Results tagged ‘ Keenyn Walker ’

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 whitesox.com 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

The first 2014 White Sox prospect list

Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America's White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Speedster Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America’s White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Baseball America is, in many ways, the bible of baseball prospects. Few publications examine Minor League Baseball more thoroughly than Baseball America, which has released its 2014 White Sox Top 10 Prospect list.

Over the last few seasons, Baseball America has been critical of the White Sox system, but the publication believes that the system is making significant progress:

For the first time since at least 2000, when the White Sox had the game’s No. 2 farm system, the organization has prospect depth.

How can one best illustrate this depth? Let’s take a look at Baseball America’s Top 10 list from this time last year and compare it to this year’s.

2013 White Sox Top 10:
1. OF Courtney Hawkins
2. OF Trayce Thompson
3. INF Carlos Sanchez
4. RHP Erik Johnson
5. OF Keenyn Walker
6. LHP Scott Snodgress
7. RHP Andre Rienzo
8. INF Keon Barnum
9. OF Jared Mitchell
10. RHP Chris Beck

2014 White Sox Top 10:
1. INF Jose Abreu
2. RHP Erik Johnson
3. INF Tim Anderson
4. INF Matt Davidson
5. INF Marcus Semien
6. INF Micah Johnson
7. OF Courtney Hawkins
8. OF Trayce Thompson
9. RHP Chris Beck
10. OF Jacob May

Only four members of the 2013 list appear on this year’s edition. This reflects the benefits of the transactions the White Sox have made much more than the struggles of a few of these players over the last 12 months.

Not only have these players impressed the White Sox and other baseball people, but many of them have produced at or near the top of the organization. Three of the current Top 10 have played in the big leagues, with Jose Abreu likely to play much of next season on the South Side. Excluding Abreu, only Tim Anderson and Jacob May have yet to play in High-A, and both could start in Winston-Salem in 2014.

Beyond the Top 10 rankings, Baseball America’s “Best Tools” and “Top 15 Players 25 and Under” lists, which can also be viewed here, feature more of Chicago’s minor league depth.

The White Sox had a tough 2013 in The Show, but the farm system should instill plenty of hope in the fan base for 2014 and beyond.

- Brian

Alumni react to Southern League title

Winston-Salem did not qualify for the postseason, but many players who have suited up for the Dash in recent years celebrated a championship last night.

Double-A Birmingham claimed its first Southern League championship in 11 years with a 4-2 win over Mobile in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday night. Mobile, who fell one win short of a three-peat, scored twice in the first, but the trio of Myles Jaye, Ryan Kussmaul and Cody Winiarski (who finished off the championship clincher with this strikeout) held the BayBears off the scoreboard in the final eight innings.

Offensively, Micah Johnson was the star of the show. The former Indiana Hoosier hit a solo homer in the first inning to get the Barons on the board, and he drove home a run and scored another in the deciding three-run second frame.

Twitter was buzzing with reactions from Birmingham, where the Barons ushered in the Regions Field era with a championship.

Congratulations to the Barons on a magical season. A total of 48 players suited up for the Barons this season, and 39 of them played in Winston-Salem at some point during their minor league careers.

- Brian

Three Dash players among Sox top 20 prospects

Courtney Hawkins has retained the top spot in MLB's rankings in his first full season in pro ball (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins has retained the top spot in MLB’s White Sox rankings (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

With the season roughly three-quarters of the way complete, MLBPipeline.com released its updated top 20 Chicago White Sox prospects yesterday. Three current Winston-Salem players are among the Top 20:

1. OF Courtney Hawkins - .191, 18 HR, 51 RBI, 69 games
6. RHP Chris Beck – 9-8, 3.01 ERA, 101.2 IP, 50 K, 18 starts
16. INF Micah Johnson - .326, 6 RBIs, 12 R, 10 SB, 21 games

The list also includes 10 former Winston-Salem players. This includes RHP Daniel Webb (#18), who started the year in the Triad before quickly ascending all the way to Triple-A Charlotte by mid-June.

MLBPipeline.com’s rankings also feature seven players from the 2012 version of the Dash that posted the best record in all of full-season Minor League Baseball. Those seven are RHP Erik Johnson (#2), OF Trayce Thompson (#4), INF Marcus Semien (#9), INF Carlos Sanchez (#10), LHP Scott Snodgress (#12), OF Keenyn Walker (#14) and RHP Andre Rienzo (#17).  Rienzo, who fired a no-hitter earlier this week, also spent his entire 2011 campaign with Winston-Salem.

In addition to Rienzo, the 2011 version of the Dash have another alum in the top 20, with OF Jared Mitchell (#11), who is currently with Double-A Birmingham, making the list.

The first Dash team to play at BB&T Ballpark (2010) has one member on the list in C Josh Phegley (#5). Earlier this month, Phegley became the 13th Dash alum to make it to the big leagues.

The Dash and Carolina Mudcats conclude their series tonight at 7. Check back later for a preview of this evening’s contest.

- Rob

Game #65 Preview – Winston-Salem v. Lynchburg

With six days remaining in the first half, the Dash are one game behind Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division standings. Thus, we will have a game preview available for every game until either the Dash or the Pelicans claim the first-half crown.

Game #65 – Home Game #35
Winston-Salem Dash vs. Lynchburg Hillcats
Tuesday, June 11 – 7 p.m.
Current Position: 2nd (1.0 GB)

GAME BACKGROUND:

For the first time since Thursday, the Dash find themselves looking up at the Birds in the Southern Division. Winston-Salem spoiled a five-run lead at home against Lynchburg in a 10-9 defeat, while Myrtle Beach edged Frederick 2-1. Winston has six games remaining in the first half, while the Pelicans finish with seven games in six days.

Chris Bassitt defeated the Hillcats on April 23 at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Bassitt defeated the Hillcats on April 23 at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem – RHP Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.74 ERA): Bassitt is tied for fourth in the Carolina League with five wins, and his earned run average is 12th-best on the circuit. However, the righty has struggled in his last five starts (1-2, 7.11 ERA). Prior to this funk, Bassitt was arguably the CL’s best pitcher through mid-May (4-0, 1.71 ERA). The former Akron Zip collected one of his team high-tying six quality starts during his only outing against Lynchburg in 2013. He went six innings and surrendered only two runs in a win over the Hillcats on April 23 at BB&T Ballpark.

Lynchburg – TBA: The Hillcats have yet to announce a starter. A roster move is expected in advance of tonight’s game.

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash’s season-long six-game home winning streak came to an end on Monday. Winston-Salem, who suffered its first home loss of the month, outscored its opposition 46-17 during the streak.
  • In Monday’s series opener, Winston spoiled a five-run lead, the largest advantage wasted in a Dash loss this season. The Dash had not wasted a lead bigger than last night’s five-run cushion since August 31, 2011, when Winston-Salem held a 7-1 lead in a game it lost to Salem by a score of 16-10.
  • Winston-Salem matched a season high with three homers in Monday’s loss. The Dash are second in the Carolina League with 56 homers, which is one shy of Frederick for the circuit’s top spot.
  • Joey DeMichele continued his recent tear with a 2-for-4 effort Monday. He boasts a 10-game hitting streak, which is one game shy of the longest by a Dash hitter this season. Both Mark Haddow and Rangel Ravelo have strung together a hitting streak of 11 games in 2013.
  • Outfielder Courtney Hawkins continues to thrive since returning from the disabled list on June 2. The top prospect in the White Sox system hit his 12th homer in his 33rd game with Winston-Salem. Since his left shoulder injury fully healed, Hawkins is hitting .308 (12-for-39) with five homers and 14 RBIs.
  • Congratulations to Double-A Birmingham on clinching the first half North Division title in the Southern League with a win over Jacksonville on Monday. More than half of the current Barons were with Winston-Salem last year on a team that many called the “best team I’ve ever been on.” Two Dash alums spoke out on Twitter about the accomplishment.

BIRD’S-EYE VIEW:

The Pelicans and Frederick Keys continue their three-game set from TicketReturn.com Field tonight at 7:05. This season, Myrtle Beach is 6-3 against the Keys, who are now 3.5 games behind Potomac in the Northern Division. Thus, this is a huge game for Frederick, too. The Birds send Victor Payano (4-3, 3.86 ERA) to the hill against fellow southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (6-2, 2.94 ERA).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Join Rob Low and I for all the play-by-play coverage beginning at 6:45 with the Pregame Dash. Fans can listen live here or watch on MiLB.tv.

- Brian

Notes on Hawkins’ two-homer night

The Dash cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Frederick Keys Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium, but the story was White Sox top prospect Courtney Hawkins. Hawkins crushed a two-run blast in both the first and third innings to propel the Dash to their second win in a row. Here are a few notes on Hawkins’ big night:

  • Hawkins became the 21st player in Dash history to record a multi-home run game. The last two-homer game for a Dash swinger also came in Frederick when fellow outfield prospect Keenyn Walker hit two against Kevin Gausman, one of the Orioles’ top farmhands, on August 18, 2012.
  • There have now been 29 multi-homer games in Dash history, which dates back to the 2009 season.
  • No Dash player has ever hit three homers in a single game. The last Winston-Salem hitter to accomplish that feat was John Shelby III. He blasted three long balls against Wilmington on May 3, 2008, which was the final season of the Warthogs era.
  • Before Wednesday night, Hawkins was 1-for-10 with six strikeouts. Hawkins whiffed three times in each of the first two games of the season after only posting one three-whiff effort last year in his first professional season.
  • This is Hawkins’ first multi-homer effort of his professional career. The Corpus Christi, Texas, native now has 10 long balls in 63 minor league games (12 homers in 70 games if you count the playoffs).
  • Entering play today, Winston-Salem was tied for last in the CL with two homers.

In other words, Hawkins is pretty good at baseball. That is all.

- Brian

Sale-ing through spring training

As we near the halfway point of spring training, many Dash alums are grabbing the headlines at White Sox camp in Glendale, Ariz.

Chris Sale had a 2.25 ERA in 4 appearances for the Dash in 2010.

Chris Sale had a 2.25 ERA in four appearances for the Dash in 2010, his first professional season.

Sale dominates in first outing since signing extension: Late last week, Chris Sale signed a $32.5 million contract extension that will keep him with the White Sox until at least 2017 and includes team options for 2018 and 2019. Sale followed that up with a win in his second outing of the spring Monday against Colorado.

The southpaw was efficient, allowing just one run on three hits, while needing only 58 pitches to get through five plus innings. The longest at-bat of the day was a seven pitch duel with catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who hit the seventh pitch out of the yard. Despite the home run, Torrealba had a lot of praise for the young lefty, telling MLB.com’s Scott Merkin:

“He throws almost sidearm, and his delivery is kind of weird, too. You’ve got to give credit to the guy. He’s got a good changeup and a nasty slider. The ball’s moving a lot, especially when he goes away to righties. It seems the ball keeps running away.”

Through two starts this spring, Sale is now 1-0 with a 1.23 earned run average.

Marcus Semien spent all of 2012 in Winston-Salem and impressed at Major League camp this year. (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Marcus Semien spent all of 2012 in Winston-Salem. (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

White Sox make 10 roster moves on busy Monday: Following yesterday’s 3-1 win over Colorado, the White Sox made 10 roster moves. Among the moves, Winston-Salem alums Stefan Gartrell, Erik Johnson, Seth Loman, Marcus Semien, Scott Snodgress, Trayce Thompson and Keenyn Walker were all reassigned to minor league camp. Here are their stats with the White Sox in spring training:

  • Gartrell: 3-13 (.231), 1 HR, 3RBIs
  • Johnson: 3 outings, 6.1 IP,4 Ks, 8.53 ERA
  • Loman: 7-20 (.350), 2 HRs, 9 RBIs
  • Semien: 5-11 (.455), 1 HR, 4RBIs
  • Snodgress: 3 outings, 5.0 IP, 3 Ks, 5.40 ERA
  • Thompson: 0-14 (.000), 1 RBI, 1 SB
  • Walker: 5-20 (.250), 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 SB

The White Sox also optioned RHP Nestor Molina to Double-A Birmingham and RHP Simon Castro and LHP Santos Rodriguez to Triple-A Charlotte. Rodriguez, a member of the Dash in both 2010 and 2011, appeared in four games and tossed two and two-thirds innings for the White Sox this spring.

Mitchell standing out for White Sox: In 11 games for the White Sox this spring, outfielder Jared Mitchell is hitting .393 with one home run and five RBIs. His speed his also been a major weapon, notes White Sox insider Dan Hayes:

Despite his impressive play this spring, Mitchell will be starting the season with Triple-A Charlotte, according to new White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn. Hahn did tell CBS Chicago’s Adam Hoge he doesn’t believe Mitchell’s time is too far away:

“The key for him will be when he gets to Charlotte to keep doing what he’s doing here. And if he’s able to put together a solid first half, it’s conceivable he could help us in the second half of this year and certainly he’s on track to help us in 2014.”

Whether or not Mitchell does make it to the South Side this summer, it certainly will not be too long before the Dash can count him among their big league alums.

- Rob

More Countdown Fun

I’ve had a blast coming up with the daily countdown to the 2013 season. Every number from 100 to 53 has been represented, and we went through some of them a few weeks back.

If you have missed any, 100-86 can be found here, and 85-53 is available below:

85 – In ’85, Winston-Salem won the CL title despite a regular season record of just 58-81. (Still counts!)

Keenyn Walker is a speedster with some gaudy stolen base numbers.

Keenyn Walker is a speedster with some gaudy stolen base numbers.

84 – This past season, right-handed pitching prospect Jake Petricka struck out 84 men while with the Dash.

83 – 1983 was the final year of the Winston-Salem Red Sox, the team with the most wins (1635) & Carolina League titles (5) in Winston-Salem history.

82 – Five years after playing in Winston-Salem, Hall of Famer Wade Boggs made his MLB debut in 1982.

81 – Mike Blanke, who earned a non-roster invite to spring training, had 81 hits a year ago in Winston.

80 – In the Dash’s 80th PA of the game, Chase Blackwood’s RBI single gave the Dash a 4-3, 20-inning win on May 19, 2010, against Myrtle Beach.

79 – Bill Slack, the winningest manager in W-S and CL history, was the 1979 Manager of the Year.

78 – Winston-Salem hit a league-best .278 in 2012.

77 – 2011 first rounder Keenyn Walker has 77 stolen bases in just 165 minor league games.

The Dash played 76 games on this beautiful field last year.

The Dash played 76 games on this beautiful field last year.

76 – The Dash played 76 total games at beautiful BB&T Ballpark last season.

75 – Chris Bassitt struck out 75 in his 91 innings last season in Winston-Salem.

74 – Fan-favorite Dan Black led the Dash with 74 hits at BB&T Ballpark in his MVP season.

73 – All-Star Michael Earley drove in 73 runs with the Dash in 2012 (T-4th in the CL).

72 – On July 4th, 2012, a single-game record 7,285 fans enjoyed a Dash game at BB&T Ballpark.

71 – MLB Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson started 71 games in 1956, the final season of his amazing 10-year career (this was the fact on January 31, Robinson’s birthday).

BB&T Ballpark hosted a record crowd on July 4 of last season.

BB&T Ballpark hosted a record crowd on July 4 of last season.

70 – In 70 innings pitched with the White Sox last year, rookie Hector Santiago posted a 3.33 ERA.

69 – In game 69 of 2012, the Dash clinched the 1st-half title with a 9-5 win at Wilmington June 16.

68 – On July 17, 1968, Ed Phillips tossed the first perfect game in CL history. It is still Winston-Salem’s only perfecto in franchise history.

67 – In 67 innings in Winston-Salem last season, Terance Marin recorded an impressive 2.42 earned run average.

66 – Reliever Kevin Vance boasted a 1.66 ERA in 11 outings with Winston-Salem in 2012.

65 – Winston-Salem was 65-23 when hitting at least one home run in 2012. This record was the best on the circuit.

64 – If you attended every regular season game at BB&T Ballpark in 2012, you watched an even 640 innings of baseball!

63 – Winston-Salem’s single-season batting average record is .363, set by 8-year MLB vet Ray Jablonski in 1951.

62 – All-Star Matt Heidenreich whiffed 62 batters with the Dash before a July trade to the Houston organization.

The Dash's offense did plenty of this in 2012.

The Dash’s offense did plenty of this in 2012.

61 – Winston led the Carolina League with a 61-22 mark when scoring first in 2012.

60 – In 1960, Ed Olivares hit 35 home runs for Winston-Salem, which still remains a single-season franchise record

59 – Both Marcus Semien and Brady Shoemaker drove in 59 runs for Winston-Salem last season.

58 – Carlos Sanchez, who is currently in big league camp with the White Sox, scored 58 times for the Dash in ’12.

57 – 57 different players suited up for the Dash in 2012, and they posted full-season Minor League Baseball’s best mark (87-51)!

56 – Outfielder Keenyn Walker led all White Sox farmhands with a combined 56 stolen bases between Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem last year.

55 – Since becoming the Dash prior to the ’09 season, Winston boasts a .554 winning percentage (317-255). This includes regular season and postseason games.

54 – Trayce Thompson hit .254 with CL-bests in homers (22) and RBI (90) with the Dash a year ago.

53 – The Dash boasted 5 year-end All-Stars (Dan Black, Michael Earley, Carlos Sanchez, Brady Shoemaker and Trayce Thompson) and 3 midseason All-Stars (Earley, Shoemaker and Matt Heidenreich).

That’s another installment of “Countdown Catch-Up.” Stay tuned to our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for the rest of our daily countdowns. The home opener is only 52 days away!

- Brian

Spring Training Preparation

Pitchers and catchers may not report for a couple of weeks, and the spring training opener follows toward the end of February. However, tomorrow is the true beginning of spring training.

Tomorrow afternoon, the White Sox equipment truck departs for Glendale, Ariz.

Sure, this event is not quite the same as team workouts or exhibition games, but this 1,800-mile journey signals that baseball is not just a distant memory. It is on the horizon.

However, baseball is a 12-month responsibility for the players, and many Dash alums have been preparing since the fall. Here are some spring training-related tweets from the last few weeks.

The players have been gearing up to use the equipment that will begin the trip to spring training tomorrow. It’s a bit of a stretch, but baseball fans are happy about any signs that our national pastime is almost here. We’ll take it!

- Brian

Rising White Sox Prospects

Marcus Semien and 15 other Dash alums were on another Top 25 countdown (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Marcus Semien and 15 other Dash alums were on another Top 25 countdown (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The talented folks at FutureSox.com released their preseason Top 25 White Sox prospect list, and 16 of these prospects have played for Winston-Salem at some point.

Among the 16 Winston-Salem alums, 10 of them played with the Dash last season. The notable trend within this group is a significant improvement between the 2012 midseason list and the 2013 preseason ranking.

Here’s why: eight of the 10 Dash alums on this list either remained in the same spot or climbed the rankings since the midway point of last season. Take a look at the list:

#1 – OF Courtney Hawkins (Midseason: 1)
#2 – OF Trayce Thompson (Midseason: 7)
#4 -  RHP Erik Johnson (Midseason: 18)
#5 – INF Carlos Sanchez (Midseason: 10)
#7 – RHP Andre Rienzo (Midseason: 15)
#8 – OF Keenyn Walker (Midseason: 8)
#9 – LHP Scott Snodgress (Midseason: 38)
#16 – INF Marcus Semien (Midseason: 34)
#22 – RHP Jake Petricka (Midseason: 16)
#25 – C Kevan Smith (Midseason: 24)

Improvement is the goal, and the Dash saw plenty of it from the 2012 crop of players who dominated the Carolina League en route to full-season Minor League Baseball’s best record.

Congratulations to all of the players on this list. Standing out in the minors is not easy, but these players have done just that.

- Brian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers