heisler’s stint in Triple-A
With plenty of roster shuffling happening over the last week or so in the organization, Triple-A Charlotte found themselves in need of an extra outfielder. As a result, Adam Heisler, who had recently been transferred to Kannapolis after hitting .272 in 58 games with Winston-Salem, was the man selected for the trip down to Fort Mill, S.C.
Simply put, Heisler delivered. He played in three games for the Knights, going 4-for-10 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He returned to the Intimidators last night, and all he did was hit a grand slam, the first one by an Intimidator in 2013.
Beck makes Double-A debut
Late last week, righty Chris Beck, who was an All-Star in the Carolina League this year, made his debut for the Birmingham Barons against the Mobile BayBears. Beck drew a tough assignment, with right-hander Archie Bradley, one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the minors, on the other side. The former Winston hurler held his own, giving up three runs in six innings to notch a quality start, but he was outdueled by Bradley and saddled with the loss. Beck will try to collect his first Double-A win again tonight against the Jacksonville Suns.
Fellow 2013 Dash alum Cody Winiarski made his Double-A debut last night, and pitched very well for Birmingham. The right-hander gave the Barons two spotless innings of relief while striking out three Suns. Winiarski was promoted to Double-A on Monday after saving 10 games for the Dash in a team-high 36 appearances.
Great Falls’ hot streak
The White Sox Pioneer League affiliate, the Great Falls Voyagers, has been extremely hot as of late. After finishing four games out of first in the first-half standings, the Voyagers have come out firing on all cylinders in the second half.
They had their nine game winning-streak come to an end yesterday with a 10-4 loss to Ogden but are a sizzling 12-2 in the second half. Through 14 games, the Voyagers already enjoy a six-game lead in the division race.
If Great Falls wins the second half, they will make the Pioneer League playoffs for the seventh consecutive year. The last two years they made it under current Winston-Salem skipper Ryan Newman, who guided them to the 2011 Pioneer League Championship.
The Dash open up a quick three-game homestand tonight at BB&T Ballpark as they welcome the Salem Red Sox to town. Check back later today for a preview of tonight’s series opener.
Sunday, the Dash gained a reliever. Today, Winston-Salem loses another. Right-hander Cody Winiarski is headed up to Double-A Birmingham for the first time in his career.
Winiarski, who missed all of 2012 due to injury, has been a major part of the back end of the Dash’s bullpen this season, and was the first pitcher in the Carolina League to record 10 saves.
The Franksville, Wisc., native has 10 saves in 13 opportunities and owns an earned run average of 2.91 in a team-high 36 appearances. The righty has struck out 67 in 55.2 innings of work, good for the fourth-best strikeout-per-nine-inning ratio among CL relievers (10.8).
Before Winiarski headed south to join the Barons’ bullpen, we had the chance to catch up with him and talk to him about what it’s like to be a closer:
With the promotion, Winiarski will join Chris Bassitt, Chris Beck and Jarrett Casey among 2013 Winston hurlers who recently made their first career trip to the Double-A level. Winston-Salem’s roster now sits one below the maximum, with 24 active players.
The Dash continue their series with the Lynchburg Hillcats at City Stadium tonight. Check back later today for a preview of tonight’s contest.
- Rob and Curt