Results tagged ‘ Birmingham Barons ’

Around the White Sox system – April

On Friday, we reviewed the first month of the season for the Dash (they did lead the Carolina League in ERA). Today, we will examine the rest of the Chicago White Sox system to see how their Aprils went, starting from the top:

Chicago White Sox (MLB): An offseason that saw the White Sox acquire RHPs Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson, LHP Zach Duke, 1B Adam LaRoche, OF Melky Cabrera and UTL Emilio Bonafacio led to some believing that Chicago would contend in the American League. However, the White Sox struggled in the season’s first month and the rumbling has already begun about rebuilding around this core for 2016.

Jose Abreu has crushed five homers this season.  (Jesse Johnson/USA Today Sports)

Jose Abreu has crushed five homers this season. (Jesse Johnson/USA Today Sports)

That being said, the core is the envy of nearly every team in baseball. Jose Abreu has mashed to a 126 wRC+, while Avisail Garcia has been a surprise to match that production so far. Meanwhile, the White Sox lineup has seen LaRoche (87 wRC+), Cabrera (75 wRC+), Alexei Ramirez (46 wRC+) and Adam Eaton (36 wRC+) get off to slow starts, meaning this talented lineup should start to turn things around and get hot at any moment.

The same could be said about the Chicago pitching staff. Both Chris Sale and Jose Quintana have posted ERAs above 5.00, with Samardzija currently at 4.78. The White Sox have also brought up top prospect and former Dash LHP Carlos Rodon, who has pitched to a 2.76 ERA in 6.1 innings thus far.

Although the White Sox are currently 7.0 games behind the Tigers, nearly everything has gone wrong for them so far, and turnarounds from what was supposed to be one of the deepest lineups and best starting pitching trios in baseball could make Chicago a team that makes a run later in the year.

Carlos Sanchez is off to a torrid start in 2015. (Buren Foster/Charlotte Knights)

Carlos Sanchez is off to a torrid start in 2015. (Buren Foster/Charlotte Knights)

Charlotte Knights (AAA): April saw Charlotte storm to a 13-7 start to take the early lead in the International League South division. Former Dash INF Carlos Sanchez has put together one of the best performances in all of Minor League Baseball. The 10th-ranked prospect in the White Sox system according to MLB.com, Sanchez is batting .407/.432/.582 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 15 RBIs. Nearly half of those RBIs came in a May 2 game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, when Sanchez went 4-for-4 with two homers and a double to drive in seven runs. That capped a run that saw Sanchez reach base in 10 straight plate appearances, recording a hit in nine of those.

Former Dash OF Trayce Thompson, the No. 19 White Sox prospect, has raked to a .326/.365/.517 tune with three triples, two home runs and 11 RBIs thus far. On the mound, RHP Erik Johnson, who pitched for Winston-Salem in 2012, leads the club with a 3-1 record and 2.04 ERA, fanning 19 in 17.2 innings.

The flip of the calendar to May also saw the White Sox release OF Jared Mitchell. The 2010 first-round pick was batting just .050 this season for Charlotte and was a .205 hitter with 10 homers in 144 Triple-A games.

With a record of 14-9, the Knights are enjoying the perch of the division by one game over the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays).

Tim Anderson has stolen the most bases in the Southern League. (Buren Foster)

Tim Anderson has stolen the most bases in the Southern League. (Buren Foster)

Birmingham Barons (AA): Like the Dash, the Barons had an up-and-down opening month of the season, finishing an even 10-10. Former Dash INF Tim Anderson, who is now the top-ranked prospect in the Chicago system with Rodon in the bigs, has stolen 11 bases and batted .309 with 13 RBIs in the early going. Meanwhile, 2014 Dash members Jacob May (.337/.378/.424, 10 SB) and Jason Coats (.340/.354/.532, 9 2B) reinforced an offense that ranks in the top half of the league in both batting average and slugging percentage. Coats did earn a late-April bump to Charlotte thanks to his strong production.

In the rotation, Frankie Montas and Myles Jaye, who both pitched in Winston-Salem last year, have helped lead a pitching staff that is just four off the lead for most strikeouts in the Southern League. Montas has a 2.63 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13.2 frames, while Jaye is 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA and 20 punchouts against six free passes in 20.1 innings.

The Barons are currently 2.5 games behind the Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs) in the Southern League’s North Division.

Jordan Guerrero's 0.69 ERA is the sixth-best in MiLB. (Ray Marsden/Kannapolis Intimidators)

Jordan Guerrero’s 0.69 ERA is the sixth-best in MiLB. (Ray Marsden/Kannapolis Intimidators)

Kannapolis Intimidators (A): Former Dash manager Tommy Thompson and his Intimidators did not have a winning or losing streak of more than two games throughout April. LHP Jordan Guerrero (No. 29 White Sox prospect) has gotten off to a ridiculous start to the campaign. Guerrero has the sixth-best ERA (0.69) in all of Minor League Baseball, while his 0.77 WHIP ranks 18th. The southpaw is 3-0, has given up just 15 hits in 26.0 innings and fanned 26 against only five walks.

The Kannapolis offense has posted the third-best average and slugging percentage in the South Atlantic League. INF Chris Curley’s 20 RBIs lead the club, and he has hit .281/.326/.551 while smashing a team-high nine doubles and five roundtrippers. C Brett Austin, Rodon’s roommate at NC State, is batting .333/.453/.548 with three triples, and former Olympic silver medalist Eddy Alvarez has slashed .301/.396/.422 with six steals.

The Intimidators’ 10-13 record has them at the bottom of the SAL Northern Division, 6.0 games behind the Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers).

Stay tuned for our Dash game preview as they wrap up a four-game set Monday with the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

-Scott

Dash Top 10 – #5: Anderson rescues Dash with homer

The 2014 season is in the books, and there were many great moments throughout the summer. Over the next few weeks, we will count down the Dash Top 10 of 2014.

Previous moments:
#10 – Shortest MiLB game in 2014
#9 – DeMichele’s five-hit, five-run effort
#8 – Buckner’s controversial walk-off blast
#7 – Narvaez’s two-homer Dash debut
#6 – Danish tosses six no-hit innings

Moment #5 – June 2
Anderson’s walk-off blast erases late Lynchburg surge

Tim Anderson registered the Dash's first walk-off homer of 2014 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Tim Anderson registered the Dash’s first walk-off homer of 2014 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Winston-Salem boasted the White Sox three most recent first-round picks during the 2014 season. Courtney Hawkins was the Dash veteran, with whom the city became very familiar. Carlos Rodon was the North Carolina kid who carried NC State to unprecedented heights.

Tim Anderson did not have a connection to the state, and he was not here for very long. However, Anderson had a month-long surge that rivaled anyone in the Carolina League, and it began with one majestic blast on the second day of June.

The Dash took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning, but Lynchburg stunned the BB&T Ballpark with three runs to thrust Winston-Salem to the brink of a very tough loss.

With that one-run lead, the Hillcats summoned Ryan Kelly, he of 20 Triple-A appearances in his Minor League career, from the bullpen. Kelly had not given up a base runner in his first four efforts with the Hillcats, and he would ultimately finish the season as a key cog in the bullpen of Double-A Mississippi.

However, Zach Voight snapped that impressive run of 5.1 hitless frames with a single to lead off the ninth, setting the stage for Anderson. The Alabama kid sat in a 2-2 count before Kelly left a pitch up in the zone.

Before this mighty swing, Anderson was hitting .284 with two homers and 14 RBIs. From that swing until his promotion to Double-A Birmingham, the Alabama native was a .323 hitter with four homers and 17 RBIs.

A Dash player may not have hit a harder ball than this bomb to dead center field, and it ultimately prevented Winston-Salem from suffering a difficult defeat.

Our fourth-best moment is a tremendous one for the organization and the community. Stay tuned for that.

– Brian

Walker rejoins Winston-Salem

Keenyn Walker was an important part of the 2012 Winston-Salem club (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Keenyn Walker was an important part of the 2012 Winston-Salem club (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Dash will add yet another prospect to their roster, the White Sox announced Monday afternoon. The club has assigned outfielder Keenyn Walker to Winston-Salem from Double-A Birmingham.

As a result, Winston-Salem now boasts 10 of the White Sox top 30 prospects, according to Baseball America. Walker checks in as the 23rd-best farmhand in the organization.

He joins Tim Anderson (3), Courtney Hawkins (6), Jacob May (9), Tyler Danish (10), Keon Barnum (14), Braulio Ortiz (20), Myles Jaye (24), Brad Goldberg (28) and Frank Montas (29) as ranked prospects in the Winston-Salem clubhouse.

Walker was hitting .155 with 11 stolen bases and 15 runs scored in 32 games with Birmingham, where the Salt Lake City, Utah, native spent all of 2013. The speedster was with the Dash toward the tail end of the 2012 season, during which Winston-Salem went to the Mills Cup Finals. In 37 games within the Carolina League, Walker hit .238 with three homers, 16 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

To make room for Walker, fellow outfielder Adam Heisler was placed on the seven-day disabled list (retroactive to Friday). Heisler is hitting .277 with two homers, eight RBIs and 13 runs in 30 games this year.

Stay tuned for a full preview of the Dash’s homestand finale with Lynchburg.

– Brian

Plenty of roster moves announced Tuesday

Brandon Hardin is heading to Double-A for the first time (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Brandon Hardin is heading to Double-A for the first time in his career (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The Dash’s roster looks a bit different now than it did when the club was concluding its road trip in Lynchburg on Monday. Here is a look at what the White Sox announced Tuesday morning:

  • RHP Brandon Hardin promoted to Double-A Birmingham from Winston-Salem
  • RHP Myles Jaye assigned to Winston-Salem from Double-A Birmingham
  • INF Zach Voight promoted to Winston-Salem from Low-A Kannapolis
  • INF Nick Basto assigned to extended spring training from Winston-Salem

Hardin thrived in the back end of the Dash’s bullpen. He posted a 1.32 earned run average in 13.2 innings over 14 outings. The former Delta State product concludes this stint with Winston-Salem by recording a streak of seven consecutive scoreless outings, during which he logged four saves. He becomes the sixth Dash player promoted to Double-A or Triple-A thus far this season.

Jaye rejoins Winston-Salem after beginning the season with the Barons, which is where he finished the 2013 season. Jaye started the final game of Birmingham’s run to the Southern League Championship, a deciding Game 5 against Mobile last September. Thus far this season, Jaye struggled in the SL, posting an 0-6 record to go along with a 6.32 ERA. However, the former Toronto farmhand was stellar with the Dash in 2013. He went 9-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 starts in the Triad.

Voight will play in the Carolina League for the first time. In 26 games with the Intimidators, Voight hit .237 with one homer and eight RBIs. A 20th-round pick in 2012, the Denton, Texas, native led all White Sox farmhands with a .320 average and a .417 on-base percentage with rookie-level Great Falls a year ago.

Basto has been strong at the plate for Winston-Salem thus far this year. He leads all qualifying hitters on the club with a .293 average, and he also has driven in 20 runs.

Stay tuned for a full preview of Tuesday’s homestand opener with Potomac.

– Brian

One promotion out; another promotion in

Bryan Blough picked up four saves before heading to Double-A Birmingham (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Bryan Blough saved four games before joining Double-A Birmingham (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Four days ago, the Dash went through a double promotion, with Tyler Danish joining Winston-Salem from Kannapolis when Mike Recchia jumped to Double-A Birmingham.

On Monday morning, the White Sox announced a similar move, this time within the Dash’s bullpen. Right-hander Bryan Blough is heading to Double-A for the first time. In a corresponding move, southpaw Jose Bautista is set for his first stint in the Carolina League.

Blough has been with Winston-Salem since August of 2012, when he joined the Dash during their push to the Mills Cup Finals. He was an integral part of the Dash’s bullpen during that stretch run, and he became the Opening Day starter for Winston-Salem in 2013. Blough led the CL and finished second in the Minor Leagues with 172.2 innings pitched. He also paced the league in starts (28) and finished tied for the top spot in wins (11).

This season, Blough returned to the bullpen and posted a 1.93 earned run average in 13 appearances. He also logged four saves in five tries.

Bautista boasted a 0.92 earned run average in 10 appearances out of the Intimidators’ bullpen this year. The Dominican Republic native struck out 26 in 19.2 innings. He signed with the White Sox as an international free agent in 2009.

The Dash are enjoying their only day off this month on Monday. Winston-Salem embarks on an eight-game, seven-day road trip Tuesday.

– Brian

Danish, Recchia moving up

Tyler Danish has not given up a run in his last 22 innings (Ray Marsden/Kannapolis Intimidators).

Tyler Danish has not given up a run in his last 22 innings (Ray Marsden/Kannapolis Intimidators).

Minor Leaguers’ primary goal is to advance in their organization. Two White Sox farmhands have jumped a level, the club announced Thursday. Tyler Danish, Chicago’s second-round pick in 2013, has joined the Dash from Low-Kannapolis, while fellow righty Mike Recchia is heading to Double-A Birmingham for the first time in his career.

Danish sizzled in the South Atlantic League to the tune of a 3-0 record and a 0.71 earned run average. The Florida native boasts the lowest ERA among active, qualifying Minor League pitchers. Chase Anderson does still qualify with a 0.69 ERA, but he was recently promoted to Arizona from Double-A Mobile.

Though he was strong in all seven outings with Kannapolis, Danish dominated in his final four efforts. He concluded his time with the Intimidators by rattling off 22 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to April 23.

In 22 career appearances in the Minor Leagues, Danish owns a 0.93 ERA (seven earned runs in 68 innings). The 19-year-old was drafted out of Durant High School in Plant City, Fla.

Danish will take Recchia’s spot in the rotation; therefore, the righty is slated to begin his High-A career Sunday at home against Frederick.

Recchia also thrived in seven starts before his promotion. He went 4-3 with a 2.90 ERA, which is good for the ninth-lowest mark in the Carolina League. The Worth, Ill., native also sits second in the CL and fourth in all of High-A baseball with 47 strikeouts.

This time last season, Recchia was in independent baseball with the Windy City ThunderBolts. The White Sox inked him to a deal in June, and he made 12 starts with the Dash from early August of 2013 until his final outing Tuesday in Myrtle Beach. He went 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA, capping his time in the CL with back-to-back seven-inning showings.

A key to Recchia’s success this season was his ability to shut down the first batter of the inning. He pitched 40.1 innings, which means he started 41 frames. Only five of those 41 leadoff hitters reached against him (three singles, one walk and one hit by pitch).

Fans can hear from Recchia on tonight’s Pregame Dash, which begins at 6:45 on 600 AM-WSJS in Winston-Salem. Stay tuned for a preview of tonight’s series lid-lifter against Frederick, which will be posted here on the Dash Board later today.

– Brian

Scary weather near MiLB cities

A powerful weather patter has affected much of the country over the last few days, and the thunderstorms are slowly moving east. Last night, the White Sox Double-A affiliate was in the path of a dangerous supercell that prompted a tornado warning.

As a result, the Barons’ game in Chattanooga was suspended in the seventh inning, during which Birmingham scored four runs. Chris Bassitt summed it up well.

Unfortunately, Chattanooga was not the only Minor League city in the way of these crazy storms. A massive, rotating thunderstorm was bearing down on Birmingham.

The storm did dissipate before reaching the downtown area, which was a huge break for the downtown area. Storms with tornadic motion normally have a “hook” at the bottom of the cell. The tweet below shows the weakening of the cell just before hitting downtown Birmingham.

The home city of another Southern League city was not so lucky. Pearl, Miss., where the Mississippi Braves play, was hit hard by a tornado. The images are horrifying.

This storm system will continue its slow trek to the east, and folks throughout the Carolina League should heed former Dash All-Star Chris Beck’s words.

The forecast calls for the most dangerous weather over the next few days to be south of Winston-Salem. Still, it is not a storm to take lightly, and severe weather is likely over the next 36-48 hours.

Our thoughts go out to all those who were affected by these powerful storms. Stay safe the rest of the week.

– Brian

Well, that was quick

Jarrett Casey struck out 11 in eight innings with Winston-Salem in 2014 (Erik Weasenforth/W-S Dash).

Jarrett Casey struck out 11 in eight innings with the Dash in 2014 (Erik Weasenforth/W-S Dash).

When the Dash’s Opening Day roster went public, one of the biggest surprises was left-hander Jarrett Casey. Casey jumped from Winston-Salem to Double-A Birmingham in early August of last year and helped the Barons win the Southern League championship.

Casey did not let his assignment to Winston-Salem get him down. In fact, Casey was the Dash’s best reliever for the season’s first three weeks; therefore, he has returned to Birmingham, the White Sox announced Tuesday morning.

In six appearances spanning eight scoreless innings, the Indianapolis native scattered five hits and struck out 11. He also collected two of the Dash’s three saves thus far this season. Casey stranded a pair in the ninth inning of the Dash’s 4-2 win at Salem on April 9. Four days later, he finished off Winston’s only other win on its first road trip by inducing a double play off the bat of Cody Stubbs to escape a jam in a 1-0 victory.

Casey is one of three Carolina League hurlers with a 0.00 earned run average and at least eight innings of work. He anchored a Dash bullpen that boasts a 1.85 earned run average and almost 12 strikeouts per nine innings.

As a result, the Dash’s roster sits at 24 players. Winston-Salem has today off before kicking off a seven-game road trip Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Potomac.

– Brian

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

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