Results tagged ‘ Minnesota Twins ’

Shoemaker heads to Marlins organization


Brady Shoemaker won the 2012 Home Run Derby at BB&T Ballpark with his dad (left) throwing to him (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The Miami Marlins selected former Dash outfielder and Carolina League All-Star Brady Shoemaker in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, which took place Thursday morning.

After a late promotion to Winston-Salem in 2011, Shoemaker shined for the Dash during the first half of the 2012 season. He hit .331 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 78 games, during which Shoemaker led the Dash to a first-half Southern Division title.

Shoemaker was one of three players who represented the Dash in the 2012 California-Carolina League All-Star Game, which was held at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem. With his father throwing to him, Shoemaker won the 2012 Home Run Derby.

However, Shoemaker missed the entire 2013 season with a torn labrum, and he is now heading to the Marlins organization. The former Indiana State star is likely to spend much of the 2014 season on Miami’s Triple-A roster in New Orleans.

Last season, Boston selected 2012 Dash reliever Jon Bachanov in the Triple-A phase, while 2010-11 Winston-Salem hurler Terry Doyle was chosen by Minnesota in the Major League phase of the 2011 Rule 5 Draft before being returned to the White Sox before that season began.

The White Sox did add a player via this year’s event. Catcher Adrian Nieto, who played for Potomac here in the Carolina League, joins Chicago’s organization from the Nationals. Nieto, 24, hit .285 with 11 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 68 runs scored over 110 games with the P-Nats in 2013.

Nieto becomes a member of the White Sox 40-man roster, which is now one shy of its maximum number of players.

One other notable tidbit from this year’s Rule 5 Draft. The Rangers selected Russell Wilson in the Triple-A phase of the process. Yes, that Russell Wilson. The former NC State signal caller who now leads the 11-2 Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.

Why would they do this? Here are some thoughts via baseball writers on Twitter.

It was certainly an interesting decision, but one that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The Rangers’ farm system is regarded as one of baseball’s best, so why not have a young role model athlete swing by and talk with some of its prospects.

Believe it or not, but the season starts in 112 days. Look for our countdown of the top 10 blog posts from 2013 early next week.

– Brian

Can Winston-Salem stop this year’s Dash?

Can the Dash prevent the P-Nats from besting what Winston did in 2012? (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash)

Can the Dash prevent the P-Nats from besting what Winston did in 2012? (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash)

Last season, Winston-Salem was the class of the Carolina League in the regular season. The Dash’s 87-51-1 record was the best mark among the 120 teams in full-season Minor League Baseball.

Winston-Salem finished with the best winning percentage in the Carolina League since 2008 (.630), while the Dash registered the franchise’s second-best record overall. Only the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals, who won 106 games, had a better season than the Dash did a year ago.

This season, Potomac is on a similar path. Despite the Dash’s win last night, the P-Nats own the league’s best record at 79-48 (.622). The club needs to win nine of its last 12 games to surpass the Dash’s record from last year, while Potomac trails only Cedar Rapids (Low-A, Twins) for the best record in full-season Minor League Baseball (80-46, .635).

While the Dash’s playoff hopes are fading down the stretch, they can still be the only team to solve the puzzle that is the Potomac Nationals. Excepting Winston-Salem, The P-Nats have defeated every team in the Carolina League at least 12 times.

The Dash, on the other hand, own an 8-6 mark in the season series, which still includes six games. Four of those contests, one of which will be the completion of a suspended game from July, are set for next week at BB&T Ballpark.

The P-Nats of 2013 are very similar to the Dash of 2012. Potomac is likely to win both division titles this season in the Northern Division, an accomplishment Winston-Salem earned last year in the Southern Division. Both clubs will have dealt with a hot Lynchburg squad in the postseason, barring a late-season collapse by the Hillcats. Plus, both squads dominated at home, with the Dash finishing last season with full-season Minor League Baseball’s best home mark (48-23) and Potomac near the top this season (45-20).

Since Winston-Salem became the Dash prior to the 2009 season, no team has been better in the regular season than last year’s Winston club. The Dash of 2013 can assure that this is still true after 2013 with a few more wins against Potomac.

– Brian

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

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

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

Former Dash arms Sale, Doyle record big outings

Chris Sale compiled a 2.25 ERA in four innings with the Dash in 2010. (Dave Bilbrough/WS-Dash).

The White Sox organization is starting to reap the benefits of Dash alums who are making significant impact in Chicago and across the higher levels of the system. Two former Winston-Salem hurlers turned in spectacular outings on Memorial Day. Chris Sale and Terry Doyle both picked up wins in impressive fashion on Monday.

Sale’s blink-and-you-missed-him appearance in Winston-Salem during the 2010 season characterized his meteoric rise to the majors, becoming the first player from the 2010 MLB Draft to reach the big leagues. The White Sox moved him out of the bullpen and into the rotation to begin the 2012 season. On Monday, Sale delivered his finest performance to date, striking out 15 Rays batters in seven and one-third innings of work.  The 15 punchouts are one shy of a franchise record 16 by Jack Harshman in 1954 against Boston. Even more special for Sale is that fact he grew up in Lakeland, Fla., and became a Tampa Bay fan when the team joined MLB.

Terry Doyle pitched in 31 games with the Dash over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons (Kevin Hartley/WS-Dash).

Doyle’s performance Monday was equally impressive but might have been lost on the national landscape because it occurred at the Triple-A level. A member of the Dash in 2010 and 2011, Doyle took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before yielding a one-out double. He exited after giving up the hit, leaving after seven and one-third innings and getting the win for Charlotte against Minnesota’s Triple-A squad, the Rochester Red Wings.

It is a bit of redemption for Doyle, who was not protected by the White Sox and selected by the Twins in the Rule 5 draft in the offseason but was shipped back to Chicago after he didn’t make Minnesota’s major league roster. Doyle is 4-3 with a 3.05 ERA in nine starts this season with the Knights.

Speaking of good pitching, Matt Heidenreich is on the mound tonight for the Dash. The right-hander has been Winston-Salem’s most effective starter this season and brings a streak of 16 scoreless innings into the game.

Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 with the Pre-Game Dash, and first pitch is slated for 7:00.