Results tagged ‘ Kannapolis Intimidators ’

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

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

A look around the system

Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season to headline a big week for Dash alums (Dave Bilbrough/WS-Dash).

Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season to headline a big week for Dash alums (Dave Bilbrough/WS-Dash).

There have been many Dash alums in the news as of late, so today we decided to highlight some of the biggest news from a few of our alums over the last several days.

Sale dominates Tigers

The week started on a high note at the big league level as 2010 Dash alum Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season in a 6-2 win over Detroit on Monday. The southpaw lowered his ERA to 2.73 and pushed his strikeout total to 167 for the season, both which rank him in the top five among American League starters. After an extra-inning victory last night, the South Siders can sweep the first-place Tigers with a victory today.

Heisler’s stint in Triple-A

With plenty of roster shuffling happening over the last week or so in the organization, Triple-A Charlotte found themselves in need of an extra outfielder. As a result, Adam Heisler, who had recently been transferred to Kannapolis after hitting .272 in 58 games with Winston-Salem, was the man selected for the trip down to Fort Mill, S.C.

Simply put, Heisler delivered. He played in three games for the Knights, going 4-for-10 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He returned to the Intimidators last night, and all he did was hit a grand slam, the first one by an Intimidator in 2013.

Beck makes Double-A debut

Late last week, righty Chris Beck, who was an All-Star in the Carolina League this year, made his debut for the Birmingham Barons against the Mobile BayBears. Beck drew a tough assignment, with right-hander Archie Bradley, one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the minors, on the other side. The former Winston hurler held his own, giving up three runs in six innings to notch a quality start, but he was outdueled by Bradley and saddled with the loss. Beck will try to collect his first Double-A win again tonight against the Jacksonville Suns.

Fellow 2013 Dash alum Cody Winiarski made his Double-A debut last night, and pitched very well for Birmingham. The right-hander gave the Barons two spotless innings of relief while striking out three Suns. Winiarski was promoted to Double-A on Monday after saving 10 games for the Dash in a team-high 36 appearances.

Great Falls has gotten off to a 12-2 record in the second half, giving them a great chance to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Great Falls’ 12-2 record in the second half has given them a great chance to make the Pioneer League playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Great Falls’ hot streak

The White Sox Pioneer League affiliate, the Great Falls Voyagers, has been extremely hot as of late. After finishing four games out of first in the first-half standings, the Voyagers have come out firing on all cylinders in the second half.

They had their nine game winning-streak come to an end yesterday with a 10-4 loss to Ogden but are a sizzling 12-2 in the second half. Through 14 games, the Voyagers already enjoy a six-game lead in the division race.

If Great Falls wins the second half, they will make the Pioneer League playoffs for the seventh consecutive year. The last two years they made it under current Winston-Salem skipper Ryan Newman, who guided them to the 2011 Pioneer League Championship.

The Dash open up a quick three-game homestand tonight at BB&T Ballpark as they welcome the Salem Red Sox to town. Check back later today for a preview of tonight’s series opener.

- Rob

Dash add bullpen arm, avoid sweeps well

The Dash’s bullpen has gained an arm, the White Sox announced. Right-hander J.B. Wendelken, who came to the organization as a part of the deadline deal for Jake Peavy, will be making his way to the Triad. A 13th round pick in the 2012 draft, Wendelken will get his first taste of action at the High-A level.

The righty started his season with Low-A Greenville in the Red Sox system, where we went 2-0 with 10 saves in 27 outings for the Drive, posting a 2.77 ERA. Since he joined the White Sox organization, Wendelken logged three appearances and earned two saves with Low-A Kannapolis.

His second appearance for the Intimdators was against Greenville on August 5, and the Guyton, Ga., native dominated his old teammates. He tossed three shutout frames and tied a career-high with seven strikeouts en route to a save. With the addition of Wendelken, Winston-Salem’s roster sits at the maximum of 25.

Jake Cose tossed seven scoreless innings for the second straight outing last night (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Jake Cose tossed seven scoreless innings for the second straight outing (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).


Righty Jake Cose threw seven scoreless innings for the second straight outing last night, leading the Dash to a 3-2 victory which avoided a sweep at the hands of the Salem Red Sox. Last night’s win kept one streak going while snapping another. Here’s the breakdown of what the win meant:

  • The Dash’s season-long four-game losing streak came to an end last night. It was the first time that Winston-Salem had lost more than four in a row in nearly two years.
  • Before the streak got to four with Friday night’s loss to Salem, it had been 720 days since the Dash had lost more than three in a row. Their last losing skid of more than three was a five-game run from August 16-20, 2011.
  • In the time period since their last four or more game losing streak, Winston had rattled off 13 winning streaks of four or more contests.
  • Also by virtue of last night’s win, the Dash avoided their first sweep since the Carolina Mudcats swept them out of Five County Stadium on Opening Weekend of this season. That sweep is the only time Winston-Salem has been swept over its last 92 series.
  • Prior to the Mudcats’ Opening Weekend brooming, Winston had not been swept since Salem turned the trick from July 9-11, 2011. Over that time frame, the Dash own a Carolina League-best 17 sweeps.
  • Since the team was renamed the Dash prior to the 2009 campaign, Winston has been swept just eight times. The club has not suffered a sweep at BB&T Ballpark since it opened in 2010 (81 home series).

Winston-Salem continues its six-game road trip with the first of three against the Lynchburg Hillcats tonight at Lynchburg City Stadium. For more on this evening’s series opener, check back later today.

- Rob

Leesman’s debut in The Show

Charlie Leesman struck out eight Minnesota Twins in his big league debut last night (

Charlie Leesman struck out eight Minnesota Twins in his big league debut last night (

Last night, left-hander Charlie Leesman became the 15th player to play in Winston-Salem during the Dash era (2009-present) and make it to the big leagues, taking the hill for the Chicago White Sox in the back end of a split doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

The 2010 alum pitched well, giving up one run on four hits in five innings of work while walking five and striking out eight.

According to CSN Chicago researcher Christopher Kamka, the southpaw also did something no White Sox pitcher had done since 1988:

Others chimed in, including some people who witnessed his journey to the majors.

While the lefty was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte after the game, a debut like that has certainly made him a candidate to make it back to the Windy City when the rosters expand to 40 men on September 1, if not before.

The Dash will try to avoid a sweep as they wrap up their three-game series with the Salem Red Sox tonight at LewisGale Field. Check back later this afternoon for a preview of this evening’s series finale.

- Rob

Rotation in the Dash’s starting staff

Chris Beck collected 11 wins with the Dash before today's promotion to Double-A (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Beck collected 11 wins with the Dash before today’s promotion (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Winston-Salem Dash will shake up their starting rotation after the Chicago White Sox announced a pair of roster moves today. All-Star right-hander Chris Beck is moving up to Double-A Birmingham for the first time in his career, joining fellow All-Star Chris Bassitt and southpaw Jarrett Casey as recent promotions.

Beck has been one of the best pitchers in the Carolina League this season, leading the circuit with 11 wins and posting a 2.90 ERA, which is currently sixth among all qualified starters. The former Georgia Southern University product also leads the Dash in quality starts, having posted 12 in his 20 outings for Winston-Salem this season.

The White Sox second round pick in 2012, Beck tossed the second nine-inning complete game in the Dash era (2009-present) on June 7 against Wilmington. In that contest, the righty surrendered just five hits while tying his career-high with seven strikeouts.

Fellow righty Mike Recchia has also earned a promotion today, and he will take Beck’s spot in the Dash’s rotation. After starting 2013 with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League, Recchia was signed by the White Sox in early June and joined the Intimidators’ starting staff.

With Kannapolis, the 24-year-old made 11 appearances, including eight starts, compiling a 5-0 record with a 1.45 ERA across 49.2 innings of work. South Atlantic League hitters had a hard time reaching base against him, as he allowed an opponents batting average of just .199 and walked just seven while striking out 53. He will make his Dash debut Friday night at Salem.

Both Beck and Recchia have already let their friends, family members and fans know that they are heading to the next level on Twitter, and both seem excited about it.

After a 5-0 shutout victory in the series opener, Winston-Salem will try to make it two in a row over the Lynchburg Hillcats tonight at BB&T Ballpark. Check back later for our preview.

- Rob

Haddow returns; Heisler back to Kannapolis

Mark Haddow led the CL in games played before he hit the DL in early June (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Mark Haddow led the CL in games played before he hit the DL in early June (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The Chicago White Sox announced a pair of roster moves today that will shake up the Dash’s outfield. Mark Haddow, who has been on the disabled list with a left hand injury since June 8, has been activated from the disabled list and will make his return to the Dash’s lineup tonight.

Before he went on the shelf, the San Diego, Calif., native had played in more games (60) than anyone else in the CL and was hitting .280 with three long balls, 26 runs batted in and 41 runs scored.

To prepare for his return to Winston, Haddow completed an eight-game rehab assignment with the Bristol White Sox of the Appalachian League. In those eight contests, the former 24th round pick has been hot at the plate to the tune of a .391 average with four doubles and four RBIs.

To make room for Haddow, outfielder Adam Heisler is headed back to Kannapolis. The Mobile, Ala. native began his season with the Intimidators and hit .324 in 19 contests before he was promoted to Winston-Salem on April 25.

Heisler hit .272 with three homers, 30 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 58 games for Winston-Salem while splitting time between left field and center field. He had also reached base in 43 consecutive contests dating back to September of 2012 before the streak was snapped on June 5 against Salem. The former South Alabama Jaguar also leads the Carolina League in broadcaster laptops damaged.

After a day off on Sunday, the Dash are back at it tonight as they welcome the Lynchburg Hillcats to town for the beginning of a three-game series. Check back in a bit for a preview of the series opener.

- Rob

Minor league road trips through TV, Twitter

Double-A Birmingham’s roster boasts plenty of Dash alums, and a handful of them were featured in a great video piece by WVTM-TV, the NBC affiliate in Birmingham. A reporter tagged along with the Barons on a road trip to Huntsville, the shortest trip for the Barons in the Southern League.

You can view the insightful story here, with thoughts from former Winston-Salem stars Dan Black, Mike Blanke, Salvador Sanchez and Trayce Thompson.

Speaking of travel stories, Low-A Kannapolis enjoyed quite a journey last night and through much of this morning. The Intimidators made one of their longer trips of the season from Delmarva, Md., to Charleston, W.Va. According to Google Maps, the trip is about seven hours, but it seems like it took a bit longer than expected…

As a veteran of driving through the West Virginia mountains, I can relate to their tribulations. They will try to overcome their bumpy ride tonight against the West Virginia Power, Pittsburgh’s Low-A club.

Fortunately, Winston-Salem’s return trip from Zebulon is only a journey of two hours and 15 minutes. Based on some of these stories, we are very thankful for that. The Dash aim for a win in the finale of their eight-game, nine-day road trip tonight at 6:15. Stay tuned to the blog for a preview.

- Brian

Fan favorite heads to Double-A Birmingham

Chris Bassitt has been promoted to Double-A Birmingham by the White Sox today (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Bassitt was promoted to Double-A Birmingham by the White Sox today (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Chicago White Sox announced a pair of roster moves today affecting the Winston-Salem Dash’s starting rotation. For the first time in his minor league career, Chris Bassitt has been promoted to Double-A Birmingham. The former Akron Zip made 18 starts with Winston-Salem this year, going 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA. His 101.1 innings pitched and 101 strikeouts are both currently good for third-most in the Carolina League.

A reliever for much of his career prior to 2013, Bassitt was named a Carolina League All-Star this season for his work in the rotation and tossed a scoreless eighth frame with a pair of strikeouts in the Midsummer Classic last month in San Jose.

Bassitt has been a Dash hurler since the start of the 2012 season. The outgoing Ohio native was a fan favorite and a popular topic on the Dash Board blog thanks to his Twitter skills, fashionable attire, unique connection to LeBron James, quacking abilities and harsh personal grading.

Fellow righty Braulio Ortiz, who has been promoted from Low-A Kannapolis, will replace Bassitt in the Dash’s rotation. Signed as an international free agent in July of 2011, the Dominican hurler started the season in the Intimidators’ bullpen, notching three saves and sporting an ERA of 3.00 in 14 relief outings.

Ortiz was then moved into the starting rotation where he had an ERA of 3.79 in eight starts. For the season, Ortiz is allowing opponents to hit just .196 against him, and he has struck out 74 in 62.2 innings of work.

Come back later today to check out the preview of game two of the Dash’s series at Five County Stadium against the Carolina Mudcats.

- Rob


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