Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’
Game #1 – Road Game #1
Winston-Salem Dash (0-0) at Lynchburg Hillcats (0-0)
Thursday, April 7 – 6:45 p.m.
Calvin Falwell Field (Lynchburg, VA)
The Dash will open the 2016 season at Lynchburg. Since becoming the Dash in 2009, Winston-Salem is just 2-5 on Opening Day, though last season’s lid-lifter yielded a 13-0 shellacking of the Keys in Frederick.
Hunter Jones – CF
Louie Lechich – RF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Nick Basto – 1B
Mason Robbins – DH
Michael Danner – LF
Brett Austin – C
Toby Thomas – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Spencer Adams – RHP
- The Dash’s 140-game journey begins Thursday night against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Winston-Salem and Lynchburg do battle through Sunday before the Dash travel to Myrtle Beach for a three-game set. The home slate starts next Thursday, April 14, with the first of four against Salem. Since the franchise became the Dash prior to the 2009 season, Winston-Salem boasts a 517-455-1 (.532) record, which is the best in the Carolina League during this span.
- The Dash are coming off their first trip to the playoffs since 2012. Winston-Salem bounced back from its worst single-half performance in the Dash era (30-40) to its best (45-23) en route to the second-half Southern Division crown. Winston-Salem, who recorded the best second half record by a CL team since Salem in 1987 (47-23), took Game 1 of the Southern Division Championship Series. However, Myrtle Beach rallied with back-to-back one-run victories at home to eliminate the Dash. The Pelicans swept Wilmington in the Mills Cup Finals.
- A former big league player, coach and skipper has taken over the Dash’s managerial duties. Joel Skinner replaced Tim Esmay, who is an assistant coach with Triple-A Charlotte under Julio Vinas. Skinner played nine seasons as a catcher in the Major Leagues with the White Sox, Yankees and Indians before spending 2000-09 on Cleveland’s MLB staff, including a 76-game run as the Tribe’s interim skipper in 2002.
- Hitting coach Charlie Poe returns to Winston-Salem, while Jose Bautista takes over the role of pitching coach from J.R. Perdew, who is now in Double-A Birmingham. Bautista made 312 appearances with five MLB clubs from 1988-97. Three-time CL Athletic Trainer of the Year Josh Fallin and new strength and conditioning coach George Timke round out the Dash’s 2016 staff.
- Of the top 30 prospects in the White Sox system according to MLB Pipeline, five of them will start the season in Winston-Salem, and all are pitchers. Right-hander Spencer Adams is the top farmhand on the roster and the third-best in the organization, behind only righty Carson Fulmer and shortstop Tim Anderson. Jordan Stephens (13th), Thad Lowry (21st), Danny Dopico (26th) and Andre Wheeler (30th) round out the talented group of prospect pitchers.
- The 19-year-old Adams will take the mound for his first professional Opening Day start. Adams went 9-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 outings with Low-A Kannapolis before a late-season jump to Winston-Salem. While with the Dash, Adams posted a 3-0 mark and a 2.15 ERA in five strong starts, one of which was a spot start in mid-July against these Hillcats (6IP, 0R). He is the youngest player (19 years, 360 days) on the Dash’s Opening Day roster by 557 days (Lowry is second at 21 years, 186 days).
- Over the last 12 seasons, Winston-Salem is 3-9 in its season opener. This also marks the eighth time in the last nine years that Winston kicks off the campaign away from home, with the lone exception in 2014 when the Dash lost to Wilmington at BB&T Ballpark.
- Only 10 of the Dash’s 25 active players have played for Winston-Salem before this season… Last season, all but seven players had been with the Dash before the year began…This is one of only two trips for the Dash to Lynchburg this season…The other does not take place until August 12-14…The Dash and Hillcats split their 16-game season series a year ago.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on 600 AM-WSJS in the Winston-Salem area, as is the case with every Thursday game throughout the season. The game is also available on wsjs.com. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:30 p.m.
-Brian and Joe
The Dash just released their Opening Day roster for 2016, so let’s take a look at who will be on the field for Winston-Salem this year:
The Headliner: RHP Spencer Adams
The Georgia native is the Dash’s marquee talent heading into the 2016 season. Rated the third-best prospect in the White Sox system by Baseball America and MLB.com, Adams heads into his third year of pro ball as the youngest player on Winston-Salem’s roster. While he is not even 20 yet (his birthday is April 13), the right-hander has been dazzling in his Minor League career. Between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem last season, Adams posted a 12-5 record with a 2.99 ERA in 129.1 innings.
The Familiar Backstop: C Brett Austin
A former teammate at N.C. State with White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, Austin was selected in the fourth round by Chicago back in 2014. Last season, the switch-hitting catcher was named to the 2015 South Atlantic League All-Star team during his time with Kannapolis. While he backed up Omar Narvaez down the stretch in Winston-Salem last year, Dash fans can expect to see much more of Austin in 2016.
Third Time’s a Charm: INF Nick Basto, RHP Euclides Leyer, and INF Cleuluis Rondon
All three of these players return for a third season with the Dash.
For the second straight year, Rondon is considered the best defensive infielder in the White Sox system per Baseball America. The only reason Rondon returns to Winston-Salem is because of his hitting. The Venezuela native has a career batting average of .209, and he struggled at times last season.
Basto can play several positions, and he is listed as an infielder on the Opening Day roster after logging time in left field a year ago. The 22-year-old committed 17 errors in his first 42 games at third base with Winston-Salem in 2014 before getting sent to extended spring training to work on his defense. Basto only made six errors last year with the Dash in 76 games in the outfield, so it will be interesting to see how he makes the transition to the infield again.
Leyer, meanwhile, may have the most interesting career arc of the three. After five seasons with the White Sox system, Leyer joined Cincinnati’s system via the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft in 2014. However, the Reds released him less than a week before Opening Day in 2015, and the White Sox swooped in and reclaimed the talented righty, who proceeded to post a 1.93 ERA in 31 appearances in the Carolina League a year ago.
Strikeout Machines: RHP Matt Cooper and RHP Connor Walsh
Between Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem last season, Cooper amassed 76 strikeouts in 52.1 innings, to go along with a 1.55 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. The right-hander also converted 12 out of 13 save opportunities between the two levels.
His former Kannapolis teammate Connor Walsh possesses some gaudy strikeout numbers of his own. The 23-year old finished second on the Intimidators last year, behind Cooper, in strikeouts per nine innings (13.4).
The Innings Eater: RHP Thad Lowry
Every team needs a pitcher who can go deep into games, and Lowry can certainly do that. He topped the South Atlantic League last year in innings (150.2) and tied a Kannapolis record with 16 wins over a two-year span. He will join his former Kannapolis teammate Spencer Adams in the rotation.
The Sophomores: RHP Danny Dopico and RHP Jordan Stephens
Both right-handed pitchers embark on their second season in the Minor Leagues. Stephens, rated the 13th-best prospect in the White Sox organization by MLB.com, allowed only one run in 17.2 innings between the AZL White Sox and rookie-level Great Falls. Dopico spent all of last season with the Voyagers. The righty went seven for eight in save opportunities.
Slowly, but Surely: RHP Kelvis Valerio
While only 24, the Dominican native enters his sixth season in professional ball. This will be his first year at the High-A level. He recorded a 4.23 ERA in 33 appearances for Kannapolis last season.
The Southpaws: LHP Blair Walters and LHP Andre Wheeler
Both Wheeler and Walters return to the Dash for a second season, although their paths could not be more different. Wheeler pitched for the Dash last year, going 4-2 record with a 3.86 ERA in 32 outings. He was a terror against left-handed batters, holding them to a minuscule .203 batting average. He’ll continue to be a menace as long as he finds the strike zone (28 BB in 63.0 IP in 2015).
On the flip side, Walters was last with the Dash in 2012. After getting dealt to Houston midway through that season (in a deal for big leaguer Brett Myers), the left-hander has spent the past three-plus seasons in the Astros and Braves systems.
The Newcomers: INF Marcus Davis, RHP Colin Kleven, RHP Manny Martinez, INF Gerson Montilla, C Chris O’Dowd
All five of these players signed with the White Sox prior to the season, after playing with previous organizations. Kleven and Martinez both spent time in the Phillies system last season, while Davis and Montilla played in the Padres and Diamondbacks organizations, respectively.
O’Dowd comes over to the White Sox after playing in the Padres, Rockies, and Braves systems. He is the son of longtime Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd.
Second Year, Second Team: OF Hunter Jones and RHP Nolan Sanburn
Both Jones and Sanburn were drafted by other organizations, but they begin their second season in the White Sox system in 2016.
In August of 2014, Oakland traded Sanburn to the White Sox for slugger Adam Dunn. A former second-round pick out of the University of Arkansas, the right-hander battled through some arm injuries and was limited to 22 outings with Double-A Birmingham last season. He has posted just under a strikeout per inning in his career (138 SO in 140 IP).
Jones provides some much-needed depth in the outfield. Originally drafted in the 11th round by the Indians in 2010, the 24-year old is one of only four outfielders on the Dash’s Opening Day roster.
Rounding Out The Infield: INF Ryan Leonards, INF Toby Thomas
Leonards brings some positional versatility to the Dash’s roster. The Louisiana native played second base, shortstop and third base while with Kannapolis and Double-A Birmingham last season. Thomas comes back for a second go-around with the Dash. In 30 games with Winston-Salem in 2015, the former 21st-round pick hit .216 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.
2014 Draftees in the Outfield: OF Michael Danner, OF Louie Lechich, OF Mason Robbins
Three out of the four outfielders on this year’s roster were selected in the 2014 Draft. Robbins (25th round) and Lechich (6th round) will make their debut with the Dash in 2016, after spending all last year with Kannapolis. Danner (34th round) returns to Winston-Salem after a short stint with the club in 2015. He hit .319 in 69 at-bats for the Dash and started all three games in the Southern Division Championship Series against Myrtle Beach.
These 25 men will hit the road for Lynchburg on Thursday for the season opener. Stay tuned for more coverage, including the Dash’s starting rotation, here on the Dash Board Blog.
Today is February 16. Opening Night at BB&T Ballpark is April 16.
With those two months to go, the ballpark is buzzing with activity, as is Glendale, Ariz., the site of White Sox Spring Training.
Sox pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training on Friday, while the first full-team workout is next Tuesday, February 24.
There are many former Winston-Salem stars who will be focal points of Spring Training, whether they are trying to grab the attention of the big league club or even attempting to break camp with the team. Scott Merkin, the excellent beat writer on WhiteSox.com, compiled a list of potential impact prospects for the club in 2015. Through this list, it is very clear that the White Sox farm system is the strongest it has been in several years.
The impact from some of those players will come within the Minor Leagues, but Jim Callis expands upon those who could register important time in Chicago.
Second base is the most important and intriguing Spring Training battle, and it likely features a pair of former Winston-Salem studs. Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson are about as even as two young players can be at this stage in regards to a starting slot in the big leagues. Both are within the top 10 of every White Sox prospect list. Both have skills that tantalize and flaws that worry the White Sox.
If you are a fan of defense, then Sanchez is the candidate for you. However, if you are looking for offensive upside, Johnson will gain your vote. It will be a fascinating debate that may stretch into April.
Both of those men have already reported to Glendale, along with some other notable names. Per this report from Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago, around 25 players have already arrived to Spring Training.
This group includes left-hander Carlos Rodon, who has already been in Glendale for more than a week, Courtney Hawkins, Jared Mitchell, Keenyn Walker and reigning American League Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu.
The vibes around the organization are as positive and optimistic as they have been in the last few years, and the fun begins in Arizona shortly.
Stay tuned to the blog for more updates as Spring Training rolls along.
After a long winter, Dash fans were excited to have baseball back in the Triad! Despite the 3-1 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Opening Night, many in the big crowd of 5,297 at BB&T Ballpark — as well as those who couldn’t be at the game — showed their love for the Dash on Twitter and Instagram.
— Mount Tabor Bands (@MountTaborBands) April 3, 2014
— Lauren Carroll (@LCarrollWSJ) April 3, 2014
Finally opening day @WSDashBaseball ! Play ball! Go Dash!
— Zachary Medlin (@Zbizzle911) April 3, 2014
— Brian Formica (@BrianFormica) April 3, 2014
— Spencer D. Turkin (@Turkin35) April 3, 2014
— Mo Banks (@MoBanks4Lyf) April 3, 2014
— Leilani Lalabalavu (@LeilaniILala) April 3, 2014
— Maria Vasquez (@ChicaVasquez) April 3, 2014
— Tiffany Ivester (@InLuvWanAngel) April 3, 2014
— Jarred Gomez (@EwokKing87) April 4, 2014
— Erik Weasenforth (@eweasenf) April 4, 2014
— Cheryl LuQuire (@CherylLuQuire) April 4, 2014
— Peter Stratta (@peterstratta) April 4, 2014
— Anthony Tang (@anthonymtang) April 4, 2014
A special thanks to everyone who showed their support through social media. We look forward to interacting with you all season! Baseball returns to BB&T Ballpark tonight at 7 p.m. for game two of the four-game series against Wilmington.
With Opening Day arriving on Thursday, the Dash roster has officially been released. Some of the names and faces will be familiar, while others are getting their first look with the Dash. It’s time to take a look at how these 25 Dash players will mesh together.
THE TOP PROSPECT:
SS Tim Anderson
Anderson was drafted 17th overall by the White Sox in 2013, and he’s considered the third-best prospect in the White Sox system by Baseball America. Last year in Low-A Kannapolis, Anderson batted .277 with 21 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. The 20-year-old will experience a 140-game schedule for the first time this season.
OTHER RANKED FARMHANDS:
OF Courtney Hawkins, OF Jacob May, 1B Keon Barnum, RHP Braulio Ortiz, RHP Brad Goldberg
In addition to Anderson, there are six other players who appear in Baseball America’s Top 30 prospect list. Hawkins (sixth) slugged 19 home runs with the Dash last season, but also led the Carolina League in strikeouts with 160. It will be interesting to see what adjustments the former first-round pick will make for 2014.
May (10th) arrives in Winston-Salem with a family background in baseball. His father, Lee Jr., played in the minor leagues for eight seasons, while his grandfather, Lee Sr., hit 354 home runs over 18 Major League seasons.
Barnum (15th) needs to stay healthy for a full evaluation. His 2013 season with Low-A Kannapolis didn’t begin until June because of surgery on his right hand, and he spent two weeks in August on the disabled list with a concussion.
Ortiz (21st) made his U.S. debut last year after spending two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. After starting 2013 with Low-A Kannapolis, the 22-year-old pitched in six games with the Dash, posting a 6.91 ERA while averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
Goldberg (29th) was a 10th round draft pick in 2013 who pitched with short-season Great Falls, Low-A Kannapolis and the Dash last season. He compiled a 3-0 record, three saves and a 1.54 ERA in 16 appearances.
RHP Bryan Blough, LHP Jarrett Casey, RHP Brandon Hardin, RHP Mike Recchia, RHP J.B. Wendelken
Pitching coach J.R. Perdew’s staff led the Carolina League in shutouts and finished second in complete games in 2013, and a handful of players will return to the mix this season.
Blough tied for the league lead in wins last season (11), while topping the Carolina League in innings pitched (172.2). A 24-year-old Georgia native who made his Dash debut in 2012, Blough will start 2014 in the bullpen.
Casey appeared in a combined 37 games with the Dash and Double-A Birmingham in 2013, garnering a 2-4 record with one save and a 3.61 ERA. The 26-year-old is one of two lefties projected for the Dash bullpen.
Hardin tallied six saves and a 3.81 ERA with the Dash last season, after starting the year in Low-A Kannapolis. He was drafted by the White Sox in the 10th round in 2012.
Recchia went unbeaten in 2013, winning five games with Low-A Kannapolis before earning one victory with the Dash. The 25-year-old signed with the White Sox last June.
Wendelken started the 2013 season in the Red Sox organization before a trade that sent Jake Peavy from the White Sox to Boston. Wendelken pitched in six games with the Dash last year, going 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA. He will become a starter for the first time in his professional career this year.
THE COMEBACK CANDIDATE:
RHP Terance Marin
Last season, Marin struggled with the Dash, going 5-5 with a 4.76 ERA in 33 appearances. Prior to that, he boasted a career minor league ERA of 2.18. Will the 24-year-old veteran of four professional seasons bounce back in 2014?
CALLING THE GAME:
C Michael Marjama, C Martin Medina
The Dash feature two catchers on this year’s Opening Day roster, both of whom were drafted by the White Sox in 2011. Marjama comes to Winston-Salem after spending 2013 with Low-A Kannapolis, where he hit .277 with six home runs. He’s a 24-year-old native of California.
Medina was with the Dash for the entire 2013 season, hitting .211 in 55 games. The 24-year-old also hails from California, where he holds the Cal State Bakersfield record for RBIs in a season (55).
RHP Tony Bucciferro, RHP Kyle Hansen, RHP Zach Isler, RHP Euclides Leyer, LHP Jefferson Olacio
All of these pitchers spent either part or all of 2013 with the Low-A Kannapolis Intimidators.
Bucciferro has tremendous control, walking only six batters while striking out 96 in 90.2 innings last season in Bristol and Kannapolis.
Hansen started 20 games with the Intimidators last year, posting a 4.10 ERA while striking out 103 batters in 96.2 innings. He’s in the mix for a bullpen slot with the Dash in 2014.
Isler appeared in 27 games with Kannapolis in 2013, earning four saves while garnering a 5.65 ERA. He’ll look for more consistency in Winston-Salem this season.
Leyer pitched in 28 games with the Intimidators last year, making 20 starts. He was second on the team in innings pitched (113.1). The Dominican Republic native signed with the White Sox when he was 17-years-old.
Olacio is also from the Dominican Republic, and he led Kannapolis in innings pitched with 136.2. He threw very well after the All-Star Break last season and hopes to carry that momentum to Winston-Salem.
BACK FOR MORE:
INF Grant Buckner, INF Joey DeMichele, OF Adam Heisler
These position players were all with the Dash at some point last season, and they return to Winston-Salem in 2014.
Buckner hit .254 with 10 home runs in 119 games with the Dash in 2013. He set the Dash-era record with 7 RBIs in one game vs. Carolina last June.
DeMichele holds the Dash record for doubles in one season, hitting 37 in 2013. He also slugged the first walk-off grand slam in BB&T Ballpark history against Myrtle Beach last August.
Heisler was a 2013 MiLB.com Organization All-Star, hitting a combined .273 with Winston-Salem, Low-A Kannapolis and Triple-A Charlotte.
NEW TO THE MIX:
OF Jason Coats, INF Michael Johnson
Coats tied for second in the South Atlantic League in RBIs last season, with 84. He also led Low-A Kannapolis in home runs (12) and games played (133).
Johnson actually played in a handful of games with the Dash in 2012, but spent all of last season with Low-A Kannapolis, where he hit a career-high .286 in 70 games.
INF Nick Basto
Basto, who just turned 20 on Tuesday, is the youngest player on the Dash Opening Day roster. He had an 11-game hitting streak with short-season Great Falls before moving to Low-A Kannapolis for the rest of 2013.
There you have it, the 25 players on your 2014 Winston-Salem Dash roster for Opening Day. Who will live up to expectations? Who will surprise? We will begin to find out on Thursday night at BB&T Ballpark against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
The Dash’s 2014 schedule was made public Tuesday, and the 140-game journey will be an exciting one. However, all schedules feature some games that soar above the rest. Here are the top five games of the upcoming slate, which begins in 154 days.
1. Opening Day – April 3 vs. Wilmington
For the first time in BB&T Ballpark history, the Dash will begin their season at home. Winston-Salem meets the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the first of a four-game set on Thursday, April 3. This franchise has not begun a season with a home game since the Warthogs kicked off the 2007 campaign with a seven-game homestand.
Opening Day is always special in the Triad, but it will be even more unique to see the season begin here at BB&T Ballpark. Over the last two seasons, the Dash suffered consecutive nine-run defeats at Carolina to begin the season. This year, the club will enjoy a fresh start in the friendly confides of BB&T Ballpark.
2. Fourth of July game – July 4 vs. Wilmington
The Blue Rocks will be back in town for the other landmark game of the Dash’s schedule. The Fourth of July always attracts one of the best crowds of the season, and this year’s game promises to be huge because it lands on a Friday night.
In 2013, the Dash set a BB&T Ballpark record with a crowd of 7,576 on July 4. Can Winston-Salem top this impressive number next summer? If one game can draw that type of crowd, it is this one. You will not want to miss it.
3. The champs come to town – April 18 vs. Salem
The Salem Red Sox climbed to the top of the Carolina League in 2013 with a strong second-half surge. Winston will have quite a say in how Salem’s repeat bid begins. The Dash and Sox will meet 11 times in the first 27 days of the campaign.
Salem’s first trip to Winston comes in the form of a four-game wraparound weekend set from April 18-21. This series also includes Easter Sunday, so it should be a jam-packed four days as the Dash attempt to reclaim their hold on the Southern Division’s top spot.
4. Southern Division rivalry week begins – July 7 vs. Myrtle Beach
Since Winston-Salem’s nickname change prior to the 2009 season, the two best teams in the Southern Division have been the Dash and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Myrtle is the only CL club that has qualified for the postseason in three straight seasons.
From July 7-18, the Dash will host the Pelicans seven times, while the full month of July features 10 battles between two squads that always seem to be contenders. The second half race will start to take shape when the Birds and Dash get comfortable with each other in the Triad in July.
5. First-half finale – June 15 at Potomac
Over the last five seasons, Winston-Salem has claimed three first-half division crowns, while last year’s Dash bunch had a chance at the title until the second-to-last day of the half.
If Winston wants to clinch a playoff spot in June, the squad may need to go through Potomac, who was the best team on the circuit in the regular season a year ago. Meaningful baseball is the best kind of baseball, and we are hoping for some in Woodbridge next June.
For a printable version of the Dash’s 2014 schedule, click here. Hope you have a happy Halloween tonight! Enjoy the candy.
The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, but can a series of tweets of 140 characters also tell a story? We think so! We used fan’s tweets to retell the story of how the Dash lost their home opener against the Carolina Mudcats 9-7 in front of 6,963 spectators.
— Brian Formica (@BrianFormica) April 12, 2013
Home opener today lets get it!!!!!!
— Courtney Hawkins (@CHawkins10) April 12, 2013
Opening night for the @wsdashbaseball. Blessed to have professional baseball & a beautiful ballpark in my hometown.
— Jonathan (@The_LuckiestMan) April 12, 2013
During the game:
Kevan Smith hit his 1st HR of the season for High A Winston Salem #WhiteSox
— Minor League Scoop (@MILBScoop) April 13, 2013
— Kelly R (@KellyofNC) April 13, 2013
Courtney Hawkins hits a homerun every game.That guy is a beast.
— Alexa Scimone (@alexascimone) April 13, 2013
Courtney Hawkins is officially HOT for Winston Salem right now. Belted his 3rd HR of the season tonight #WhiteSox
— Minor League Scoop (@MILBScoop) April 13, 2013
The @carolinamudcats carry a 4-3 lead to the 4th in Winston-Salem. The Dash have scored on a pair of home runs so far.
— Darren Headrick (@Darren_Headrick) April 13, 2013
— staci saleeby (@staeshee) April 13, 2013
— Ken McDowell (@morpheusxp) April 13, 2013
— Redeemer School (@RedeemerGoRams) April 13, 2013
Despite a tremendous crowd of 6,963 at BB&T Ballpark, the Dash drop their home opener to Carolina 9-7. Back at it Saturday at 7 p.m.
— Winston-Salem Dash (@WSDashBaseball) April 13, 2013
driving towards downtown Winston, watching fireworks from the baseball field, and blasting dubstep hahahaha this is wild
— Tyler Osborne (@_TylerOsborne_) April 13, 2013
— Jon (@Lucas8429) April 13, 2013
— Winston-SalemJournal (@JournalNow) April 13, 2013
Thanks to all the great fans who came out to pack BB&T Ballpark last night! Game two of the series is tonight at 7. Watch us live on My 48 or listen to us at wsdash.com/broadcast starting at 6:45 p.m.
-Erika and Curt
If you follow the Dash on Twitter and Instagram (and if you don’t…what are you waiting for?), you already know that we have been counting down the days until Opening Day at BB&T Ballpark. Finally, that countdown has reached one, with Opening Day tomorrow night at 7 against Carolina. Here are some of the notable numbers from the countdown.
100: The countdown began with this picture on a fairly nice day in early January, 100 days from Opening Day.
88: At the 88 day mark, we highlighted last year’s Carolina League MVP Dan Black, who posted 88 RBIs for the Dash in 2012.
72: On July 4th, 2012, the Dash welcomed a single-game record 7,285 fans into BB&T Ballpark for their game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
55: Coming into this season, the Dash have posted a winning percentage of .554 (317-255) in the regular season and playoffs since they became the Dash prior to the 2009 season.
38: Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins played 38 games for the Bristol White Sox before earning a promotion to Kannapolis and later to Winston-Salem for the end of the regular season and Carolina League playoffs.
25: Twice in the last two seasons, the Dash have been 25 games above .500 at BB&T Ballpark. In 2010, they were 47-22, and last season the club went 48-23.
21: Last year, the Dash’s #21, Kevan Smith, hit two home runs in the Carolina League playoffs, including a grand slam in the deciding game of the SDCS against Myrtle Beach.
9: BB&T Ballpark has hosted nine playoff games since it opened in 2010. The Dash have a record of 6-3 in those games.
5: The Dash had five postseason Carolina League All-Stars last season; Dan Black, Michael Earley, Carlos Sanchez, Brady Shoemaker and Trayce Thompson.
1: We have the number one fans in Minor League Baseball. Since opening BB&T Ballpark, almost one million fans have seen a Dash game in the Triad. Our total attendance since 2010 is the tops in High-A baseball. Our final countdown went out to all of you.
Tomorrow night, BB&T Ballpark opens it gates for the first time in 2013 as the Dash take on the Carolina Mudcats at 7! But before we get to that, the Dash have one more in Frederick tonight. Join Brian for the Pregame Dash at 6:45 here.
The Dash announced their 2013 Opening Day roster Tuesday, and we broke down the entire roster yesterday on the blog. It features 13 players who have previously played in Winston-Salem, seven of whom are pitchers.
Four of those seven men will be in the Dash’s initial starting rotation, which looks like this for the first five games of the season.
OPENING DAY STARTING ROTATION:
Friday at Carolina: RHP Bryan Blough
Saturday at Carolina: RHP Chris Bassitt
Sunday at Carolina: RHP Chris Beck
Tuesday at Frederick: RHP Terance Marin
Wednesday at Frederick: RHP Justin Collop
This is a unique quintet from a statistical standpoint. The Dash’s Opening Day rotation has combined for 310 career minor league appearances but only 77 starts.
If you throw out Collop’s 55 starts in 93 appearances, the other four hurlers have combined for just 22 minor league starts. Thus, 80 percent of the Dash’s rotation has started a combined 10 percent of their minor league games.
Blough started six times for Low-A Kannapolis in the second half of 2012 before rejoining the Dash’s bullpen for the stretch run. He will take the ball for the Dash in the season opener Friday night after posting a 2-0 record with a 3.93 ERA in Winston-Salem a year ago.
The rotation plays out such that Bassitt is in line to receive the start for the Dash’s Home Opener Friday, April 12. Bassitt never started at the University of Akron or professionally until the second half of 2012 in the CL. He went 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 10 regular season starts. The righty then turned in his best professional outing in the SDCS-clinching win September 7 with seven scoreless innings in a 9-0 victory.
Beck enters the season as the top pitching prospect on the Dash’s roster, according to Baseball America. The Georgia native went 4-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 15 appearances (six starts) with rookie-level Great Falls last summer. He was the White Sox second-round pick last June.
A reliever for his entire minor league career, Marin shifts into the rotation for 2013. In 77 career appearances, Marin boasts a 2.18 ERA. His work in Winston-Salem last season was comparable (2.42 ERA in 33 efforts), but it came as a reliever. It will be fun to watch Marin’s transition.
Collop is the veteran starter of the bunch, with 16 of his 31 appearances last year coming in a starting role. In his High-A career, the former University of Toledo righty is 11-7 with a 4.17 ERA. Last season, he led the Dash in innings pitched (121.0) and shared the team lead in wins (9).
For those coming out to the first series of the home slate next weekend, you will likely see Bassitt, Beck and Marin, in that order. Everyone will get a chance to pitch at BB&T Ballpark during the Dash’s eight-game homestand from April 18-25.
One of the final steps before the Dash’s season can begin is the release of the Opening Day roster, which happened today. Dash fans know about some of these 25 players, while others will suit up for Winston-Salem for the first time Friday at Carolina. Let’s take a look at all of these players and how they fit within the roster.
The top prospect:
OF Courtney Hawkins
No White Sox prospect will draw as much attention as Hawkins will during the 2013 season. Chicago’s first-round pick 10 months ago, Hawkins hit three homers and drove in seven runs in 12 High-A games last season. He will likely get a longer look at this level while trying to live up to the billing of being the Sox top prospect and one of the top 100 players in the minors.
The other ranked farmhands:
RHP Chris Beck, INF Joey DeMichele & C Kevan Smith
In addition to Hawkins’ place atop Baseball America’s White Sox prospect rankings, three other players who will open the season with Winston-Salem found themselves on the publication’s Top 30 list. Beck (10th) makes the jump from short-season Great Falls, while DeMichele (24th) is a player that many believe can climb the minor league ladder quickly. Most Dash fans remember Smith (27th) and his big grand slam in the SDCS-clinching win over Myrtle Beach last season. He will likely receive the majority of the playing time available behind the plate.
The returning hurlers:
RHP J.R. Ballinger, RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP Bryan Blough, RHP Justin Collop, RHP Terance Marin, LHP Max Peterson & RHP Steven Upchurch
The Dash’s pitching staff was one of the best in the Carolina League last season, and more than half of the Dash’s Opening Day pitchers suited up for Winston-Salem at some point last season. Pitching coach J.R. Perdew also returns after the tremendous 2012 season. All seven of these pitchers have had success at this level, which bodes well for the Dash in 2013.
The “prove it” player:
INF David Herbek
Herbek’s 2012 season was unique. He hit just .214 in 43 games with Low-A Kannapolis, but the White Sox moved him up to Winston-Salem in late June. The Virginia native responded by swinging at a .313 clip in 47 games. Herbek figures to see significant time with the Dash, so will he be closer to his Kannapolis form or his Winston-Salem self? You have to like his chances to be a scary hitter on this circuit like he was down the stretch a year ago.
The new White Sox:
RHP Jeremy Erben, OF Nick Giarraputo & INF Mark Tracy
Three men on the 25-man roster were not with the organization last season. The White Sox signed Erben in spring training, just a few days after Arizona released him. Giarraputo is back in affiliated baseball after three seasons on the independent circuit. Tracy joined the Sox organization following a trade with Colorado. Former Dash outfielder Kenny Williams, Jr., was shipped to the Rockies in that deal. This trio will be hungry to contribute early on as White Sox farmhands.
INF Chris Curley, OF Mark Haddow & OF Billy Rice
These three men all joined Winston-Salem at some point last season, but the threesome combined for only 11 regular season games with the Dash. Curley shined in the final week of the regular season before hitting .500 in the CL postseason, while Haddow and Rice struggled a bit in their limited at-bats after playing well for Low-A Kannapolis. How will these three swingers adjust to a prolonged stay in the Triad? That answer may dictate how effective the offense will be this season.
The Kannapolis kids:
INF Grant Buckner, LHP Jarrett Casey, INF Joe De Pinto & RHP Daniel Webb
These four players spent most or all of their 2012 seasons with Low-A Kannapolis. The jump from Low-A to High-A is not an easy one, but all four of these men will get the chance to do it following spring training.
The catching couple:
C Martin Medina & C Brent Tanner
With Smith in the fold, how will skipper Ryan Newman find playing time for these two backstops? Both Medina and Tanner have shown promise in the minors, but there is only so many at-bats to go around. Last season, the Dash rarely had three catchers on the roster, so this will be a challenge for Newman and hitting coach Rob Sasser.
The comeback candidate:
RHP Cody Winiarski
Winiarski missed all of last season with a back injury, and he only has 17 career minor league efforts under his belt. Last season, Kyle Bellamy returned from a season-long injury to shine with Winston before heading to Double-A. Winiarski will look to do the same for the Dash in 2013.
Hopefully this gives you some more insight on the first roster for the Dash in 2013. The season is three days away, and we will have plenty more coverage leading up to Friday’s season opener here on the Dash Board.