Results tagged ‘ Chicago White Sox ’

A look around the White Sox system

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

MLB: Chicago White Sox (7-6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (6-6)

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

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

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

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

Double-A: Birmingham Barons (5-5)

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

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

Low-A: Kannapolis Intimidators (4-7)

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

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

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

- Dave

Recapping the weekend around the system

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

Chicago White Sox (3-3):

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlotte Knights (3-1):

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

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

Birmingham Barons (1-2):

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

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

Kannapolis Intimidators (2-2):

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

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

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

- Dave

Johnson, Semien honored by Baseball America

Marcus Semien won the Southern League's MVP award in 2014 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Marcus Semien won the Southern League’s MVP award in 2014 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Most outlets believe the White Sox farm system has improved significantly over the last couple of years. Even though a system is not completely defined by its top few players, boasting multiple top-flight prospects goes a long way in public perception.

Baseball America released its Top 100 Prospect List in advance of the 2014 season, and the White Sox claimed four of the players on the list. A year ago, Chicago only had one Top 100 farmhand (Courtney Hawkins at 55).

This year, a pair of Dash alumni represented the White Sox. Righty Erik Johnson, who is a favorite to corral a rotation spot in The Show, checks in at 63, while fellow Cal product Marcus Semien, a versatile infielder who had a monster 2013 season, is at 91.

Two newly-acquired prospects rounded out Chicago’s representatives. Free agent signing Jose Abreu, who figures into Chicago’s big league plans this year, was the top-ranked White Sox product on the list by collecting the 29 slot. Matt Davidson, who came over from Arizona in the Addison Reed trade during the offseason, is at 72.

For comparison, here is how the White Sox stacked up to other big league clubs represented in the Carolina League on the Top 100 Prospect List:

Atlanta (Lynchburg) – 2
Baltimore (Frederick) – 3
Boston (Salem) – 8
Cleveland (Carolina) – 3
Kansas City (Wilmington) – 4
Texas (Myrtle Beach) – 5
Washington (Potomac) – 1

Outside of Boston’s significant lead, the White Sox are right there, especially when you consider Texas had two of the last four players on the list. Regardless, the reality is that Chicago’s system is on the upswing, and the talent that could come through Winston-Salem in 2014 is impressive, too. Fans should not be surprised to see even more newcomers on this list from the White Sox system in 2015.

- Brian

The first 2014 White Sox prospect list

Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America's White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Speedster Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America’s White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Baseball America is, in many ways, the bible of baseball prospects. Few publications examine Minor League Baseball more thoroughly than Baseball America, which has released its 2014 White Sox Top 10 Prospect list.

Over the last few seasons, Baseball America has been critical of the White Sox system, but the publication believes that the system is making significant progress:

For the first time since at least 2000, when the White Sox had the game’s No. 2 farm system, the organization has prospect depth.

How can one best illustrate this depth? Let’s take a look at Baseball America’s Top 10 list from this time last year and compare it to this year’s.

2013 White Sox Top 10:
1. OF Courtney Hawkins
2. OF Trayce Thompson
3. INF Carlos Sanchez
4. RHP Erik Johnson
5. OF Keenyn Walker
6. LHP Scott Snodgress
7. RHP Andre Rienzo
8. INF Keon Barnum
9. OF Jared Mitchell
10. RHP Chris Beck

2014 White Sox Top 10:
1. INF Jose Abreu
2. RHP Erik Johnson
3. INF Tim Anderson
4. INF Matt Davidson
5. INF Marcus Semien
6. INF Micah Johnson
7. OF Courtney Hawkins
8. OF Trayce Thompson
9. RHP Chris Beck
10. OF Jacob May

Only four members of the 2013 list appear on this year’s edition. This reflects the benefits of the transactions the White Sox have made much more than the struggles of a few of these players over the last 12 months.

Not only have these players impressed the White Sox and other baseball people, but many of them have produced at or near the top of the organization. Three of the current Top 10 have played in the big leagues, with Jose Abreu likely to play much of next season on the South Side. Excluding Abreu, only Tim Anderson and Jacob May have yet to play in High-A, and both could start in Winston-Salem in 2014.

Beyond the Top 10 rankings, Baseball America’s “Best Tools” and “Top 15 Players 25 and Under” lists, which can also be viewed here, feature more of Chicago’s minor league depth.

The White Sox had a tough 2013 in The Show, but the farm system should instill plenty of hope in the fan base for 2014 and beyond.

- Brian

Shoemaker heads to Marlins organization

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Brady Shoemaker won the 2012 Home Run Derby at BB&T Ballpark with his dad (left) throwing to him (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The Miami Marlins selected former Dash outfielder and Carolina League All-Star Brady Shoemaker in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, which took place Thursday morning.

After a late promotion to Winston-Salem in 2011, Shoemaker shined for the Dash during the first half of the 2012 season. He hit .331 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 78 games, during which Shoemaker led the Dash to a first-half Southern Division title.

Shoemaker was one of three players who represented the Dash in the 2012 California-Carolina League All-Star Game, which was held at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem. With his father throwing to him, Shoemaker won the 2012 Home Run Derby.

However, Shoemaker missed the entire 2013 season with a torn labrum, and he is now heading to the Marlins organization. The former Indiana State star is likely to spend much of the 2014 season on Miami’s Triple-A roster in New Orleans.

Last season, Boston selected 2012 Dash reliever Jon Bachanov in the Triple-A phase, while 2010-11 Winston-Salem hurler Terry Doyle was chosen by Minnesota in the Major League phase of the 2011 Rule 5 Draft before being returned to the White Sox before that season began.

The White Sox did add a player via this year’s event. Catcher Adrian Nieto, who played for Potomac here in the Carolina League, joins Chicago’s organization from the Nationals. Nieto, 24, hit .285 with 11 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 68 runs scored over 110 games with the P-Nats in 2013.

Nieto becomes a member of the White Sox 40-man roster, which is now one shy of its maximum number of players.

One other notable tidbit from this year’s Rule 5 Draft. The Rangers selected Russell Wilson in the Triple-A phase of the process. Yes, that Russell Wilson. The former NC State signal caller who now leads the 11-2 Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.

Why would they do this? Here are some thoughts via baseball writers on Twitter.

It was certainly an interesting decision, but one that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The Rangers’ farm system is regarded as one of baseball’s best, so why not have a young role model athlete swing by and talk with some of its prospects.

Believe it or not, but the season starts in 112 days. Look for our countdown of the top 10 blog posts from 2013 early next week.

- Brian

Sanchez, Thompson added to 40-man roster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Brian

All-Stars, big signing, Halloween uniforms

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

BASSITT, SEMIEN NAMED AFL ALL-STARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHITE SOX SIGN CUBAN STAR ABREU

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

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

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

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

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

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

CRAZY BASEBALL STORIES

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

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

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

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

- Brian

Top 10 of 2013 – #3: Curley named CL’s MVP

Chris Curley received his MVP award in the Dash's home finale August 30 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Curley received his MVP award in the Dash’s home finale August 30 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Previous Top 10 Moments:
#10: Dash clinch winning record
#9: Comeback in Delaware
#8: 17 runs in six innings
#7: Buckner sets RBIs record
#6: Attendance record on July 4
#5: Beck, Blough toss gems
#4: Four alumni jump to MLB

Moment #3 – August 29
Four alumni promoted to big leagues

After the 2010 season, the Braves released Chris Curley. The Kentucky native remained in professional baseball by signing with the independent Florence Freedom in his home state. During the 2011 season, Curley thrived in the Frontier League but was disappointed when no affiliated organization called.

Curley admitted that he stopped worried about rejoining Minor League Baseball in 2012. He just played for the love of the game. Sure enough, he did get another chance with the White Sox in early July, and his good work with Kannapolis in the regular season and Winston-Salem in the playoffs earned him a spot on the Dash’s 2013 roster. Curley rewarded the organization with the best season of his career.

By themselves, Curley’s offensive numbers are tremendous:
.280, 24 HR, 92 RBI, 149 H, 251 TB, 90 R, 14 SB

When comparing those statistics to his peers, one has to be even more impressed. Curley led the Carolina League in homers, RBIs, runs, total bases and hits. In all of High-A baseball, which includes the offensive-heavy California League, the Campbellsville University product was sixth in homers, tied for sixth in RBIs, tied for sixth in total bases, tied for seventh in runs and ninth in hits.

There is no question that Curley was the most complete offensive performer in the Carolina League in 2013, and managers, general managers and media members voted him the circuit’s Most Valuable Player. Not only was this honor an incredible one for Curley, but it was a landmark achievement for the Dash’s franchise as well.

Curley’s efforts yielded Winston-Salem’s third consecutive MVP award. The Dash became the fourth organization in CL history to boast the league’s top honor in three straight seasons, which is one shy of the league record (Lynchburg, 1983-86).

Last year, Dan Black hit .315 with 17 home runs and 88 RBIs en route to the MVP. Black helped the Dash post the best regular season record in full-season Minor League Baseball. Ian Gac began the impressive streak in 2011. Gac went yard 33 times, two homers shy of the single-season Winston-Salem record, and drove in 96 RBIs.

Another year, another league MVP for the Dash. Curley was a stabilizing force within the Dash’s lineup, and he was rewarded for his efforts.

Check out the Dash Top 10 tomorrow for our second-best moment of 2013. It was a BB&T Ballpark first. Talk to you then.

- Brian

Johnson set to debut tonight at Yankee Stadium

Thanks to four White Sox promotions, the Dash made some history Tuesday night. Four Dash alumni–catcher Miguel Gonzalez, right-hander Erik Johnson, infielder Marcus Semien and righty Daniel Webb–earned their first career promotions to The Show.

None of these newcomers saw the field in their first MLB game, but Johnson will be on the bump tonight in New York against former Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia and the Yankees.

With the Sox out of the playoff chase, attention turns to the prospects, and Johnson is arguably the top farmhand in Chicago’s system. Fans are understandably excited for his debut tonight.

 

A year ago tomorrow, Johnson started Game 1 of the Southern Division Championship Series for the Dash. At 7:05 p.m., Puma will be making his MLB debut against one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last decade. This is quite a climb for a great pitcher and a great guy.

- Brian

Micah Johnson sprints to Double-A

Micah Johnson is taking his minor league-leading steal total up to Double-A Birmingham (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Micah Johnson is taking his minor league-leading steal total up to Double-A Birmingham (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

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.

- Rob

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