Results tagged ‘ David Wallace ’

Carolina Countdown – Carolina Mudcats

The Dash’s season begins in 16 days, so it’s time for our annual preview of the Carolina League. Over the next week, we will break down the Dash’s CL competition, both on and off the field.

Without further ado, here is the Countdown for the Mudcats.

The Dash lost their season series to the Mudcats last year (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

The Dash lost their season series to the Mudcats last year (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

INTRODUCTION: The Carolina Mudcats will be playing their third season in the Carolina League in 2014. Based in Zebulon, N.C., the Muddies are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians after now-defunct Kinston was the Tribe’s High-A club. The previous incarnation of the Mudcats played in the Double-A Southern League from 1991 until 2011.

LAST SEASON: The Mudcats finished in last place in the Southern Division in 2013, going 57-83 overall. They stumbled out of the gate, compiling a 22-48 record during the season’s first half. The Mudcats improved during the second half of the year, going 35-35 after the All-Star Break.

Second baseman Joey Wendle emerged as the team’s most productive position player, batting .295 with 16 home runs, 64 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 107 games. The Muddies’ offense also featured highly-regarded prospects Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin. Cody Anderson led the Mudcats on the mound for most of the year, posting a 9-4 record and 2.94 ERA in 23 starts en route to the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year honor.

MANAGER: Eddie “Scooter” Tucker will run the ship for the Mudcats in 2014 after guiding the Low-A Lake County Captains to a 51-84 record last season. During his playing career, Tucker was a catcher for three Major League seasons with the Astros and Indians, appearing in 51 games. He replaces 2013 skipper David Wallace, who moves on to manage Double-A Akron in the upcoming season. Tucker was previously the Mudcats’ hitting coach in 2012 under manager Edwin Rodriguez. Joining Tucker will be pitching coach Steve Karsay and hitting coach Tony Mansolino.

SYSTEM: At the big league level, the Indians enjoyed a return to the postseason in 2013 under American League Manager of the Year Terry Francona. However, baseball experts attributed much of the Tribe’s first playoff surge since 2007 to an influx of newcomers from outside the organization.

In recent years, the Indians have done much better via trades to stock up their minor league ranks than via the draft. However, there are a few notable homegrown prospects, led by Lindor. The 20-year-old shortstop hit .306 in 83 games with the Mudcats in 2013, and he is regarded by many as one of the top 10 prospects in the minors. Another highly-touted prospect is 19-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier, who was drafted 5th overall by the Indians last summer and clubbed five home runs in the rookie Arizona League. He should see some time in Zebulon in the not-too-distant future.

blog2BEST PROMOTION: Carolina is the only club in the CL that has yet to release its promotional schedule. However, they did decide to move their standard first pitch time up to 7 p.m. instead of 7:15 p.m. They also have the best Carolina League mascot outside of Winston-Salem in Muddy the Mudcat (see right). He has a face only a mother would love.

FUN FACT: During a game at Five County Stadium last season, Dash broadcaster Brian Boesch’s computer monitor was destroyed by an Adam Heisler foul ball that went directly into the booth. Later in the at bat, Heisler launched a 3-run homer that proved to be a key play in the 8-7 Dash victory over the Mudcats on July 21st. The photos and the audio are pretty hilarious, so check it all out here.

MUDCATS IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Mudcats pay their first visit to BB&T Ballpark June 6-8, and will return on June 28-30. The Dash will also host the Mudcats from August 22-25, which is the final home series of the 2014 season.

The Carolina Countdown will continue tomorrow with the Frederick Keys. Stay tuned!

– Dave

Thursday News And Notes

Bobby Thigpen spent three years in Winston-Salem before his recent promotion to the White Sox coaching staff (Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film).

December is almost here, so the Dash front office is busy spreading holiday joy, hanging out with Santa and gearing up for the holiday season. With 2013 approaching, big league organizations are making some important decisions for the upcoming season. Here are a few notes to quench your baseball thirst on a Thursday afternoon:

  • Congrats to Bobby Thigpen, who will join the White Sox staff as the bullpen coach. Thiggy was the Dash’s pitching coach from 2009-11 before spending this season with Double-A Birmingham in the same role. Thigpen was certainly a fan favorite here in Winston-Salem, and Chicago skipper Robin Ventura has known him for his entire career.
  • The Sox also announced that Daryl Boston, who spent 12 seasons as the organization’s outfield instructor, will join the big league staff in 2013 as the first base coach. Boston made a handful of stops in Winston-Salem this season, and it was good to occasionally chat with him. Congrats to him, too.
  • The only Carolina League team to announce its field staff for 2013 is the Carolina Mudcats, who will have a new look when the Dash open the campaign in Zebulon April 5. David Wallace becomes the Muddies’ manager after guiding Lake County, the Indians’ Low-A affiliate, to the playoffs this season. Hitting coach Rouglas Odor and pitching coach Jeff Harris will accompany Wallace, who replaces 2012 skipper Edwin Rodriguez. The former Marlins boss will lead Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate in Akron.
  • The White Sox have yet to announce their minor league staff assignments for 2013, but this news should be released soon. Last year, Dash fans learned that Tommy Thompson was Winston-Salem’s 2012 manager in mid-November, while the 2011 staff decisions were made public a few days before Christmas.
  • Earlier this week, the BBWAA released the 37-man ballot for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. More than 600 voters have until December 31 to submit their vote, and some notable (and controversial) names are on the list. A few players linked to performance-enhancing drugs (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa) will prompt many debates on the standards to reach the Hall of Fame. It should be fascinating to watch.

The Dash’s season opener is only 127 days away. We can’t wait!

– Brian