Results tagged ‘ Cody Buckel ’
Baseball America released its Top 20 Prospects ranking for the Carolina League, and three men who donned the Dash purple this season made the list.
Infielder Carlos Sanchez placed sixth, which was the highest ranking for a Winston-Salem player. Righty Erik Johnson is 11th on the list, while outfielder Trayce Thompson checks in at 18th.
The 20-year-old Sanchez led all Carolina League qualifiers with a .315 batting average. In 92 games with the Dash, Sanchez scored 58 times and drove in another 42 runs. A member of the World Team in the 2012 MLB Futures Game, Sanchez earned promotions to Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte before the season ended.
Johnson joined the Dash July 21 and went 4-3 with a 2.74 earned run average in eight starts. He was the club’s Game 1 starter in their playoff run last month. Before his stint in Winston-Salem, the former California Golden Bear boasted a 2.30 ERA in nine efforts with Low-A Kannapolis.
Finally, Thompson slugged his way to a spot on this prestigious list. The former second-round pick finished tied for the league lead with 22 home runs, and he paced the circuit with 90 RBI. Like Sanchez, Thompson also made a stop in Double-A Birmingham before finishing the season with Triple-A Charlotte during its playoff run in the International League.
Only Salem and Myrtle Beach (four apiece) had more players on this list. Frederick’s Dylan Bundy finished atop the rankings, followed by a Salem triumvirate of Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Myrtle’s Cody Buckel finished in fifth.
Interestingly enough, the only player on this list who never appeared in a game at BB&T Ballpark was Potomac’s Nathan Karns, who finished 15th overall.
Congrats to Carlos, Erik and Trayce!
After leading the Dash to the best overall and home record in full-season minor league baseball, skipper Tommy Thompson earned the Carolina League Manager of the Year honor. Today, Baseball America added another award to Thompson’s resume.
The well-known baseball magazine tabbed Thompson as the Manager of the Year among the 30 skippers in High-A baseball. In addition to the Dash’s spot atop minor league baseball, Thompson’s squad posted the second-best record in Winston-Salem’s 67-year Carolina League tenure.
Former Winston skipper Joe McEwing also completed the Carolina League-Baseball America sweep in 2010 when he led the Dash to the CL’s best regular season record and a spot in the Mills Cup Finals.
Thompson was the only White Sox representative who made the list among all levels of Baseball America’s classification All-Stars, which included Carolina League stars Matt Barnes (Salem), Cody Buckel (Myrtle Beach), Dylan Bundy (Frederick) and Travis Shaw (Salem).
PLEASE NOTE: These selections do NOT represent the award winners in the Carolina League. This is merely my opinion on the end-of-season awards.
The Carolina League’s end-of-season All-Star Team should be announced sometime this week, and it is a vote involving media members, general managers and skippers. Here are my best guesses, along with a few others who deserve mention (in alphabetical order).
CATCHER: Braeden Schlehuber (Lynchburg)
The All-Star reserve earns this spot, but it was one of the toughest ones to pick. Winston-Salem’s Mike Blanke made a late surge and certainly could get this spot.
Close calls: Mike Blanke (Winston-Salem), David Freitas (Potomac), Evan Gattis (Lynchburg)
FIRST BASE: Dan Black (Winston-Salem)
He won’t win the triple crown in the CL, but he will come closer than anyone else. The Big Black Bear has been one of the circuit’s most consistent hitters all season long.
Close calls: Chris Garcia (Lynchburg), Travis Shaw (Salem)
SECOND BASE: Carlos Sanchez (Winston-Salem)
It was embarrassing that Sanchez did not make the All-Star team, but this should be a nice consolation. That, and being in Triple-A Charlotte now.
Close call: Tommy La Stella (Lynchburg)
SHORTSTOP: Xander Bogaerts (Salem)
Boston’s second-best prospect is now a Portland SeaDog, but he was a force offensively in the Carolina League.
Close calls: Nick Ahmed (Lynchburg), Marcus Semien (Winston-Salem)
THIRD BASE: Michael Almanzar (Salem)
Almanzar needed a second season in High-A ball, but he improved greatly from year one.
Close calls: Giovanni Urshela (Carolina), Christian Villanueva (Myrtle Beach)
OUTFIELDERS: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Salem), Brady Shoemaker (Winston-Salem) and Trayce Thompson (Winston-Salem)
Bradley, Jr., and Shoemaker were the CL’s two best players in the first half, and Thompson boasted the most gaudy numbers on the circuit.
Close calls: Michael Earley (Winston-Salem), Jeremy Nowak (Frederick)
UTILITY INFIELDER: Travis Shaw (Salem)
It was tough to pick among many great players for this final spot, but Shaw was a key cog in Salem’s huge first half.
Close calls: Jesus Aguilar (Carolina), Ronny Rodriguez (Carolina), Semien
UTILITY OUTFIELDER: Michael Earley (Winston-Salem)
Earley had a career year, and he definitely belongs somewhere on this list. He fits in well here.
Close calls: Kevin Keyes (Potomac), Nowak
DESIGNATED HITTER: Aaron Baker (Frederick)
With all of the great first basemen in the CL, Baker had to fight to get on this roster despite his big power numbers.
Close call: Jeremie Tice (Carolina)
STARTING PITCHER: Cody Buckel (Myrtle Beach)
Buckel’s 1.31 ERA in 13 starts was ridiculous, and he still places 14th in the CL in strikeouts despite playing in Double-A Frisco for much of the second half.
Close calls: Matt Barnes (Salem), Dylan Bundy (Frederick), J.R. Graham (Lynchburg), Gus Schlosser (Lynchburg)
RELIEF PITCHER: Ben Rowen (Myrtle Beach)
This was one of the tougher selections, but Rowen has been electric as a submarine specialist.
Close calls: Juan Jaime (Lynchburg), Mike Olmsted (Salem), Taylor Thompson (Winston-Salem)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Brady Shoemaker (Winston-Salem)
Shoemaker carried the Dash past a loaded Salem squad in the first half. If he had been in the CL throughout the season, the Indiana State product could have posted some ridiculous numbers.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Cody Buckel (Myrtle Beach)
The numbers were just too good.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Tommy Thompson (Winston-Salem)
This isn’t even a conversation. If he isn’t the unanimous choice, voters don’t know what they are doing. Thompson has taken the Dash to the brink of minor league baseball’s best record despite significant turnover.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know.
But you have to like the fact that Winston-Salem paces the All-Star team with five representatives, plus the MVP and Manager of the Year.
As Mike discussed earlier today, many players we saw compete in the 2012 California-Carolina League All-Star Game at BB&T Ballpark have since been promoted to Double-A. During our pregame coverage prior to the Midsummer Classic last week, we chatted with three of them.
Salem outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., is now with Portland in the Red Sox system. Myrtle Beach ace Cody Buckel just debuted with Frisco on the Rangers’ farm. Finally, Lake Elsinore’s right-handed starter Donn Roach is now kicking and tossing for San Antonio within the Padres’ system.
Here are those three conversations. We will have some more All-Star interviews on the blog in the next few days.
The Carolina League All-Star break occurs at approximately the same time as multiple other leagues around the minors. Thus, it becomes a popular time for promotions. The Dash sent Spencer Arroyo, Daniel Wagner and Jake Oester up to Double-A Birmingham the day after the All-Star Break and received Blair Walters from Kannapolis. While the Dash did not lose any of their three All-Stars to promotion, the same wasn’t true for all representatives of the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. Here are a few of the big names who have recently departed the High-A level.
Cody Buckel- The Rangers called up the 20-year-old Buckel the day after he pitched a scoreless second inning for the Carolina League All-Stars. Their 2nd round pick in 2010 led the league in every major statistical category for a pitcher. He finished with a 5-3 record and a 1.31 ERA. Buckel also had 91 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.98. He made his Double-A debut Sunday night but picked up the loss after allowing five hits and two runs in four innings.
Buckel is a good friend of Trevor Bauer, the Arizona Diamondbacks top pick in the 2011 draft. Bauer was called up to the big league club Sunday night and will be the first member of the 2011 class to make it to the majors when he makes his debut Thursday night against the Atlanta Braves.
Jackie Bradley, Jr.- To the relief of every Carolina League pitcher, Jackie Bradley, Jr., was called up to Double-A Portland. The Red Sox center fielder set the tone for Salem in the leadoff spot, going on to record league bests in batting average, doubles, on-base percentage and walks. In his first four games at the Double-A level Bradley Jr. is hitting .375 and has scored four runs. Outside of his offensive numbers, Bradley also has tremendous defensive range in center field.
Jeremie Tice- The Mudcats masher during the first-half of the season carried his big bat up to Double-A Akron. Tice was primarily a designated hitter for Carolina but spent a few games in left field and first base. In 52 games during the first half of the season, Tice hit .282 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI and a league-best slugging percentage of .580. In three games with Akron, Tice is hitting .417 with a homer and five RBI.
Sugar Ray Marimon- The former Wilmington right-hander punched his way into Double-A after compiling a 4-2 record and 2.12 ERA in nine starts. Marimon struck out 60 batters and walked 18 in 68 innings. He will make his debut for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Monday afternoon.
A few players from the California League were selected as All-Stars but had already been promoted from their High-A clubs. Most notably, Tony Cingrani of the Cincinnati Reds organization was sent from Bakersfield to Double-A Pensacola after compiling a 5-1 record and 1.11 ERA in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League. Cingrani also struck out 71 batters in just 56 and two-thirds innings. Cingrani has made four starts with the Double-A Blue Wahoos, with his best coming against Birmingham on June 8 when he pitched six scoreless innings, striking out nine batters.
Mid-season promotions change the dynamic of a team but are a necessary part of minor league baseball. The Dash lost many pieces from a title-winning first-half team, but, for the moment their three All-Stars remain on the roster. With each of the Southern Division teams losing key members, the Dash could be in line to win the second half as well.
We are at the halfway point of the first half of the Carolina League season. Rain has disrupted the schedule to the point where teams have played anywhere from 33 to 36 games. With the Dash set to play games 35 and 36 on the schedule tonight, this edition of Dashing Around Baseball will primarily be a first-half report card, with my predictions for the first-half season champions thrown in. Of course, a look around the White Sox system is in here as well.
The Northern Division has shaken out into a distinct hierarchy. Lynchburg has a 6.5 game lead over second place in the division with the three other teams sitting below .500. Here’s how it looks for each team at the midway point.
Lynchburg- The Hillcats have a potent offense and sit behind only the Dash in runs scored, hits, home runs and RBI in the Carolina League. First baseman Nick Garcia is hitting .359 on the season with 23 RBI and three home runs. He made his mark on Winston-Salem pitching when the teams met last weekend, batting .455 with a home run and four RBI in the series.
Wilmington- The Blue Rocks have a 15-21 record, and that is good enough for second place in the division. Wilmington has the pieces to put together a run in the second half, but the team’s talent lies in its youth. If starting pitcher Yordano Ventura can replicate triple-digit radar gun outings and the offense starts hitting, the Blue Rocks will mount a run.
Potomac- The Nationals have been dealt a brutal hand with the injuries to its core players. Prodigious infielder Anthony Rendon has been out since injuring his ankle in the second game of the season. There appears to be a discrepancy between Rendon and the Nationals organization but one definite is that he will not be back for the rest of the first half of the season. Potomac certainly would have been a division favorite with Rendon in the fold.
Frederick- The Keys are seventh in the league in team batting and pitching (Potomac is last in both). To make up an 8.5 game deficit in 35 games is certainly doable, but Frederick has only had one stretch where it has won more than two games in a row all season, and that occurred during the first week of the season.
PREDICTION: Wilmington puts it together and challenges Lynchburg, but the Hillcats offense and favorable schedule (9 games against Frederick in the first two weeks of June) carries them to the first-half division title.
The Dash are the class of this division so far, but an extremely competitive division has kept all four teams in contention of winning the crown at the halfway point. Here’s a look at Winston-Salem’s challengers.
Salem-The Red Sox (1.5 games back of the Dash) offense has explosive capability led by Jackie Bradley Jr., who leads the Carolina League in batting average and on-base percentage. Salem’s Travis Shaw is second in the league with a .366 average. Matt Barnes, Boston’s top pick in 2011 made his High-A debut against the Dash on May 5. It went pretty well. How long Barnes stays with Salem is unknown, but he has the potential to grab a win every time he makes a start. The Red Sox and Dash play seven more games before the first half of the season comes to an end, with all of these games taking place in Salem.
Carolina- Even after losing Clayton Cook to the DL and T.J House to Double-A Akron, the Mudcats pitching staff contends with Myrtle Beach as the best pitching staff in the league. Carolina is 2.5 games out of the division lead, but starters Francisco Jimenez and Mike Rayl are in the top five of the league for lowest ERA. Closer Jose Flores has six saves to lead all active pitchers.
Myrtle Beach-The Pelicans can pitch, but they can’t hit. Cody Buckel has the lowest ERA and most strikeouts in the league. He anchors a Myrtle Beach rotation that has a team ERA of 3.o4, also the best mark in the league. With four games against the Dash this week, we’ll find out if the Pelicans are built to contend for the division.
PREDICTION: The division stays close until the end, when the Dash hang on for the crown due to seven games against Potomac and Wilmington to end the first-half of the season. Carolina and Salem each finish within two games of the title.
AROUND THE FARM
- Adam Dunn might be on his way to AL Comeback Player of the Year. It’s still early in the season, but Dunn already has hit 12 home runs, one more than he hit all of last season. 2010 Dash alum Addison Reed picked up his third save of the season in the 7-5 win.
- The Knights had a marathon evening last Wednesday night. Charlotte had two walk-off wins in a double-header, including a game one contest that went 14 innings.
- 2011 Dash alums Tyler Saladino and Jared Mitchell have led Birmingham to a 21-18 record, two games back of division-leading Jackson. Mitchell leads the Southern League in triples, while Saladino is batting .258 with 15 RBI and a league-leading 28 runs scored.
- Kannapolis has struggled this season, falling 10.5 games back of first-place Greensboro. White Sox 2011 top draft pick Keenyn Walker hit his first career home run Saturday night in a 2-1 win.
A bit of a lengthy recap, but thanks for Dashing Around Baseball today. The Dash play two tonight, starting at 6 against Myrtle Beach. Join us for the Pregame Dash starting at 5:45.
The baseball season is officially a month old next week, but the changing of the calendar serves as a good marker to take stock of a team’s progression through the season. In edition to highlighting the significant news in the Carolina League and White Sox system, this edition of Dashing Around Baseball will analyze the seven other Carolina League teams and offer a quick prediction for how they will fare this month.
Call-up Season-Minor league teams evolve throughout the season with the inevitable rise and fall of players through their organizations. We have hit the point where early season performers are being rewarded with promotions.
Lynchburg’s Evan Gattis was leading the Carolina League in batting average, home runs, RBI, hits and extra base hits before being called up to Double-A Mississippi Monday.
Gattis also had a slugging percentage of .821, (anything in the .600 range is considered elite). We had already started engraving his name in the Home Run Derby Trophy for the California-Carolina League All-Star Game, alas he likely will not be in Winston-Salem come June 19th.
Myrtle Beach lost reliever Chad Bell to Double-A Frisco after the left-hander compiled a 1-0 record and 1.59 ERA in four appearances with the Pelicans. Bell struck out 12 batters in 11.1 innings.
The Mudcats also lost one of their best arms when southpaw T.J. House was bumped up to Double-A Akron. House went 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts with Carolina, striking out 26 batters in 25 innings. He is scheduled to debut tonight (Tuesday) for the Aeros.
May Musings-As the month progresses, Brian and I will delve more into first-half division championship contenders and give input on players who will be critical to their team’s chances. For now, here is a quick breakdown of each team:
- Carolina-At the start of the year, the Mudcats had one of the best pitching staffs in the league with Clayton Cook, Mike Rayl and House. Now, Cook is on the DL and House is in Double-A. Center fielder Tyler Holt is hitting .347 and has a league-leading three triples to anchor the Carolina offense.
- Frederick-The defending Mills Cup champions have struggled to emerge from the departure of a core of stars to Double-A. Salvation could arrive in the form of top prospect Dylan Bundy, who has pitched to near perfection at the Low-A level.
- Lynchburg-The Hillcats are tied with the Dash for the fewest losses in the league thanks to a five-game win streak to open the season. Lynchburg has a gaping hole in production with the departure of Gattis, but the middle infield combo of Nick Ahmed and Tommy LaStella have the bats to keep the offense afloat.
- Myrtle Beach-Arguably, the Pelicans have the best rotation in the Carolina League. The Pelicans 3.14 ERA is the lowest in the league. Cody Buckel, following in the form of best friend Trevor Bauer, has compiled a 2-1 record and 1.65 ERA in five starts. The Pelicans offense has talent, but is extremely young and has struggled so far at the plate.
- Potomac-The Nationals are struggling but injuries have stripped this team of its best players. Anthony Rendon was the best player in the league before suffering an ankle injury, while highly touted pitchers Matt Purke and Robbie Ray are rehabbing prior injuries in extended spring training. When healthy, Potomac could be dangerous.
- Salem-The rotation received a huge boost with the recent arrival of Matt Barnes. The Red Sox top pick in 2011 posted a 0.34 ERA in five starts with Low-A Greenville. Barnes also has laser-like control with 42 strikeouts to just four walks in 26.2 innings.
- Wilmington-The Blue Rocks were inept at the plate for most of the month with one of the lowest slugging percentages in all of Minor League Baseball. But Wilmington put together a four-game win streak to climb into second in the Northern Division. The lineup has the ability to break out of its slow start.
Around the Farm
- MLB’s White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin provides a comprehensive recap of the first month of the season for the White Sox. Jake Peavy’s dominance has led a reliable Chicago rotation. Peavy turned in back-to-back complete games in his last two outings and is holding batters to a .162 average.
- The Knights have made the biggest news off the field as the proposed stadium in uptown Charlotte is becoming a near reality. The Knights recently announced a founding partner and naming rights deal for the ballpark.
- Jared Mitchell is in the midst of a breakout season for Double-A Birmingham. The former White Sox top draft pick has a league-leading 20 RBI in 24 games. He also leads the league with a .471 on-base percentage and five triples.
- Kannapolis recently lost seven-straight games and has fallen six games back of first in its division. One bright spot is Ross Wilson. The infielder is batting .341 with four home runs and and 13 RBI’s in 11 games with the Intimidators. Wilson also had a career night on Friday, hitting three home runs and driving in eight of the nine Intimidator runs in a 9-5 win.
Thanks for taking the time to Dash Around the Baseball. Keep checking the blog for updates on the Dash’s eight-game win streak. Tune into the Pregame Dash at 6:50 tonight to see if the Dash can continue their streak.
Not every league has a runaway winner for “favorite road trip,” but the Carolina League does. Myrtle Beach is a tourism hot spot that happens to have a minor league baseball team. Locals and tourists alike support the Pelicans well, and the Texas Rangers are doing the same. Let’s preview the Pelicans.
Introduction: Myrtle Beach was a part of some recent shuffling in the Carolina League. The Pelicans were a Braves affiliate from their inception in 1998 until 2010, when the Rangers swooped in and plucked the Pelicans.
Ever since claiming a split of the 1999 CL title and winning it all in 2000, Myrtle Beach has been title-less. Only Wilmington has a longer championship drought entering this season.
Last season: The Pelicans came close to snapping their skid last season after winning the first-half championship in the Southern Division. However, they stumbled to last place in the second half and lost to Kinston 3-1 in the best-of-five divisional round.
Manager: The 2011 field staff for the Pelicans is back, including skipper Jason Wood. Wood has been with the Rangers’ High-A affiliate since 2009. In ’09 and ’10, he was the hitting coach when the Rangers were stationed in Bakersfield, Calif. Wood spent plenty of time in the minors after Oakland selected him in the 11th round of the 1991 MLB Draft, but he did play in 153 big league games for the Athletics, Tigers and Marlins.
System: Pelicans fans should be excited about their chances this season with the Rangers’ minor league talent. Texas has the top system in minor league baseball according to Baseball America. The Pelicans’ roster came out yesterday, and six of Baseball America’s top 30 Texas farmhands will begin the season on “The Beach.” However, only two of the top 10–righty Cody Buckel (7th) and third baseman Christian Villanueva (9th)–are Pelicans right now. Superstar shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar, who was rumored to be the only “untouchable” prospect in the Rangers’ system during last year’s trade deadline, is jumping High-A and heading to Double-A Frisco, which is a huge break for the rest of the CL.
Best promotions: They certainly love promotions in Myrtle Beach. Here are a few that I especially like: “Most Interesting Night in the World” night, which very well may feature Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” (April 26); “Auto Correct Night,” which will hopefully solve some people’s iPhone texting issues (July 12); “Halloween in July” (July 28); and “Salute to the Red Solo Cup” night (August 9). Plus, we already mentioned Kenny Powers’ stop in Myrtle Beach.
Fun fact: In 2011, Myrtle Beach was part of a Rangers farm system that boasted the best overall record in the minors and qualified for the playoffs in all four full-season levels (Triple-A Round Rock, Double-A Frisco and Low-A Hickory). Unfortunately for Texas farmhands, all four clubs failed to win their first series.
Travel to Myrtle Beach: I’d encourage it. I went there with one of my best friends after graduating high school, and my favorite discovery was a “lazy river.” I like water, and I’m pretty good at being lazy. Great combination.
The Dash will head to Myrtle for a business trip three times this season: April 16-18, July 11-14 and July 27-29. It’s slightly more than a four-hour trip from Winston to Myrtle Beach, the southernmost organization in the Carolina League.
Pelicans in Winston-Salem: The Pelicans invade BB&T Ballpark three times during the season: May 14-17, July 4-6 and August 24-26.
Tomorrow: The Potomac Nationals, who aren’t really in Potomac. We’ll explain tomorrow. Thanks for reading!