Results tagged ‘ Ian Gac ’

Coats’ MVP case

Jason Coats (right) is a contender to win Winston's fourth straight MVP award (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Jason Coats (right) is a contender to win Winston’s fourth straight MVP award (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Outfielder Jason Coats has earned a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Birmingham after turning in one of the best seasons by an offensive player in the Carolina League this season.

Even though he will spend his final few weeks in the Southern League, Coats is on a short list of MVP contenders here in the CL. He is likely the Dash’s best chance to continue an incredible streak. Winston-Salem has claimed the league’s Most Valuable Player award in each of the previous three seasons.

No team had accomplished this feat since Lynchburg rattled off four consecutive MVPs from 1983-86. Here is how Coats’ numbers compare to those of the last three MVPs in the Dash purple:

2011 – Ian Gac: .279, 33 HR, 96 RBIs
2012 – Dan Black: .315, 17 HR, 88 RBIs
2013 – Chris Curley: .280, 24 HR, 92 RBIs
2014 – Jason Coats: .291, 15 HR, 72 RBIs

Coats’ promotion is a huge step for a tremendous player, and it is what Minor Leagues ultimately want. However, this jump to Double-A prevents Coats from logging 20 more games in Winston-Salem. Gac, Black and Curley all started and finished their MVP seasons in High-A.

If you extrapolate Coats’ numbers out over these final 20 games, you would get 18 homers and 85 RBIs, which are both right in the range of the MVP trio listed above.

Fortunately, though, Coats is not fighting against those numbers and players. He is competing with the current crop of Carolina Leaguers. The Allen, Texas, native leaves the Carolina League while still leading the way in hits (125), doubles (35), total bases (209), and games played (115).

He is currently in the top 10 in the three triple crown categories listed above: ninth in batting average, tied for fourth in home runs and second in RBIs.

Coats has superior numbers to most players in the Carolina League. His main competition figures to come against Myrtle Beach’s Joey Gallo, who dominated this league, but only for two months. He hit .323 with 21 homers and 50 RBIs in just 58 games, leading the Pelicans to an emphatic first-half Southern Division title.

However, Coats has a tremendous case, and one that could lead Winston-Salem to history. For now, we thank the former TCU star for all he brought to the Dash. Maybe he will leave us with a parting gift in a few weeks when the MVP award is announced.

– 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

Game 128 Preview – Dash at Potomac

Game #128 – Road Game #65
Winston-Salem Dash (24-33, 62-65) at Potomac Nationals (37-20, 79-47)
Wednesday, August 21 – 7:05 p.m.
Pfitzner Stadium (Woodbridge, Va.)


The Dash won back-to-back games at Frederick to earn a series split. Now, Winston-Salem heads to Potomac for the first of three against a Nationals squad that has won 10 in a row.

Bryan Blough leads all of High-A baseball in innings pitched (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Bryan Blough leads all of High-A baseball in innings pitched (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).


Micah Johnson – 2B
Joey DeMichele – SS
Chris Curley – 3B
Kevan Smith – C
Courtney Hawkins – CF
Mark Haddow – DH
Josh Richmond – RF
Jeremy Farrell – 1B
Grant Buckner – LF
Bryan Blough – RHP


  • Bryan Blough leads the Carolina League and High-A baseball with 151.2 innings pitched thus far this season. Blough has a 14-inning lead on Frederick’s Zach Davies for the top spot in the CL, while he is three and a third innings better than Stockton’s Tanner Peters for the lead among High-A hurlers.
  • Chris Curley paces the CL in home runs (23) and RBIs (89), hits (140) and runs scored (83). He also leads Salem’s Keury De La Cruz by 43 for the league lead in total bases with 238. Curley is trying to become the third straight Dash slugger to earn the league MVP honors, joining Ian Gac (2011) and Dan Black (2012).
  • Winston-Salem has a stranglehold over the RBIs leaderboard in the Carolina League. Four of the top eight run producers on the circuit play for the Dash: Curley (89, 1st), Jeremy Farrell (67, 6th), Kevan Smith (63, 7th) and Courtney Hawkins (62, 8th).
  • The only season series battle that is still up for grabs for the Dash is their 20-game season set with Potomac. Thus far in 2013, Winston-Salem is 7-6 against the P-Nats, who have won 10 in a row entering Wednesday. However, Potomac has claimed five of the first seven meetings at Pfitzner Stadium.
  • The P-Nats have a .627 winning percentage, which is just shy of the Dash’s mark from last season (.630). It proved to be the best winning percentage among the 120 full-season Minor League Baseball teams.


The Pregame Dash begins at 6:50 p.m. and features a chat with Winston-Salem manager Ryan Newman. Fans can listen live here.

– Brian

Breaking down the CL MVP race

With less than four weeks remaining in the 2013 regular season, the race for the 2013 Carolina League MVP is heating up. With that in mind, it is time to break down some of the leading candidates as we head down the stretch:

Chris Curley has been the most consistent hitter in the CL in 2013 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Chris Curley has been the most consistent hitter in the CL in 2013 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

INF Chris Curley (Winston-Salem)

Unlike a few of the other candidates, Chris Curley has been in the CL for the entire 2013 campaign. In 109 games with the Dash, Curley is leading the circuit in several offensive categories, including home runs (22), RBIs (82), hits (127), runs (78) and total bases (219). He has also been valuable from a defensive standpoint, playing in 68 games at shortstop and 30 at third base.

While other parts of the Winston-Salem lineup have been hit by injuries or slumps, Curley has been extremely consistent. Manager Ryan Newman can pencil him in to the number three spot in his lineup everyday and expect offensive production and solid defense.

That consistency could be what pushes him past others in the running who have been moved up to Double-A or have not had as many opportunities to help their team. It also helps that Curley plays on the team with the best offense on the circuit, with the Dash averaging 5.3 runs per contest. If Curley wins, it would make him the third straight Dash swinger to collect the honor after Ian Gac (2011) and Dan Black (2012) won the CL MVP over the past two seasons.

Cody Anderson has been one of the top pitchers in the CL in 2013 (

Cody Anderson has been one of the top pitchers in the CL in 2013 (

RHP Cody Anderson (Carolina)

While some more well-known names like Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin have put up some big numbers for the Mudcats this year, Anderson gives his team a very good chance to win every time he takes the mound. The righty has posted an 8-4 record with a 2.84 ERA, good for second among qualifying starters in the league this year. Anderson is in the hunt for the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year award with the likes of former Winston-Salem’s Chris Beck and Myrtle Beach’s Luke Jackson.

Carolina is also 12-10 in Anderson’s 22 starts, which isn’t overly impressive until you see that their record in games he doesn’t start is just 34-56. Lindor and Naquin are great players in their own right, but Anderson is a major reason the Muddies are in pole position for the second playoff spot in the Southern Division.

Robby Hefflinger mashed 21 home runs before the Braves moved him up to Mississippi (

Robby Hefflinger hit 21 home runs before the Braves moved him up to Double-A Mississippi (

OF Robby Hefflinger (Lynchburg)

In the first half, Hefflinger was arguably this league’s most feared hitter. The former seventh rounder was hitting .286 and led all of the CL in homers with 21 when he left for Double-A Mississippi near the end of June. His slugging average (.579) is more than 40 points higher than the next-closest Carolina League swinger.

However, he has not played a game for Lynchburg in more than a month. Still, one could make a compelling case that his departure has shown just how valuable he was. The Hillcats finished in second place in the first-half Northern Division standings and now find themselves in the basement in half two.

19-year-old Rougned Odor tore his way through the CL this season (

19-year-old Rougned Odor tore his way through the CL this season before he was promoted (

INF Rougned Odor (Myrtle Beach)

Odor has put up some very good numbers by any standards in 2013, but when you factor in that he’s just 19 years old and was playing in High-A for the first time this season, those numbers look even better. The Venezuela native hit .303 in 99 games for the Pelicans and formed the best defensive middle infield duo in the league with shortstop Luis Sardinas before they were both promoted to Double-A Frisco last week.

Odor leads the CL with 33 doubles and remains in the top five in stolen bases (27), extra-base hits (42) and total bases (170). While he may not quite have the numbers of Curley, it definitely does not hurt his case that Myrtle Beach has the best overall mark in the Southern Division this year and is just 1-5 since he was promoted on August 1.

Winston-Salem begins a six-game road trip tonight at LewisGale Field against the Salem Red Sox. Check back later for our preview of this evening’s series opener.

– Rob

Curley’s home run exploits

Photo via Jody Stewart/W-S Dash

Photo via Jody Stewart/W-S Dash

Dash infielder Chris Curley is in some prestigious offensive company thanks to his breakout 2013 season. Curley has played in 98 of the Dash’s 102 games, and he has been arguably the best hitter on the circuit.

Curley’s statistical line is tremendous:
.292, 21 HR, 77 RBIs, .875 OPS, 113 H, 70 R

Comparing Curley’s numbers to others, though, yields even more respect for his efforts this year. For example, Curley is already one of five hitters in the Dash era (2009-present) with more than 20 long balls in a single season.

1. Ian Gac – 33 (2011)
2. Seth Loman – 25 (2010)
3. Andy Wilkins – 23 (2011)
4. Trayce Thompson – 22 (2012)
5. Chris Curley – 21 (2013)

Curley is one of the biggest home run hitters in all of A-ball, which consists of 60 teams.

1. Ryan Rua – 28 (Hickory, Low-A for Texas)
2. Joey Gallo – 26 (Hickory, Low-A for Texas)
3. Adam Brett Walker II – 22 (Cedar Rapids, Low-A for Minnesota)
4. Chris Curley and four others – 21

The Fort Mitchell, Ky., native also finds himself near the top in RBIs in all of High-A baseball.

1. Andrew Aplin – 80 (Lancaster, Houston)
2. Chris Curley – 77
3. Max Muncy – 76 (Stockton, Oakland)

Curley and Courtney Hawkins make up one of the four teammate duos to sit in the top three in home runs in their respective leagues.

1. Ryan Rua (28, 1st) and Joey Gallo (26, 2nd) of Hickory (Low-A, Texas)
2. Brock Peterson (22, 1st) and Jamie Romak (20, 2nd) of Memphis (Triple-A, St. Louis)
3. Chris Curley (21, T-1st) and Courtney Hawkins (18, 3rd)
4. Adam Brett Walker II (22, 1st) and Travis Harrison (15, T-2nd) of Cedar Rapids (Low-A, Minnesota)

Tonight at 7, Curley will aim to continue his offensive surge against the Mudcats here at BB&T Ballpark. Stay tuned for our preview later today.

– Brian

Game 101 Preview – Winston-Salem v. Frederick

Game #101 – Home Game #50
Winston-Salem Dash (14-16, 52-48) vs. Frederick Keys (13-17, 47-52)
Tuesday, July 23 – 7 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)


Winston-Salem and Frederick meet in a rubber match from BB&T Ballpark tonight. Both games of this series have gone down to the wire, with the Dash claiming a 3-2 win Sunday. The Keys responded with a come-from-behind 6-4 triumph last night.

Chris Curley became the fifth player in the Dash era with 20 homers in a single season (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Chris Curley became the fifth player in the Dash era with 20 homers in a single season during last night’s game (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).


Micah Johnson – 2B
Chris Curley – SS
Rangel Ravelo – 1B
Kevan Smith – C
Courtney Hawkins – CF
Jeremy Farrell – 3B
Josh Richmond – RF
Grant Buckner – DH
Adam Heisler – LF
Jake Cose – RHP


  • With his two-run blast in the seventh on Monday, infielder Chris Curley became the 26th man in Minor League Baseball to hit 20 home runs this season. Curley trails only former Lynchburg slugger Robby Hefflinger (21), who is now with Atlanta’s Double-A club in Mississippi, for the Carolina League lead.
  • In the Dash era (2009-present), Curley has joined Ian Gac (33, 2011), Seth Loman (25, 2010), Andy Wilkins (23, 2011) and Trayce Thompson (22, 2012) in the 20-homer club during a single season.
  • In addition to his impressive home run total, Curley now paces the circuit with 73 RBIs, which leads Salem’s Keury De La Cruz by one. It is also good for a share of 14th place in the minor leagues. Curley also sits first in runs scored (68), first in total bases (189), tied for first in hits (109) and ninth in average (.288) in the CL.
  • The Dash own Minor League Baseball’s best home record since BB&T Ballpark opened in 2010 (161-99, .619), but Frederick has won 10 of its last 16 games in the Triad dating back to the middle of last year.
  • Winston infielder Joey DeMichele, who is not in the lineup tonight, enjoys facing Frederick. Including his 3-for-9 effort in this set, DeMichele is hitting .400 (26-for-65) with two homers, 14 RBIs and 19 runs scored against the Keys this season.
  • Jake Cose has recorded consecutive seven-inning quality starts, during which he has issued only three free passes and allowed just four runs on 11 hits. In his previous five outings, Cose walked 22 men.


The Pregame Dash begins at 6:45 p.m., and fans can listen live here. The game is also available online on

Counting Down To The Home Opener

If you follow our social media accounts (especially our new Instagram feed), you have probably noticed that we have begun a countdown in advance of the Dash’s home opener Friday, April 12. We are now 86 days away from the first game at BB&T Ballpark in 2013.

We have spun each day in the countdown to something in Winston-Salem baseball history. Occasionally on the blog, we will rehash the recent numbers, and here is our first look back at the countdown.

100 – Instead of a stat, we provided the picture below (and here on Instagram).


99 – After missing the 2011 campaign due to injury, Kyle Bellamy returned to Winston-Salem at the beginning of 2012. Opponents hit just .182 against Bellamy in 99 at bats.

98 – Scott Snodgress dominated the Carolina League after a July promotion from Low-A Kannapolis. He posted a 4-0 record and a 1.50 ERA to go along with a 0.98 WHIP.

97 – Carlos Lee is one of two Winston-Salem alums who is both currently in the big leagues and has made an All-Star Game (Chris Sale is the other). Lee played with the Warthogs in 1997.

96 – In his MVP season of 2011, Ian Gac drove in 96 runs for the Dash.

The Spirits won the CL crown in 1993.

The Spirits won the CL crown in 1993.

95 – In 1995, the Winston-Salem franchise became the “Warthogs,” a nickname that stuck until the team became the Dash in 2009.

94 – All-Star Brady Shoemaker notched 94 hits in Winston-Salem before his midseason promotion to Double-A Birmingham.

93 – The Winston-Salem Spirits won the Carolina League title in 1993.

92 – From last season’s team, the only player who was born in 1992 was Carlos Sanchez, who proved to be one of the CL’s top prospects.

91 – The Carolina League rolled the Carolina California League 91 in the 2012 Midsummer Classic at BB&T Ballpark.

90 – Speaking of scores, the Dash took the deciding Game 3 of the Southern Division Championship Series 90 against Myrtle Beach.

89 – Brent Morel, who returned to Winston-Salem for a rehab assignment this season, wore number 8 while with the Dash in 2009.

88 – The CL’s MVP this season, Dash first baseman Dan Black, drove in 88 runs.

87 – Winston-Salem posted the best record in full-season minor league baseball last year (87-51).

86 – Cyle Hankerd mustered 86 hits in just 71 games with the Dash this past season.

Those are 15 of our Dash-themed numbers. Do you have any ideas for numbers 85 to 1? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter. Baseball will be back before you know it!

– Brian

Most Exciting Team In The Land?

Michael Earley adds another honor to his great 2012 season (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The Dash had an exciting season in 2012, and a handful of players earned recognition for that in a player poll regarding the minors’ most exciting player.

Minor League Baseball polled 382 players, and five men who donned the Dash purple in 2012 earned at least one vote.  Michael Earley, Marcus Semien, Scott Snodgress, Kevin Vance and Blair Walters found their way onto this list.

Only 15 players earned more than two votes, with Billy Hamilton receiving more votes than anyone else with 40. Mike Trout finished second with 26, while fellow big leaguer Bryce Harper placed third with 13.

Former Winston-Salem star Ian Gac, who won the Carolina League’s Most Valuable Player award last year, made the list, too. He played with Double-A Mississippi in the Braves’ system this season.

Who was the Dash’s most exciting player in your opinion? There are plenty to choose from, whether he is in this quintet or outside of it.

– Brian

Thompson Heading to Double-A

Trayce Thompson has earned his first promotion to Double-A (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Outfielder Trayce Thompson entered the season as the top position prospect in the White Sox system according to most outlets. After turning into the Carolina League’s most dangerous run producer, Thompson is now heading to Double-A Birmingham for the first time in his career.

Thompson earned his first promotion to the Southern League, the White Sox announced this morning. He exits the CL in a tie with former Frederick slugger Aaron Baker for the league lead with 22 home runs. Thompson sits alone atop the circuit with 90 RBI, which is the second-most in Dash history (2009-present). Only Ian Gac has driven in more runs in a single season in a Dash uniform (96 in 2011).

At the beginning of June, Thompson owned a .212 batting average. Then, the Ladera Ranch, Calif., native began to figure out High-A pitching. He hit .255 in June (8 HR, 24 RBI) and .283 in July (7 HR, 24 RBI) before posting a .356 mark in 11 August contests.

“He’s coming on strong at the end,” Dash skipper Tommy Thompson said. “He’s putting the ball in play more. He’s cutting down his strikeouts. He’s still hitting with power, but he’s hitting a lot of line drives and hard ground balls.”

“He’s hitting right now better than he has in the White Sox system”

Thompson also shined defensively, owning a team-best 54-game errorless streak which lasted until this past Tuesday. Plus, he stole 18 bases, which is just outside the top 10 in the Carolina League.

“He works very hard,” Tommy said. “At the end of this season, when he looks back…he’s had an exceptional year.”

Looking ahead, Trayce Thompson is gearing up for an introduction to Double-A, where he sits just two steps away from the big leagues. As for his step in Winston-Salem, it was incredibly fun to watch.

– Brian

Thompson’s Homers Earn Praise

Photo courtesy of Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash.

Dash slugger Trayce Thompson has a share of the Carolina League lead with 22 home runs this season, and his power efforts have earned him a spot on a prestigious list.

The Joe Bauman Home Run Award, which began in 2002, is presented every year to the top regular season home run hitter in minor league baseball. In addition to the overall leader, the top home run hitter at each level of the minors will receive an honor.

Last season, Winston-Salem slugger Ian Gac won the Class A honor with 33 home runs, and now Thompson is aiming to become the second Winston whacker to make his way onto the list. Only one other Carolina Leaguer–Kinston’s Matt Whitney in 2007–has taken home the Class A crown.

Thompson is competing with players from 60 total teams in five leagues. Here is the current race:

1. Matthew Skole – 24 (Hagerstown Suns, Washington’s Low-A affiliate)

2. Telvin Nash – 23 (Lancaster JetHawks, Houston’s High-A affiliate)

T-3. Trayce Thompson – 22 (Winston-Salem)

T-3. Aaron Baker – 22 (Frederick Keys, Baltimore’s High-A affiliate)

T-3. Jared Clark – 22 (Modesto Nuts, Colorado’s High-A affiliate)

T-3. Dusty Robinson – 22 (Stockton Ports, Oakland’s High-A affiliate)

T-3. George Springer – 22 (Lancaster JetHawks, Houston’s High-A affiliate)

8. Miguel Sano – 21 (Beloit Snappers, Minnesota’s Low-A affiliate)

T-9. five players tied with 20 home runs

With the way Thompson is swinging the bat, it is very possible the Dash could go back-to-back in Class A this year. We’ll keep you posted.

– Brian