Results tagged ‘ Charlotte Knights ’
It’s hard to believe, but we are already about a month into the Dash season! With April in the rearview mirror, we wanted to take a look at how the rest of the teams are faring within the White Sox organization.
Chicago White Sox (MLB): Look out, baseball–the South Siders have the best record in the American League.
Chicago sits atop the Central Division by four games with a 19-10 record. The parent club also currently sports the best ERA in the AL with a 2.83 mark.
Dash alumnus Chris Sale became baseball’s first six-game winner after his victory against the Orioles on May 1. The southpaw has a 1.66 ERA and some pundits are touting the 27-year-old as the early favorite for the AL Cy Young Award.
The scary part for the rest of baseball is that Sale may have company at the top of the rotation. Jose Quintana, another left-handed starter, is 4-1 with a 1.40 ERA. Meanwhile, newcomer Mat Latos has dazzled in his first year with the White Sox, going 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA.
The back of the bullpen has performed at an elite level as well. Relievers Matt Albers, Nate Jones, and David Robertson have combined for a 0.71 ERA in 38 innings. Less than a year ago, Jones was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery right here in Winston-Salem!
On offense, executive vice president Kenny Williams and general manager Rick Hahn made several impact moves this offseason that have helped the ballclub. Third baseman Todd Frazier, who was acquired in a trade involving three former Dash players, leads the team with seven home runs. Second baseman Brett Lawrie, whom the Sox received in a trade from Oakland, has posted a solid .283/.393/.485 line with four home runs and 10 RBIs.
The mainstays have continued to shine for Chicago as well. Right fielder Adam Eaton boasts a 10.9 Ultimate Zone Rating, nearly four points higher than any other player in baseball. After a slow start, designated hitter Jose Abreu had hit safely in eight straight games (14-for-32 in that span) from April 26-May 4 before going 0-for-5 on Thursday against the Red Sox.
With the Cubs having the best record in the National League, it could shape up to be an exciting summer of baseball in Chicago.
Charlotte Knights (AAA): It’s early, but a couple of top-level prospects have struggled at the Triple-A level in 2016.
Former Dash INF Tim Anderson, rated the second-best prospect in the organization by MLB.com, has gotten off to a slow start. The former first-round pick has mustered a .229/.253/.260 batting line in 22 games. Outfielder Jacob May, the club’s No. 7 prospect, has batted .250/.305/.352 with only one home run and eight RBIs.
The Knights’ pitching staff has scuffled as well. They’ve have the highest ERA in the International League, with a 4.78 mark (0.62 points higher than the Norfolk Tides, who possess a 4.16 ERA)
One bright spot for Charlotte has been former Dash outfielder Jason Coats. The 27th-best prospect in the organization posted a staggering .364/.417/.561 batting line before getting injured on April 24. He was just activated earlier this afternoon.
The Knights are 12-15, but only 1.5 games back of the Gwinnett Braves in the International League South Division.
Birmingham Barons (AA): The Barons, like the Knights, have seen their top prospects start off slowly. At 10-17, Birmingham sits in the basement of the Southern League North Division.
But it’s far from gloom and doom in Alabama. In fact, the team’s top-tier pitching prospects are starting to turn things around.
Former Dash right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in last two starts after going 0-3 with an 8.53 mark in his first three outings. Tyler Danish, another former Dash right-hander, has been marvelous since his first game. He’s thrown four quality starts in a row, going 2-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 28 1/3 innings during that span. Within that stretch, the former 2nd-round pick in 2013 threw his first complete game shutout on his late dad’s birthday.
A bright spot for Birmingham offensively has been former Dash infielder Jake Peter. The 23-year-old has swatted a line of .286/.320/.418 in 24 games.
Kannapolis Intimidators (Low-A): The Intimidators four-game winning streak was snapped on Thursday, but the team is slowly climbing back to .500. At 12-15, Kannapolis is 6.5 games back of Hagerstown and Hickory in the SAL’s Northern Division.
The Intimidators have several interesting prospects who could join Winston-Salem at some point this season. Outfielder Landon Lassiter, who reached base in every game during the month of April, currently wields a batting line of .306/.404/.365 in 22 contests.
On the rubber, southpaw Tanner Banks has been a stud at the top of the rotation. An 18th-round pick in 2014, the Utah native is 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 30 1/3 frames. He threw his first complete game shutout (9IP, 4H, 1BB, 5 SO) against the West Virginia Power on April 20.
The bullpen has been hit or miss so far, but there are several relievers on this team with impressive numbers:
- RHP Drew Hasler: 34th-round pick in 2015; 1.53 ERA in eight appearances, 17 2/3 innings and 12 strikeouts
- RHP Taylore Cherry: 32nd-round pick in 2015; 1.10 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings
- RHP Yelmison Peralta: International free-agent in 2012; 0.79 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings
Stay tuned for our Dash preview! After a rainout on Thursday, Winston-Salem begins a four-game, three-day set at BB&T Ballpark on Friday against the Salem Red Sox.
The 2016 season is almost a week old in the Minor Leagues, while the White Sox season is into its second week. Let’s take a look at some of the storylines around the organization.
MLB: Chicago White Sox (5-2)
The parent club has gotten off to the best start in the organization. It’s extremely early (I’ll be saying that a lot), but the Sox lead the Central Division by a half-game. One of the biggest reasons for this has been pitching. Chicago has a team ERA of 2.76, good for the third-best mark in the American League.
Former Dash left-handers Chris Sale (2010) and Carlos Rodon (2014) have started strongly. Sale is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in his first two starts, while Rodon threw seven strong innings in a tough-luck loss against the A’s on Wednesday. This Fangraphs article details why Rodon is likely to break out this year.
On the position player front, it’s fair to say outfielder Adam Eaton has had a memorable start. Through seven games, he leads the team in batting average (.417), on-base percentage (.481), and hits (10). Also, his wife Kate just gave birth to the couple’s first child. In this Chicago Tribune article, Eaton discusses his new life as both a father and a professional baseball player.
Right-hander Michael Ynoa, who pitched for the Dash last season, was called up while Eaton was on paternity leave. He became the 32nd player in Dash era to reach the majors. He was sent back down to Double-A without making an appearance, but he seems to be on the precipice of his first big league appearance.
Meanwhile, designated hitter Jose Abreu continues to destroy baseballs. He leads the team with two home runs, along with new third baseman Todd Frazier.
Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (1-4)
Unlike the White Sox, pitching has been the Achilles heel for the Knights thus far. Charlotte gave up seven earned runs on Monday in a loss to Norfolk to balloon their team ERA to 6.14, the highest mark in the International League. The squad has smashed a league-tying five home runs, though, with former San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez crushing two of them.
Outfielder Jason Coats, who spent a majority of 2014 with Winston-Salem, leads the team with a .455 batting average. He also tops the IL with 10 hits.
Double-A: Birmingham Barons (1-4)
Outside of a extra-inning victory on April 9 against Jacksonville, it has been a rough go for the Barons to begin 2016. Like Triple-A Charlotte, Birmingham has the highest team ERA in its league.
Some of the players who had integral roles in the Dash’s trip to the postseason last year have gotten off to slow starts. Shortstop Eddy Alvarez, outfielder Adam Engel, third baseman Trey Michalczewski and catcher Omar Narvaez are a combined 14-for-72 to begin the season. No need to stress though. We have seen what these players can do as the year progresses.
One of the most noteworthy members of the 2015 Dash in Birmingham is right-hander Carson Fulmer. Even though his first start was a bit rocky, the White Sox 2015 first-round pick left a strong impression on the organization during spring training.
Low-A: Kannapolis Intimidators (2-3)
After dropping their first three contests, the Intimidators have won two straight. They collected 10 runs in their series finale against Hickory on Sunday and then followed that up with a 2-1 victory against Delmarva on Monday.
One of the standouts so far is outfielder Tyler Sullivan. Normally known for his defense, the Intimidators’ leadoff man has a .421/.542/.579 batting line with three stolen bases through the first five contests.
Thanks for reading! We’ll have preview of tonight’s game against Myrtle Beach coming very shortly.
The second half is upon us! During the Dash’s three-day break, a few Winston-Salem alumni shined. Let’s take a look back:
SALE’S STRIKEOUT STREAK
For the seventh consecutive outing, Chris Sale posted a double-digit strikeout title on Wednesday at Minnesota. Sale became the fourth Major League hurler since 1914 to accomplish this remarkable feat, joining Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (1977), Pedro Martinez (1999) and Randy Johnson (2001).
Here’s a look back from some tweets last night:
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Chris Sale’s strikeout streak ends after 38 IP, the most since Johan Santana went 39 in ’02. pic.twitter.com/pX5CLxJZdA
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) June 24, 2015
How good is Chris Sale? Torii Hunter just swung at a pitch that HIT him for strike three.
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) June 24, 2015
ANDERSON’S AMAZING BIRTHDAY
Infielder Tim Anderson, the White Sox top prospect, celebrated his 22nd birthday in style. With plenty of family in attendance, Anderson claimed the Most Valuable Player award in Tuesday’s Southern League All-Star Game.
— Birmingham Barons (@BhamBarons) June 24, 2015
— Comcast SportsNet (@CSNChicago) June 24, 2015
— Jason Patterson (@jpatsc) June 24, 2015
MONTAS NAMED TO FUTURES GAME
Former Dash right-hander Frankie Montas, who shined in the Carolina League a year ago, will represent the White Sox in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Montas boasts a 2.55 earned run average in 12 starts with Double-A Birmingham.
— Futures Game (@futuresgame) June 25, 2015
Frankie Montas will rep the @whitesox in the 2015 Futures Game. In one inning he could hit 102 a few times.
— Adam Sager (@AdamGSager) June 25, 2015
MARIN DOMINANT IN TRIPLE-A
The White Sox released Terance Marin last April. Since then, he went to independent baseball, rejoined the White Sox, pitched in the Mexican League and earned a jump to Triple-A. With Charlotte, Marin has been incredible. In his four outings, Marin has not permitted a run in 22 innings. No Minor League hurler has logged more innings since June 5 without giving up a run than Marin, who was promoted to the Knights on that day.
Since joining AAA @KnightsBaseball from his loan-time in Mexico, RHP Terance Marin has thrown 22 innings and given up zero runs.
— FutureSox.com (@FutureSox) June 25, 2015
— PSI Sports (@PSISports) June 25, 2015
It’s always great to see so many Dash alumni perform well at higher levels. Here’s hoping this continues! Stay tuned for our preview of the Dash’s second-half opener in Lynchburg.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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)
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 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.
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.
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!
Once the 2014 season rolls around, BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem will not be the only such stadium in North Carolina. A new BB&T Ballpark is nearing completion in Charlotte, and it will officially open on April 11 of next year.
The similarities between the two BB&T Ballparks do not end with the name. Both the Dash and the Knights regarded these stadiums as the centerpiece of a move to downtown. Winston-Salem and Charlotte are both associated with the White Sox minor league system, too.
Scott Brown, the Knights’ General Manager of Baseball Operations, took some time to chat about the ballpark and much more. His thoughts are below.
Brian Boesch: How is BB&T Ballpark progressing?
Scott Brown: Great. It’s about 80 percent done and still on target to be significantly completed by the end of the calendar year. It might bleed into January a little bit, but we should be in our offices by February 1.
Brian: Sometimes, minor league stadiums are not ready when its debut season begins. How important was a completed stadium to you and the Knights for your Opening Day?
Scott: It’s a mammoth leap heading from Fort Mill, S.C., 15 miles north to Uptown, and we certainly didn’t want to handicap ourselves. We had the luxury of time so that the building could start while we were still occupying Knights Stadium.
It was the goal to get it done early, and I think it’s going to bode well for us and for our fans, and that’s also helped us on the marketing and sales side. People can see this structure coming out of the ground and see the grass in now and realize that this project that had been talked about for a decade-plus is coming to fruition.
Brian: The Dash’s move downtown was instrumental to the organization, and you saw how that happened when you worked in the Carolina League with Myrtle Beach. Have you been able to gauge how positively this move will affect the Knights?
Scott: It gets us to the center of the Charlotte metropolis region, so it puts us back in the middle so we can attract people from all over. Uptown Charlotte is a vibrant, growing area. A lot of people are choosing to live in the uptown area within walking distance of the ballpark. Those two things are really going to help our cause.
People are used to coming to Uptown for Panthers games, for Bobcats and soon-to-be Hornets games, for Checkers games. This completes the year-round sports cycle and makes Uptown an even bigger destination point for everybody in the region.
Brian: How much have you learned from watching other organizations build a new ballpark?
Scott: I think sometimes in this business we are “glass half full” most of the time, but I think when it comes to ballpark construction, the conversations with the people who have built ballparks recently are more about, “What went wrong?” and “What mistakes can we avoid?” So, I think we all become better as things evolve. You know there’s going to be something you missed, something that isn’t exactly the way you want it, but I think with each opening of each ballpark, they become better and better. We’ve benefitted from the knowledge and experience of others.
Brian: What are some of the neat features for fans to look for in 2014 and beyond?
Scott: It’s kind of similar to the Winston-Salem BB&T Ballpark with the skyline view. I really enjoyed that city feel to that ballpark, but also the view. In Charlotte, we’re even closer to the skyscrapers in Uptown, so it’s a tremendous view. Even when the lights are off, it’s almost like a starry sky you’re looking out to, so I think that’s one of the real benefits.
Just like BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem, we’ll have the walk-around concourse, which is more of the fad with designs now where you can stroll around the ballpark and get every vantage point. I’m really excited about our video package. We’ll have the widest screen in Minor League Baseball, along with a ribbon board.
We will also have some great club areas. We will have an upper club and a lower club, and one of the more unique features are the two dugout suites. Those are all real cool things. All of the ingredients are coming together to make a great buzz, and people are really excited about the opening.
Scott: It has been overwhelmingly positive. We wanted to keep the Knights because Charlotte is called the Queen City, and the Knights tie into the whole royalty, medieval times type of feel that we’re trying to get. We felt like it was a perfect time to freshen up our brand.
We liked our old logo, but we wanted, as we moved Uptown and started to get exposed to even more of our fans, to get it so that when you walk down the streets and saw one of our hats, you said immediately, “That’s the Charlotte Knights.” That will take some time to get to that point, but we’re real pleased we changed our color scheme.
There’s not another affiliated Minor League Baseball team that has that color scheme. We love to copy off each other and steal ideas, and, not by design, but by end result, we ended up with a unique look and something that we are really proud of.
Brian: The White Sox have to be giddy that their top three affiliates (Charlotte, Birmingham and Winston-Salem) have brand new ballparks, don’t they?
Scott: There’s no doubt. They’re so excited. Knights Stadium treated us well for 24 years. It was an adequate baseball facility, but as designs and construction have evolved, it really kind of fell behind the times. The White Sox had stuck with us and worked with us in an older ballpark, which we didn’t have a lot of the amenities that you’re looking for in professional baseball. Their patience has paid off. They’re going to be a part of this, and we expect a full contingent of White Sox folks to be on hand for Opening Night.
Brian: You probably can’t tell me what these things are, but do you have any other big announcements on the horizon?
Scott: Nothing earth-shattering, at least for the next week or two. Then, maybe after that, we might have another big announcement. We’re constantly working on it, wearing our media guys out. You know those media guys. We don’t feel like they work hard enough in the offseason, so we want to keep them occupied.
That final sarcastic jab aside, I always enjoy catching up with Scott, who is one of the hardest workers in baseball. I can assure you that the final product will be great come April 11 in Charlotte.
Good luck to our White Sox brethren in Charlotte as another BB&T Ballpark is only a few months away from completion.
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.
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.