Results tagged ‘ MLB ’

Two White Sox farmhands make MLB’s Top 100

Erik Johnson is one of two White Sox on MLB's Top 100 prospect list (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Erik Johnson is one of two White Sox on MLB’s Top 100 prospect list (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

MLB released its Top 100 prospects Thursday night, and a pair of White Sox prospects qualified for the list.

Right-hander Erik Johnson placed 70th on the list, while newly-acquired infielder Matt Davidson slotted 80th. Last season’s lone White Sox qualifier, outfielder Courtney Hawkins, did not make this year’s Top 100.

At the end of the 2012 season, Johnson was Winston-Salem’s ace, posting a 2.74 earned run average in eight starts down the stretch. Last year, the former California Golden Bear dominated between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte to the tune of a 12-3 record and a 1.96 ERA.

Johnson earned a September promotion to Chicago, where he went 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in five impressive starts. He will not be a prospect for long because “Puma” has a great chance to be in the Sox rotation on Opening Day.

And hey, if this baseball thing does not work out for Johnson, he could always go into sales. Check out the great video below of Johnson and former Dash shortstop Marcus Semien making sales calls for the White Sox, courtesy of

The White Sox acquired Davidson from Arizona for former Winston-Salem flamethrower Addison Reed. Davidson also figures to play in Chicago for some or all of the 2014 season. He hit .237 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 31 games with the Diamondbacks late last year.’s Top 20 White Sox prospect list is available here (which does not jive with the Top 100 countdown, as Davidson tops the group). An impressive 12 players on this list have played in the Triad at some point in their minor league journeys.

– Brian

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

Top 10 of 2013 – #4: Four alumni promoted to MLB

MG_EJ_MS_DW_MW_jmywk7bg_c5w9htu6The 2013 season is over, but there were plenty of memorable moments. Over the next two weeks, we will count down the Top 10 moments of the Dash era’s fifth season.

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

Moment #4 – September 3
Four alumni promoted to big leagues

At times, cheering for a Minor League Baseball team can be frustrating. Many players advance to a higher level once they become fan favorites due to their production. However, this fandom frustration goes away whenever one of this temporary favorites jump to the highest level.

The 2013 season was a great one for Dash alumni. In early July, Josh Phegley became the 13th Dash alum to play in Major League Baseball, and he began the pipeline from Winston to the bigs. Andre Rienzo followed suit later that month.

In August, Charlie Leesman made his debut as a spot starter, while Jake Petricka joined the White Sox bullpen for the first time.

However, with respect to these four men and their incredible accomplishments, the biggest day in terms of big league promotions came the day after the Dash concluded their 2013 season. It’s one thing to see four alumni climb to baseball’s grandest stage during the course of the season. It’s much different to hear four former players moving to the big leagues on one day, which is something the White Sox strongly hinted a few days before the official transactions.

Because of Chicago’s rare rough season, the front office aimed to get some young players a taste of the Majors. Miguel Gonzalez, Erik Johnson, Marcus Semien and Daniel Webb benefited from this opportunity with a month of big league experience.

All four players flashed the potential that Winston-Salem fans witnessed over the last few years. Here are their numbers after earning promotions:

– Gonzalez: .222 (2-for-9) in 5 games
– Johnson: 3-2, 3.25 ERA, 27.2 IP, 18 K in 5 starts
– Semien: .261 (18-for-69), 2 HR, 7 RBI in 21 games
– Webb: 0-0, 3.18 ERA, 11.1 IP, 10 K in 9 appearances

The Winston-to-Chicago pipeline had never been busier than it was in 2013, and never was that fact more evident than immediately after the regular season came to an end in the minors. Four men who suited up for the Dash in either 2012 or 2013 were big leaguers. It does not get much better than that.

Only three more moments remain in our Dash Top 10. What will number three be? Find out tomorrow.

– Brian

Johnson set to debut tonight at Yankee Stadium

Thanks to four White Sox promotions, the Dash made some history Tuesday night. Four Dash alumni–catcher Miguel Gonzalez, right-hander Erik Johnson, infielder Marcus Semien and righty Daniel Webb–earned their first career promotions to The Show.

None of these newcomers saw the field in their first MLB game, but Johnson will be on the bump tonight in New York against former Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia and the Yankees.

With the Sox out of the playoff chase, attention turns to the prospects, and Johnson is arguably the top farmhand in Chicago’s system. Fans are understandably excited for his debut tonight.


A year ago tomorrow, Johnson started Game 1 of the Southern Division Championship Series for the Dash. At 7:05 p.m., Puma will be making his MLB debut against one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last decade. This is quite a climb for a great pitcher and a great guy.

– Brian

MLB wins come in pairs

While Winston-Salem is busy wrapping up a victorious road trip, two Dash alumni picked up their first victories at the big league level.

Andre Rienzo, who made his MLB debut late last month in Cleveland, had thrown well in his first four outings with the White Sox. He worked into the sixth inning and held his opposition to four runs or less in all four of those starts; however, he had not picked up a decision until Wednesday night in Kansas City.

In that outing, Rienzo allowed just two runs over six strong innings as the Sox won in Kansas City by a score of 5-2. Little did we know that the Brazilian would not be the only Dash alum to earn his first win in the majors.

One night later, the White Sox and Royals played into the 12th inning, and Jake Petricka was summoned for his big league debut. With two on and one out in the last of the 11th, Petricka induced an inning-ending double play. Conor Gillaspie’s 12th inning blast gave the Sox the lead, so Petricka collected a win in his first big league appearance.

Here are some reactions from Twitter to back-to-back firsts for two former Dash hurlers:

Quite a two-day run for Dash alums in the big leagues. Plus, Winston-Salem and the White Sox have won a combined 10 straight games. In a season of ups and downs, it is a good time to be in this organization.

Stay tuned to the blog for our preview of the Dash’s sweep chance at Potomac.

– Brian

Game 95 Preview – Winston-Salem at Carolina

Game #95 – Road Game #48
Winston-Salem Dash (11-13, 49-45) at Carolina Mudcats (11-12, 33-60)
Wednesday, July 17 – 7:15 p.m.
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, N.C.)


Fresh off the club’s first off day of the second half, Winston-Salem begins a four-game series in Zebulon against the Carolina Mudcats. The Dash are just 1-5 at Five County Stadium this season.

Chris Beck looks for his ninth win, which would lead the Carolina League (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Beck looks for his ninth win, which would lead the Carolina League (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).


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


  • For the fourth time this season, Winston-Salem has lost a season high-tying three consecutive games. The Dash have not dropped four games in a row since August 16-20, 2011, when the club suffered a five-game skid.
  • Since that streak, the Dash have lost three games in a row seven times, and Winston aims for a seventh straight win after a three-game skid tonight. In those first six games, Winston-Salem has doubled up its opposition by a combined score of 44-22.
  • For the first time since May 21, Dash infielder Jeremy Farrell drove in three runs in Monday’s finale. Farrell now stands third in the Carolina League with 58 RBIs, a total that is 10 shy of teammate Chris Curley and Salem outfielder Keury De La Cruz for the league lead.
  • Over their last three games, the Dash have stranded 34 runners and hit just .136 (6-for-44) with runners in scoring position. The Dash still pace the circuit with a .278 team average with men in scoring position.
  • Winston-Salem lost its first five games of the season in Zebulon before winning 11-4 to avoid a sweep on May 26. Since suffering a sweep at Salem from July 9-11, 2011, the Dash have only been swept once in their last 84 sets, and it was the 2013 season’s lid-lifter at Carolina from April 5-7.
  • White Sox lefty Chris Sale, who debut as a professional with Winston-Salem in 2010, threw a pair of spotless innings and earned the victory in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York City. Sale struck out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowizki, a pair of Colorado sluggers voted in as starters.


The Pregame Dash begins at 7 p.m., and fans can listen live here. You will hear from Carolina play-by-play broadcaster Darren Headrick during our pregame coverage.

– Brian

Former Warthog, MLB All-Star Lee retires

(Photo via Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images).

(Photo via Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images).

One of the most successful players in Winston-Salem baseball history, outfielder Carlos Lee announced his retirement on Thursday, which happened to be his 37th birthday.

A three-time All-Star in the big leagues, Lee starred on the 1997 Winston-Salem Warthogs, who finished the regular season at 66-74. He hit .317 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs over 139 games.

Lee debuted with the White Sox in 1999 and finished seventh in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. After six seasons with the White Sox, the Panama native joined the Brewers in advance of the 2005 season, which happened to be Chicago’s World Series season.

After a year and a half in Milwaukee, “El Caballo” played with the Rangers down the stretch in 2006 before spending the next six years with Houston. He was traded midway through his final campaign in the big leagues (2012) to Miami.

Lee just missed out on the White Sox title season, and he joined the Astros right after their tremendous run in the middle of last decade. As a result, he only played in the playoffs once (2000).

Congratulations to Lee on a tremendous career, during which he competed in the Midsummer Classic three times (2005-07). He was a career .285 hitter with 358 home runs in 2,099 games.

– Brian

Dash players recall their MLB Draft memories

The first day of the Major League Baseball Draft is in the books, and the White Sox have a pair of new prospects, both of whom we will highlight later today in the blog.

For now, we let a few Dash players reflect on their draft day experiences. No two stories are alike, but every one of them came about because of hard work.

Winston-Salem and Wilmington open up a three-game series tonight at 7 from BB&T Ballpark. Stay tuned here for more MLB Draft coverage.

– Erika

Most interesting hitting coach in the world

Dash hitting coach Rob Sasser is back in Winston-Salem as the Dash’s hitting coach. He spent four seasons with the franchise from 2008-11 before being assigned to Low-A Kannapolis last season.

Sasser’s baseball career has been fascinating. He made it to the big leagues for one game in 1998, a story that is chronicled here. He also became a hitting coach during the same season that he retired from playing the game he loved.

Our own Erika Metzger talks to Sasser about those two unique stories and the 2013 version of the Dash below:

Sasser and the Dash are back at it in Lynchburg tonight at 6:05. Join us for the Pregame Dash at 5:50 here.

– Brian

Spring Training Updates

Andre Rienzo and a few other former Dash hurlers are getting a longer look in spring training (Kevin Hartley/W-S Dash).

Andre Rienzo and a few other former Dash hurlers are getting a longer look in spring training (Kevin Hartley/W-S Dash).

Baseball is certainly in the air. Single-game tickets for the Dash’s 2013 season went on sale today, and White Sox pitchers and catchers have made their way to spring training, with position players slowly trickling in each day.

Here are a few stories of interest for White Sox and Dash fans coming out of Glendale, Ariz.:

Extended look for Dash pitching alums: Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune wrote about White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper’s plan to space out the work of the club’s rotation early on in spring training. Former Winston-Salem southpaw Chris Sale will make his first spring start March 1, which is six days after the Sox first exhibition affair. As a result, a few Winston-Salem alums will benefit, per Gonzales:

The planned delay allows Cooper and the Sox staff to take a longer look at prospects Erik Johnson, Scott Snodgress, Andre Rienzo and Simon Castro, as well as left-hander Hector Santiago, who currently is being viewed as more of a reliever but could start if Danks isn’t ready.

Gonzales also tweeted this about Johnson and Snodgress Tuesday:

It certainly is great to see a handful of former Winston-Salem arms receive some praise and attention in big league camp.

Mitchell likely ticketed for Triple-A: According to Scott Merkin of, former Dash outfielder Jared Mitchell will probably begin the season in Triple-A Charlotte. However, the former first-round pick has improved with the offensive side of his game, and White Sox officials have noticed. Still, it looks like a return to the International League is in store for Mitchell:

“Stranger things have happened, but I don’t see us taking him come the end of spring,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, who agreed with Mitchell in that simple repetition at the plate has helped him improve. “Instead, he’ll be playing on an everyday basis at [Triple-A] Charlotte, pushing us to hopefully bring him up based on his performance as the season goes on.”

Mitchell’s batting average climbed a bit over the last two seasons. He hit .222 in 129 games with Winston-Salem in 2011, while the LSU product mustered a .237 mark in 130 games between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2012.

Gearing up for Arizona: A few other familiar faces to Dash fans are ready for their trip to spring training.

The season opens in exactly 50 days in Zebulon, with the home opener seven days later. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Enjoy your time with that special someone.

– Brian