Results tagged ‘ Chris Sale ’

Game #72 Preview – Dash at Lynchburg

Game #72 – Road Game #37
Winston-Salem Dash (1-0, 31-40) at Lynchburg Hillcats (0-1, 33-38)
Friday, June 26 – 6:30 p.m.
Calvin Falwell Field (Lynchburg, Va.)


Jordan Guerrero pitched into the ninth inning and the Dash led wire-to-wire Thursday to knock off the Hillcats 5-4. Winston-Salem has now won three straight road contests.

Robinson Leyer starts Friday for the Dash in Lynchburg. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Robinson Leyer starts Friday for the Dash in Lynchburg. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)


Adam Engel – CF
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Omar Narvaez – C
Nolan Earley – RF
T.J. Williams – DH
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Michael Suiter – LF
Robinson Leyer – RHP


  • Not only did Guerrero post a new career-high in innings, but he also became the first Winston-Salem starter to pitch more than eight innings since July 20, 2014, when Tony Bucciferro took a no-hitter into the ninth at Frederick before settling for a complete game shutout. Guerrero fell two outs short of becoming the seventh Winston pitcher in the Dash era (2009-present) to toss nine innings in a single game.
  • For just the second time this season, the Dash have rattled off three consecutive road victories. The other such surge took place from April 24-26, when the Dash rallied for a four-game series win at Myrtle Beach. This most recent mini-streak has immediately followed an eight-game road skid, the longest for the franchise since 2006. That funk included a four-game sweep at the hands of the Hillcats from June 5-7. The Dash are 14-22 on the road, which is the second-worst mark in the Carolina League.
  • Several Dash players find themselves at or near the top of some categories in the Carolina League. Adam Engel is tied for first in stolen bases (28) and third in runs scored (44). Trey Michalczewski shares second in RBIs (42). Omar Narvaez is fifth in batting average (.303). On the pitching side, Matt Heidenreich is first in wins (8) and sixth in earned run average (2.77).
  • For a third straight half, Winston-Salem earned a win in the opener. The Dash blasted Salem 12-4 to begin last year’s second half before obliterating Frederick to kick off this season. Before this recent uptick, the Dash had dropped five half lid-lifters in a row. Since the nickname change in 2009, Winston-Salem is 6-8 to begin the half.
  • Dash utility man Toby Thomas logged another strong showing on Thursday. Thomas went 2-for-4 with an RBI, his sixth at the High-A level. Thomas has hit safely in 11 of his first 14 games within the Carolina League. Of his 15 base hits, nine of them have gone for extra bases (seven doubles, one triple and one home run). Plus, the Alabama native has produced well despite playing in both the infield and outfield and hitting anywhere from sixth to ninth in the lineup.
  • Former Dash infielder Carlos Sanchez carried the White Sox past Detroit on Thursday with a three-run triple in the 10th inning of an 8-7 win on Thursday.
  • Winston-Salem improved to 24-10 (.706) when scoring more than three runs.
  • Friday starter Robinson Leyer posted a quality start in his only appearance against Lynchburg on May 27 (6.0 IP, 3 R, 5 H), which did result in a loss for both the Dash and Leyer.
  • Despite the series-opening win on Thursday night, the Dash are just 10-25 (.286) in Lynchburg since the start of the 2012 season. This does not include a pair of losses in the Mills Cup Finals in 2012.


Friday’s game will be available on, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:15 p.m., with the first pitch at 6:30 p.m.

– Scott

Game #71 Preview – Dash at Lynchburg

Game #71 – Road Game #36
Winston-Salem Dash (0-0, 30-40) at Lynchburg Hillcats (0-0, 33-37)
Thursday, June 25 – 6:30 p.m.
Calvin Falwell Field (Lynchburg, Va.)


The second half of the season begins Thursday, when the Dash start a three-game series at Lynchburg. Winston-Salem will compete with Salem and Carolina for the right to battle Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division Championship Series in September.

Trey Michalczewski begins the second half of the season in a tie for second in the Carolina League in RBIs. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Trey Michalczewski begins the second half of the season in a tie for second in the Carolina League in RBIs. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)


Adam Engel – CF
Jake Peter – 2B
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Omar Narvaez – C
Nolan Earley – RF
Toby Thomas – DH
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Michael Suiter – LF
Jordan Guerrero – LHP


  • During the season’s first 70 games, Winston-Salem recorded the worst single-half record during the Dash era (2009-present). In fact, Winston-Salem three most recent halves have been the franchise’s three worst since the nickname change. A year ago, the Dash were 30-39 and 31-39 in the first and second half, respectively. Since 2009, the Dash are still 40 games over .500 (472-432-1). Only Potomac owns a better record in the CL during this span.
  • This three-game set marks the Dash’s second and final trip to Lynchburg in the regular season. The Hillcats claimed all four games of a weather-condensed four-game series from June 5-7. It marked the franchise’s first four-game road sweep since June 2-5, 2008, the final season of the Warthogs. In the series finale, Lynchburg overcame a 7-0 Winston-Salem advantage, the biggest lead the club had ever surrendered in a loss since the Dash era began six years ago.
  • Several Dash players found themselves at or near the top of some categories in the Carolina League. Adam Engel is tied for first in stolen bases (28) and tied for second in runs (44). Trey Michalczewski shares second in RBIs (42). Omar Narvaez is sixth in batting average (.299). On the pitching side, Matt Heidenreich is sixth with a 2.95 earned run average, while his eight wins are two better than any other CL hurler.
  • The California League cruised to a 9-2 victory in the 19th California-Carolina League All-Star Game on Tuesday in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Omar Narvaez went 1-for-2 with a run scored, while both James Dykstra (1.0 IP, 2 ER) and Matt Heidenreich (0.1 IP, 0 R) appeared on the mound. With the victory, the men from the West Coast snagged a 9-8-2 edge in the all-time series. The 2016 Midsummer Classic will take place in Lake Elsinore, Calif., in a celebration of the California League’s 75th anniversary.
  • The Dash only had two roster moves in advance of the season’s second half. Euclides Leyer has rejoined the club from Low-A Kannapolis, while fellow righty Yency Almonte was assigned to the Intimidators from Winston-Salem.
  • On Sunday, the Dash improved to 10-0 at home when scoring six-plus runs.
  • Jordan Guerrero will make his fourth High-A start in the stadium where he made his first (5.0 IP, 4 R on June 7).


Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on 600 AM-WSJS and, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:15 p.m., with the first pitch at 6:30 p.m.

– Scott

Dash alumni thriving

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:


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:


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.


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.


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.

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.

– Brian

Games #52/69 Preview – Dash vs. Salem

UPDATE: 7 p.m.
Dash lineup for seven-inning finale:

Adam Engel – CF
Jake Peter – SS
Keon Barnum – 1B
Nolan Earley – RF
Jeremy Dowdy – C
Toby Thomas – 3B
Cleuluis Rondon – 2B
T.J. Williams – DH
Michael Suiter – LF
Brandon Brennan – RHP

Games #52/69 – Home Games #24/34
Winston-Salem Dash (28-39) vs. Salem Red Sox (37-30)
Saturday, June 20 – 4:30 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)


After Salem took Friday’s contest 5-3, the Dash and Red Sox will complete the suspended game from June 2 before playing Saturday’s regularly scheduled contest, a seven-inning affair. The suspended game will begin with the Dash up 3-0 with two outs and two on in the bottom of the second inning and will go a full nine frames.

Euclides Leyer was perfect in 1.1 innings Friday. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Euclides Leyer was perfect in 1.1 innings Friday. (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

STARTING LINEUP (Completion of suspended game from 6/2):

Adam Engel – CF
Jake Peter – SS
Trey Michalczewski – 3B
Keon Barnum – 1B
Omar Narvaez – C
Nolan Earley – RF
Cleuluis Rondon – 2B
Michael Suiter – LF
Ethan Wilson – DH
Yency Almonte – RHP


  • Before Saturday’s regularly-scheduled contest, Winston and Salem will complete a suspended game from June 2. When rain began to fall on that Tuesday night, the Dash enjoyed a 3-0 lead in the home half of the second. Jake Peter is at the plate with a 1-0 count, with Michael Suiter at second and T.J. Williams at first. The only member of the Dash’s lineup in that game who is no longer on the roster is Chris Jacobs, who is now with Double-A Birmingham. No matter what happens on Saturday, all statistics will revert back as if they took place on June 2.
  • On Thursday, Jake Peter’s lengthy hit streak came to an end with an 0-for-3, two-RBI game. At this moment, it stands as a 20-game hit streak, but it will not be recorded as such. If Peter hits safely in the continuation of the game from June 2, which started when Peter’s streak was at six, he will post a 21-gamer. However, if Peter does not collect a hit, it will be just a 14-game run and will no longer be the second-longest such surge in the Dash era (2009-now).
  • The Dash have announced that righty Yency Almonte will be on the hill when the third inning of the suspended game gets going. Almonte had been with Low-A Kannapolis all year, going 5-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 appearances.
  • White Sox ace Chris Sale has turned in one of the greatest five-start runs in Major League history. With his 14-strikeout showing on Friday against Texas, Sale joined Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as the only two men in MLB history to amass 12 or more strikeouts in five consecutive starts. In those five starts, Sale has punched out 65 batters in 37.1 innings (1.74 batters per inning). He took a perfect game into the sixth inning on Friday, when the Rangers shocked the White Sox with two in the ninth to steal a 2-1 win.
  • Winston-Salem will finish the first half with more offensive showings of three or fewer runs than four-plus tallies. On Friday, the Dash recorded their 36th game with no more than three runs. In those contests, Winston-Salem is 7-29 (.194). When the Dash collect at least four runs, the squad boasts a record of 21-10 (.677).
  • Dash infielder Trey Michalczewski has missed the last seven games with an unspecified injury, one that will prevent him from participating in Tuesday’s California-Carolina League All-Star Game. Myrtle Beach’s Jeimer Candelario has replaced Michalczewski, who is still third in the Carolina League in RBIs (39), on the All-Star roster. Also, southpaw Jace Fry, who is on the disabled list, successfully had Tommy John surgery earlier this week. This is the second such procedure for Fry, who also had Tommy John while at Oregon State. He was 1-8 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 starts with Winston-Salem.
  • To make room for Almonte on the Dash’s roster, the White Sox announced that Euclides Leyer would be sent to Low-A Kannapolis.
  • Adam Engel’s six-game hit streak ended on Friday due to an 0-for-4 game.
  • Sunday marks Matt Heidenreich’s turn in the rotation, but he will not pitch so that he can work in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, which is in his home state of California.


Saturday’s game will be available on, along with the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 4:15 p.m., with the first pitch at 4:30 p.m.

– Scott

An introduction of Carson Fulmer

It’s pretty safe to say that Monday is a day that Carson Fulmer will never forget.

Carson Fulmer was selected eighth overall in the 2015 MLB Draft by the White Sox. (Rebecca S. Gratz/The World Herald)

Carson Fulmer was selected eighth overall in the 2015 MLB Draft by the White Sox. (Rebecca S. Gratz/The World Herald)

At 7:02 p.m. EST, Fulmer’s Vanderbilt Commodores clinched a spot in the College World Series with a 4-2 victory over Illinois. Exactly 10 minutes later, his college teammate Dansby Swanson was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Less than an hour and seven picks after that, the Chicago White Sox made Fulmer their first round selection.

Fulmer comes from a strong pitching tradition at Vanderbilt that includes former American League Cy Young Award winner David Price. With the Tigers off Monday, Price drove down from Chicago to Champaign Sunday night after Detroit’s contest against the White Sox to catch the decisive Super Regional game.

With the White Sox heavy on left-handed pitching in their big league starting rotation (Chris SaleJose Quintana and Carlos Rodon), Fulmer is a right-handed arm Chicago hopes can both balance the rotation and rise to The Show quickly, having three years of college under his belt if he decides to sign with the club. Fulmer’s 13-2 record, 1.82 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 114 innings earned him the SEC Pitcher of the Year Award and recognition as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top amateur baseball player in the country.

The native of Lakeland, Fla., ironically the same hometown as Sale, throws a fastball that sits 92-94 mph can touch the upper 90s. Fulmer also throws a power curveball that has been described as “swing-and-miss” and a changeup.

The MLB Draft continues through Wednesday, and the White Sox will welcome a new crop of players over the coming days. Stay tuned for today’s game preview!

– Scott

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, 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.


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

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

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 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 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, “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

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

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 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 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

Checking in with the big club

Erik Johnson will start the 2014 season in the White Sox rotation (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Erik Johnson will start the 2014 season in the White Sox rotation (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

We are taking a quick break on our Carolina Countdown, which will resume later this week. In honor of our exciting announcement today, let’s check in on the White Sox with just six days until their opener and nine until the Dash’s Opening Day.

Erik Johnson makes the White Sox rotation: Right-hander Erik Johnson stormed through the White Sox minor league ranks, including a two-month stop in Winston-Salem. Chicago skipper Robin Ventura announced the rotation today, and the former second-round pick is in it.

This comment from White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin is important to note, too.

Whether the White Sox view Johnson as the fourth-best pitcher in the rotation or not, he will be in the mix to start the 2014 season. Good for Erik, who was an incredibly friendly, yet focused, pitcher during his time in the Triad. Big league hitters will hate seeing his slider.

Micah Johnson still in big league camp: Speedster Micah Johnson, who led all of Minor League Baseball in stolen bases last season, is still a member of big league camp. Only 33 players remain at this stage, which is an incredible accomplishment for a player who started last year in Low-A Kannapolis. Some thoughts via Twitter:

Johnson’s stolen base total in 2013 (84) is good for the second-most by a White Sox farmhand ever. Per these reporters and others, he will probably not be in a White Sox uniform on Opening Day, but his time may come much sooner than people expected this time last year.

A few other notes:
– Great stuff from our friends at FutureSox, who break down why Adrian Nieto made the White Sox, while Dash alum Kevan Smith did not.

– You won’t go hungry at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago this year. Wow.

– Merkin continues his good work with a great feature on Dash alum Nate Jones’ memories from his first Opening Day.

We are into single digits in our countdown to baseball’s return to Winston-Salem. Stay tuned for continuing coverage.

– Brian

Johnson’s catch, Sale’s start and much more

The White Sox are already two weeks into their exhibition slate in Arizona, and some former Dash players are doing their best to impress the big club.

Infielder Micah Johnson is not only batting .455 and leading the team in runs scored this spring, but the 2013 Dash alum is also turning some heads with his defense. Johnson made this spectacular diving catch against the Brewers on Monday:

That catch made SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays at #4. Pretty impressive stuff.

A few former Winston-Salem hurlers are throwing well in Glendale. Southpaw Charlie Leesman has posted a 1.69 ERA in 4 Cactus League appearances, tossing 5.1 innings while striking out 5 batters. Despite those numbers, the 2010 Dash alum was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday, possibly because he has minor league options remaining on his contract. However, the strong spring showing should keep Leesman on the White Sox radar for the future.

Righty Erik Johnson has thrived in two starts this spring, garnering a 2.57 ERA while striking out 7 batters in 7.0 innings. The 2012 Dash standout is making a bid to join the White Sox rotation in 2014, and manager Robin Ventura has taken notice. “With what he did last year and so far what you see, you like what you see,” Ventura recently told CSN Chicago.

Johnson is also getting some attention for his demeanor off the mound. Check out this recent Chicago Sun-Times article for more on that, which includes comments from fellow White Sox prospect and former Dash teammate Marcus Semien.

Four years ago, Chris Sale was in Winston-Salem. On Opening Day2014 , he will be on the hill for the White Sox.

Four years ago, Chris Sale was in Winston-Salem. On Opening Day, he will be on the hill for the White Sox.

Finally, here are a few roster notes. First, the Sox have tabbed Chris Sale as their Opening Day starter for a second straight year. The 25-year-old, who made his professional debut with the Dash in 2010, says he appreciates the opportunity, per this article: “As much as you sit here and say ‘Treat it like another start,’ it’s the first one of the year and you are obviously going to be amped up for it and excited for it.”

The White Sox also made several roster moves on Wednesday involving Dash alumni. Outfielders Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson were optioned to Double-A Birmingham, while catcher Miguel Gonzalez, pitcher Scott Snodgress and outfielder Keenyn Walker were reassigned to minor league camp. This is common during Spring Training, as youngsters get a chance to work with the big club. Here’s hoping these men use their experience well while continuing to climb the minor league ladder in 2014.

– Dave


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