Results tagged ‘ Boston Red Sox ’
In honor of Father’s Day, which we celebrated yesterday, we took a look at two Dash players with strong baseball families. Jeremy Farrell is the oldest son of current Boston manager John Farrell, while Mark Tracy is the youngest son of former big league skipper Jim Tracy, who has led the Dodgers (2001-05), Pirates (2006-07) and Rockies (2009-12) in his career.
Both Jeremy and Mark reflect on their baseball dads in the video below. These two Dash sluggers touch on their childhood experiences, unique challenges and current relationships.
John Farrell has the Red Sox fighting for American League East supremacy in his first season at the helm in Boston (photo courtesy of the Boston Red Sox via Michael Ivans).
Jim Tracy’s most recent stop in the big leagues was with the Colorado Rockies (photo via Rich Clarkson and Associates).
Dash infielder Jeremy Farrell has been on a hot streak of late, going 4-4 with three doubles and a home run in Tuesday night’s series opener against Salem. He has also homered in back to back games, after also hitting one Sunday in the series finale against Potomac at BB&T Ballpark. Farrell has now tied Chris Curley and Courtney Hawkins for the team lead in home runs with seven. He has also driven in 32 runs, a total that is second to Myrtle Beach’s Trever Adams for the Carolina League lead.
Growing up, Farrell and his brothers were around the game all the time. His father, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, was a player in the major leagues for a few seasons with the Indians, Angels and Tigers before joining the coaching ranks. Jeremy says that having his dad in and around the game all the time helped him to prepare for his own baseball career:
“My brothers and I wouldn’t have had it any other way growing up around the ballpark. It was a great way to grow up. We learned a lot and always had a great role model in our dad.”
Now Jeremy has the chance to be the same kind of mentor to his own son after he and his wife Bridget celebrated the birth of their first child during the offseason.
“It’s great to be able to bring him around the clubhouse even though he’s too young to really know what’s going on. It’s a unique experience and something I hope I can pass on to him like my dad did with us.”
The new addition to the family was just one part of a wild offseason for Jeremy as he spent spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization before being released and signing with the White Sox on Opening Day. Having spent his entire minor league career in one organization, he didn’t know what to expect at first. After settling in with the White Sox, Farrell is happy with where he has landed:
“The Chicago White Sox have been great so far. There’s a lot of great people who are here to help you and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. I am looking forward to what the future brings.”
Winston-Salem is certainly glad to have him, too. Farrell has been a key cog in the middle of the Dash’s order throughout the season, especially during this four-game winning streak.
The Dash will wrap up their three-game series with the Salem Red Sox with a doubleheader today after last night’s rainout. Game one starts at 5:05 p.m. Join Brian here for the Pregame Dash starting at 4:50 p.m.
Winston-Salem rolled the Salem Red Sox 11-1 last night in a series opener at LewisGale Field for their fourth straight win, which matches the Dash’s longest winning streak of the campaign. We touch on that blowout, along with a pair of important injury updates, today in the Dots.
- Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins, who has been on the disabled list since injuring his left shoulder on May 1 at Lynchburg, does not yet have an official timetable for his return. However, Hawkins has spent most of the last few weeks with the Dash, and he is slowly resuming baseball activities. The White Sox first-round pick in 2012, Hawkins has begun throwing and taking dry swings, but he has not hit in the cage yet.
- Hawkins, who hurt his shoulder while making a diving catch in left-center field, is going through his first full season in professional baseball, and this is obviously a setback. Still, the 19-year-old remains in good spirits and in the middle of the Dash’s activities. He is always at the cage during batting practice and near the coaches during each game. You can be sure that Hawkins is getting the itch to return to the field, but he is also soaking up as much as he can while absorbing the game from a different perspective.
- Another Winston-Salem outfielder is banged up a bit. Adam Heisler hurt his knee on a diving catch last Sunday in Potomac. He finished the game but then missed the following three games. The Mobile, Ala., native then played from Thursday through Saturday before missing the last two games as the knee injury continues to bother him. Dash skipper Ryan Newman says Heisler is day-to-day, so we will keep track of his progress.
- Heisler’s injury is noteworthy throughout the Minor League Baseball landscape thanks to his 41-game on-base streak, which is the longest current run in the minors. Barring a disabled list trip, Heisler will have the longest such streak until it ends because he has a pretty safe lead on his closest competitors.
- Rangel Ravelo has been on fire at the High-A level despite a trip to the DL. In his five games with Winston-Salem, Ravelo is hitting .625 (10-for-16) with eight RBIs and four runs scored. He is also a ridiculous 7-for-9 (.778) with men in scoring position.
- The Dash reached, matched or approached plenty of season highs in Tuesday’s thumping of the Red Sox. Jeremy Farrell became the first Dash swinger with four extra-base hits in a single game. The Dash have matched a season high with four straight victories. Joey DeMichele was the fourth man to swipe a pair of bases in one game. Winston won by 10 runs, which is the second-largest margin of victory this season.
- Don’t forget about the pitching side of Tuesday’s victory. Starter Chris Bassitt rebounded from his worst start of the season with one of his best. Bassitt now owns a share of the Carolina League’s wins lead with five. He and three relievers (J.R. Ballinger, Jarrett Casey and Jeremy Erben) combined on a three-hitter in the series opener.
The Dash are back at it tonight at 7:05 in Salem. Join me for the Pregame Dash at 6:50 here. Talk to you then.
Since it opened in April of 2010, there have been numerous great players to play on BB&T Ballpark’s field. Here we have compiled a list of the some of the greatest players to play here in the park’s short history:
Jackie Bradley, Jr.: A member of the 2012 Salem Red Sox and the 2012 Carolina League All-Star team, Bradley was the Opening Day left fielder for the Boston Red Sox this year.
Dylan Bundy: The right-hander made 12 starts for the Frederick Keys last year, and tossed a scoreless inning for the Carolina League in last year’s All-Star Game. He came into 2013 as the number two rated prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America.
Adam Dunn: The slugger came with the White Sox when they played the Dash at BB&T Ballpark in an exhibition game prior to the 2011 season. Mostly a designated hitter the last several years, Dunn had a string of five consecutive seasons with 40 or more home runs from 2004-2008 and is fifth among active players with 413 career home runs.
Billy Hamilton: The speedster represented the Bakersfield Blaze on the California League All-Star team last season and stole two bases in the first inning of the All-Star Game. Hamilton set a record for stolen bases in a minor league season in 2012 with 147 swipes.
Eric Hosmer: Now in his third season as the everyday first baseman for the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer played in the Carolina League with the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, he won the league’s batting title after posting a .354 average.
Paul Konerko: Now in his 17th season in the big leagues, Konerko was another member of that 2011 White Sox squad that played at BB&T Ballpark in March of that year. The first baseman has 1,352 RBIs in his career, ranking him fifth among all active players.
Manny Machado: A shortstop while coming through the Baltimore Orioles’ system, the 2011 Key alum made the big leagues late last season where he played down the stretch and in the playoffs at third base. Now in his first full season with the Orioles, Machado is the team’s regular third baseman.
Wil Myers: The 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, Myers applied his trade for a long time in the Kansas City system before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays this past off-season. Considered one of the best hitting prospects in the game, Myers hit .346 in 58 games for the Blue Rocks in 2010.
Addison Reed: Now the closer for the White Sox, the hard-throwing righty had a brief stint with the Dash during the 2011 season. Reed appeared in 15 games out of the Winston-Salem bullpen, posting a 1.59 ERA in 28.1 IP.
Anthony Rizzo: Now the proud owner of a new contract extension that will keep him with the Chicago Cubs through at least 2019, Rizzo was once a Red Sox farmhand. The first baseman played for Salem in 2009 and 2010 before being traded to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, and eventually to the Cubs prior to 2012.
Chris Sale: On July 2, 2010 the southpaw made his professional debut here at BB&T Ballpark in front of what was then the highest attendance in the park’s history at 7,268. Sale would reach the big leagues later in the 2010 season, and is now the ace of the White Sox rotation. In his most recent outing, he nearly threw a perfect game against the Angels.
Andrelton Simmons: The shortstop hit .311 during the 2011 campaign as a Lynchburg Hillcat, and also did some damage as a Hillcat in the 2012 Carolina League Playoffs while on a rehab assignment. Simmons hit two home runs in the playoffs including one against the Dash in the Mills Cup Finals. He is now the regular starting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves.
Come join us tonight as we celebrate the one millionth fan in BB&T Ballpark’s history! One lucky fan will be randomly selected to play a game of chance to win either one million dollars, a two-year lease on a vehicle from Flow Auto, or two Dash tickets for life!
If you can’t make it to the park, join me here at 6:45 for the Pregame Dash with first pitch to follow at 7. Tonight’s game will also be broadcast on 600-AM WSJS in the Winston-Salem area. Talk to you then!
With the season starting tomorrow night, it’s time to see who could make an impact on the seven other teams in the Carolina League. The prospect rankings used for this post are from Baseball America.
Carolina Mudcats: For the second straight season, shortstop Francisco Lindor is the top prospect in the Indians’ organization. The 2011 first-round pick spent all of 2012 with Low-A Lake County, where he was the youngest everyday player in the league at 18.
Scouts say Lindor has an above-average arm and great instincts and rate him as one of the best defensive infielders in the minors. Lindor was given some spring training action for the Indians, hitting .292 while appearing in 10 games. He won’t turn 20 until after the season, meaning his best days are surely ahead of him.
Others to watch for: Outfielder Tyler Naquin (#3 prospect), infielder Tony Wolters (#17), right-handed pitcher Cody Anderson (#29) and outfielder Jordan Smith (#30).
Frederick Keys: After spending all of 2012 with Low-A Delmarva, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez could be set to make an impact for the Keys this summer. In 2012, the southpaw pitched 107 innings for Delmarva and posted a 3.70 ERA.
Rodriguez, listed as Baltimore’s number five prospect, was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela when he was 17. He will turn 20 during the Carolina League’s opening weekend, and the Orioles hope he will continue to climb toward his very ceiling in his age 20 season.
Others to watch for: Infielder Nick Delmonico (#4 prospect), left-handed pitcher Tim Berry (#11), outfielder Glynn Davis (#14), right-handed pitcher Devin Jones (#18), right-handed pitcher Zach Davies (#20), right-handed pitcher Tyler Wison (#26) and outfielder Brenden Webb (#27).
Lyncburg Hillcats: After his 2012 season was cut short by injuries, outfielder Matt Lipka will be back in Lynchburg to start 2013. The 14th-rated prospect in the Braves’ system, Lipka hit .271 in 51 games for the Hillcats before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.
A former shortstop, Lipka was playing center field for the first time as a professional last year, and scouts say he showed good instincts. With his above-average speed, Lipka could turn into a very good defensive center fielder, but the Braves want him to prove he is healthy and continue to improve before giving him a shot at Double-A.
Others to watch for: Right-handed pitcher Navery Moore (#15 prospect), right-handed pitcher Juan Jaime (#20), third baseman Kyle Kubitza (#25), right-handed pitcher Nate Hyatt (#26) and outfielder Robby Hefflinger (#29).
Myrtle Beach Pelicans: On July 2, 2009, the Rangers signed two 16-year old shortstops from Venezuela. The first one, Jurickson Profar, is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and is close to breaking into the big league lineup. The other signing that day, Luis Sardinas, will be a member of the 2013 Pelicans.
While injuries slowed his progress at the start of his minor league career, Sardinas was mostly healthy last year while playing for Low-A Hickory. He hit .291 and stole 32 bases in 2012 while also showing off a strong arm and overall plus skills in the field. He played mostly shortstop last season, but with Profar ahead of him, he could move permanently to second base, where he played 14 games in 2012.
Others to watch for: Right-handed pitcher Luke Jackson (#6 prospect), infielder Rougned Odor (#11), infielder Drew Robinson (#21), outfielder Zach Cone (#24) and right-handed pitcher Nick Martinez (#27).
Potomac Nationals: After 109 games with Potomac, outfielder Michael Taylor earned himself the number 11 slot on the Nationals’ prospect list. Taylor was drafted as a shortstop, but was quickly moved to center field after turning pro. He is a very good defensive outfielder, but his bat trails behind his defensive skills.
Taylor hit just .242 last year and struck out more than 100 times for the second straight year, two big reasons why scouts believe he will repeat High-A this year. With improvements in his offensive game, though, Double-A should be within his reach before too long.
Others to watch for: Right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole (#4), right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan (#13), infielder Jason Martinson (#14), left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray (#18) and outfielder Billy Burns (#26).
Salem Red Sox: The Red Sox number five prospect, left-hander Henry Owens, won 12 games for Low-A Greenville in his first professional season last year. Armed with a fastball, changeup, and two different types of breaking ball, the 2011 first rounder led all Red Sox farmhands with those 12 wins and finished second in strikeouts with 130.
The southpaw’s walk numbers were high in 2012, but improved control could limit his time in Salem and quickly send him up to Double-A before all is said and done. If the Red Sox struggle again in 2013, a September call-up to the big leagues may not be out of the question to get Owens’ feet wet.
Others to watch for: Catcher Blake Swihart (#6 prospect), third baseman Garin Cecchini (#7), shortstop Deven Marrero (#10), outfielder Brandon Jacobs (#13), second baseman Sean Coyle (#24), outfielder Keury De La Cruz (#25) and left-handed pitcher Miguel Pena (#30).
Wilmington Blue Rocks: The top prospect in the Kansas City organization after the big Wil Myers-James Shields trade is right-handed pitcher Kyle Zimmer. Last year’s fifth overall pick, Zimmer has been confirmed as a member of the Blue Rocks’ 2013 staff.
After a giving up just one run in 10 innings for the AZL Royals after signing, Zimmer was promoted to Low-A Kane County and made six starts. He pitched 30 innings for the Cougars, posting a 2.43 ERA. With a fastball that reached 99 mph in college, Zimmer may be on the fast track to the big leagues if he can build upon his strong professional debut.
Others to watch for: Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio (#4 prospect), left-handed pitcher Sam Selman (#6), third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert (#9), left-handed pitcher John Lamb (#11), right-handed pitcher Kyle Smith (#12), right-handed pitcher Angel Baez (#18), shortstop Jack Lopez (#19) and right-handed pitcher Robinson Yambati (#28).
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for these players and other top prospects as they make their way to BB&T Ballpark this summer. The Carolina League is loaded in 2013.
Our 2013 preview continues today with a look at the Salem Red Sox, who had a great first half and a rough second half last season.
Introduction: The Salem Red Sox are a (surprise!) Boston Red Sox affiliate located in Salem, Va. Before the Red Sox brought Salem aboard in 2009, the franchise was known as the Salem Avalanche and was affiliated with the Houston Astros.
Last season: The Salem Red Sox finished in third in the Southern Division of the Carolina League at 68-69-1, but they were very much a contender in the first half. Led by the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Travis Shaw, Salem finished the first half with the league’s second-best record. However, the Dash outlasted the Sox by three games for the first-half crown.
Manager: Billy McMillon returns for a second season as Salem’s manager. McMillon was a professional baseball player from 1996-2004, debuting with the Florida Marlins as an outfielder. He would go on from there to play with the Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers. He spent 2010-2011 as a skipper for the Greenville Drive in the Low-A South Atlantic League.
System: The Boston Red Sox had a losing season last year, their first one since 1997. However, the club’s minor league system could provide some help soon. Baseball America pegs the Sox system as the sixth-best in baseball, which is second to the Rangers (third) among organizations with an affiliate in the Carolina League. Plus, much of the Red Sox high-end talent is only a step or two away from Fenway Park.
Best Promotion: The Salem Red Sox are hosting a slew of themed nights, including a Super Hero night, Star Wars night and an 80s night where they encourage patrons to come dressed up in costume. On paper, Salem’s promotional schedule is among the best in the CL.
Fun fact: Their current mascot is Mugsy, a St. Bernard.
Red Sox in Winston Salem: The Salem Red Sox and the Winston-Salem Dash don’t meet up until the Salem Red Sox travel to BB&T Ballpark for a weekend series May 3-5. The Sox will be in the Triad from June 24-27 and August 14-16.
Tomorrow: We will wrap up the Carolina Countdown with the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
We have reached the fifth team in our league-wide countdown. A quick programming note: we will take the weekend off and bring you the final two team previews (Salem and Wilmington) Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Without further ado…
CAROLINA COUNTDOWN: Potomac Nationals
Introduction: The Carolina League affiliate for the Washington Nationals, Potomac has been the High-A affiliate for Washington since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005. The Nationals play their home games at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va., which is within the Potomac region.
Last season: In 2012, Potomac finished in second place in the Northern Division in the season’s first half with a 31-39 record, but the P-Nats never truly threatened to win the crown. Their record improved after the All-Star break to 33-36, but it was not enough to get Potomac into the Carolina League playoffs.
Manager: Brian Daubach joins the Nationals as their skipper after two seasons managing the Nationals’ Low-A affiliate, the Hagertown Suns, where he went 157-119 with one playoff appearance. Daubach played several different positions in his eight seasons (1998-2005) in the majors, including third base, first base, right field, left field and designated hitter. Throughout his career, Daubach spent time with the Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and New York Mets.
System: The Nationals were a bad baseball team at the right time, “earning” the number one overall pick when Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were on the board. These two players, among others, have helped the Nats become a World Series contender. The minor league system is right around the middle of the pack now; Baseball America ranks Washington 16th in its annual talent rankings. Third baseman Anthony Rendon and outfielder Brian Goodwin offer the most promise among offensive prospects, while raw right-hander Lucas Giolito, who had Tommy John surgery last year, is the top pitching prospect.
Best promotion: Among their many promotions in 2013, the Nationals have announced one of the most unique giveaways I have ever seen. In his days with Potomac in 2006, outfielder Roger Bernadina earned the nickname “The Shark” for the way he hunted down fly balls in the gaps, similar to the way sharks hunt their prey. To commemorate “The Shark”, Potomac will be giving away a half-man, half-shark figurine to memorialize Bernadina’s time in Potomac. Christened the “Shark-A-rine”, the giveaway will surely generate a lot of interest, and maybe some confusion, among fans this year.
Fun fact: Last July, the Potomac Nationals were forced to make a very strange roster move as they had to put their mascot Uncle Slam on the 60-day DL, ending his season. The mascot had to sit out the remainder of the 2012 season after sustaining burns when a fire broke out at Pfitzer Stadium. Uncle Slam is expected to be fully recovered and ready for Potomac’s Opening Day.
Nationals in Winston-Salem: Potomac will be in town only once during the season’s first half (May 17-19). In the second half, the Nationals will come to BB&T Ballpark July 8-11 and will be the opponent for the Dash’s final home series of 2013, August 28-30. Last season, the Dash won all 10 games against the P-Nats at BB&T Ballpark.
Up next: The Salem Red Sox are next up on the countdown, and we’ll have that for you Monday. Enjoy the weekend.
As Mike discussed earlier today, many players we saw compete in the 2012 California-Carolina League All-Star Game at BB&T Ballpark have since been promoted to Double-A. During our pregame coverage prior to the Midsummer Classic last week, we chatted with three of them.
Salem outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., is now with Portland in the Red Sox system. Myrtle Beach ace Cody Buckel just debuted with Frisco on the Rangers’ farm. Finally, Lake Elsinore’s right-handed starter Donn Roach is now kicking and tossing for San Antonio within the Padres’ system.
Here are those three conversations. We will have some more All-Star interviews on the blog in the next few days.
The Carolina League All-Star ballot was released today, and three Dash players were selected to the team. Outfielders Brady Shoemaker and Michael Earley will start in their familiar positions in left and right field at BB&T Ballpark on June 19. Dash starter Matt Heidenreich was also named as one of the 10 pitchers. Here is a closer look at the All-Star caliber numbers for Winston’s selections. First the offensive numbers:
Batting Average: Both Earley and Shoemaker are hitting over .310 on the season and rank among the top ten in the league in average.
Earley- .314 BA (59 games, 210 AB’s)
Shoemaker- .330 BA (60 games, 224 AB’s)
-After a slow start to the season for Earley, he exploded for his best stretch in the midst of the Dash’s nine-game win streak at the end of April.
-Shoemaker is the model of consistency at the plate. It took 45 games into the season before he went back-to-back games without recording a hit. Shoemaker is third in the league with 74 hits. Earley has 66.
Home Runs: The numberof home runs a player hits is always looked at with great interest from fans. Both are doing quite well in the long ball category.
Earley- 8 HR, 1 Grand Slam
Shoemaker- 10 HR, 2 multi-HR games
-From April 26-30 Earley hit four home runs in five games, only missing on April 28. Then, on May 10 in a game two of a doubleheader against Frederick, he crushed a grand slam.
-Shoemaker’s 10 home runs sit one back of the league lead. He turned in multi-home run games on April 19 at home against Wilmington and on April 30 at Potomac.
Runs Batted In: The two Dash All-Stars rank among the top five in the league in this category as well.
Earley- 35 RBI
Shoemaker – 40 RBI
-Earley is in the top 10 in the Carolina League for RBI while Shoemaker is fourth in the league and second on the team. Earley had 5 straight multi-RBI games from April 26-April 30 and has driven in at least three runs four times this year. Shoemaker’s best run producing stretch came in the six games from April 30-May 5 when he compiled 10 RBI.
-In addition, Shoemaker has driven in two game-winning runs in the past three weeks. On May 18 he broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth against Lynchburg with a single into right field to score the go-ahead run. Shoemaker kicked off the first day of June by drawing a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the eighth inning against Carolina to give the Dash an 8-7 win.
The numbers for the two Dash All-Stars on offense are a big reason why Winston-Salem has the most productive offense in the Carolina League. The pitching has also been solid, and Matt Heidenreich will represent the staff. A quick glance at his numbers might cause the casual observer to inquire about the worthiness of his selection but for those that have watched him all season long it is obvious Heidenreich is All-Star worthy.
Longevity: Heidenreich is a workhorse who likes to go deep into games, and his early season output reflected that mentality. In his second start of the season, he delivered a complete game performance against Myrtle Beach, striking out six and allowing two runs but ultimately getting the loss. However, that loss was the only one Heidenreich would suffer until June 3. In his next seven outings, he averaged more than six innings and five strikeouts per start.
Consistency: In his three starts from May 12-24, Heidenreich put together his best stretch of the season. He went eight scoreless innings on May 17 and delivered seven innings to bookend that outing. On May 12, Heidenreich carried a perfect game into the fifth inning against Lynchburg before plunking the leadoff batter. The momentum carried to May 17 where Myrtle Beach was no-hit until the sixth inning. And on May 24 Heidenreich delivered his magnum opus, firing seven scoreless and striking out a season-high eight batters to out duel Matt Barnes, Boston’s top pick in 2011 and help the Dash avoid a sweep at the hands of Salem.
We now know who will be playing in the All-Star Game on June 19. The one question remains; will they be representing the Dash as first-half Southern Division champions? With seven games left in the first-half, Winston-Salem could certainly use more big moments from its All-Stars.