Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’

Fans Welcome Baseball Back to Winston-Salem

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.

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.

- Dave

Breaking down the 2014 Dash

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

First rounder Tim Anderson will start his first full professional season in Winston-Salem (Ray Marsden).

First rounder Tim Anderson will start his first full professional season in Winston-Salem (Ray Marsden).

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.

RETURNING PITCHERS:

RHP Bryan Blough, LHP Jarrett Casey, RHP Brandon Hardin, RHP Mike Recchia, RHP J.B. Wendelken

Bryan Blough returns to the Dash as a reliever in 2014 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Bryan Blough returns to the Dash as a reliever in 2014 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

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).

INTIMIDATING ARMS:

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

Grant Buckner will bring his versatility back to the Triad for 2014 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Grant Buckner will bring his versatility back to the Triad for 2014 (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

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.

THE KID:

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.

- Dave

Highlights of 2014 schedule

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For the first time, BB&T Ballpark will host the Dash’s first game of 2014.

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.

- Brian

2013 Home Opener Through Tweets

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.

Pregame:

During the game:

Postgame:

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

One day away

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.

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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.

Dash fans set a single-game attendance record for BB&T Ballpark on July 4, 2012.

Dash fans set a single-game attendance record for BB&T Ballpark on July 4, 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.

Kevan Smith hit two huge home runs in the 2012 CL playoffs (Dan Barber/W-S Dash).

Kevan Smith hit two huge home runs in the 2012 CL playoffs (Dan Barber/W-S Dash).

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.

- Rob

Returning righties highlight rotation

Terance Marin's first career minor league start is scheduled for Tuesday (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Terance Marin’s first career minor league start is scheduled for Tuesday (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

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.

- Brian

Opening Day roster breakdown

Top prospect Courtney Hawkins will receive plenty of attention in 2013 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Top prospect Courtney Hawkins will receive plenty of attention in 2013 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

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.

David Herbek shined following a midseason promotion to High-A (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

David Herbek shined following a midseason promotion to the Carolina League (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

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.

The acquaintances:
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.

How will the catching duties be split among Kevan Smith, Martin Medina and Brent Tanner? (Dan Barber/W-S Dash).

How will the catching duties be split among Kevan Smith, Martin Medina and Brent Tanner? (Dan Barber/W-S Dash).

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.

- Brian

30 Days…

Camelback Ranch is almost open for business (Photo via TCPalm.com).

Camelback Ranch is almost open for business (Photo via TCPalm.com).

The Dash’s home opener countdown, which is available on Twitter and Instagram, has reached 78 days. If you want a smaller number for your baseball waiting game, try 30.

The White Sox first spring training game is in 30 days. Robin Ventura’s crew will suit up for the first time Saturday, February 23, at 3:05 p.m. EST against the Dodgers, their stadium-mates at Camelback Ranch.

As Winston-Salem prepares for another winter storm tomorrow, it is nice to know that baseball is within grasp, even if the first true taste will be more than 2,000 miles away from the Triad.

Here are a few more notes to appease your baseball craving:

  • BB&T Ballpark is the home of Winston-Salem State University baseball in 2013, so the first game at the stadium this season will be February 8. The Rams will play all 26 home games at BB&T Ballpark.
  • Winston-Salem will not have a chance to watch a former five-star football recruit play for the Dash in 2013. Mitch Mustain, who played college football for Arkansas and USC before trying out pitching, was released by the White Sox, that according to Baseball America. Mustain climbed as high as Low-A Kannapolis after Chicago inked him to a deal last February. Between his time with the Intimidators and rookie-level Bristol, the righty was 2-2 with a 4.63 earned run average in 19 relief appearances.
  • We all saw speedster Billy Hamilton in last year’s All-Star Game at BB&T Ballpark. Hamilton, who set the single-season stolen base record in minor league baseball, will start 2013 with Triple-A Louisville. If he is still in the International League, Hamilton will be in Charlotte to take on the White Sox Triple-A affiliate May 14-17.
  • The Braves traded for Arizona outfielder Justin Upton earlier today, and the Diamondbacks received 2012 Lynchburg shortstop Nick Ahmed. A midseason All-Star, Ahmed paced the Carolina League with 40 stolen bases.
  • Finally, some CL flavor is officially reaching the NBA. New Orleans will unveil its new Pelicans nickname, along with the logo and color scheme, at a press conference later today. How will Myrtle Beach respond?

The home opener is getting closer and closer! Can’t wait for baseball.

- Brian

Thursday News And Notes

Bobby Thigpen spent three years in Winston-Salem before his recent promotion to the White Sox coaching staff (Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film).

December is almost here, so the Dash front office is busy spreading holiday joy, hanging out with Santa and gearing up for the holiday season. With 2013 approaching, big league organizations are making some important decisions for the upcoming season. Here are a few notes to quench your baseball thirst on a Thursday afternoon:

  • Congrats to Bobby Thigpen, who will join the White Sox staff as the bullpen coach. Thiggy was the Dash’s pitching coach from 2009-11 before spending this season with Double-A Birmingham in the same role. Thigpen was certainly a fan favorite here in Winston-Salem, and Chicago skipper Robin Ventura has known him for his entire career.
  • The Sox also announced that Daryl Boston, who spent 12 seasons as the organization’s outfield instructor, will join the big league staff in 2013 as the first base coach. Boston made a handful of stops in Winston-Salem this season, and it was good to occasionally chat with him. Congrats to him, too.
  • The only Carolina League team to announce its field staff for 2013 is the Carolina Mudcats, who will have a new look when the Dash open the campaign in Zebulon April 5. David Wallace becomes the Muddies’ manager after guiding Lake County, the Indians’ Low-A affiliate, to the playoffs this season. Hitting coach Rouglas Odor and pitching coach Jeff Harris will accompany Wallace, who replaces 2012 skipper Edwin Rodriguez. The former Marlins boss will lead Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate in Akron.
  • The White Sox have yet to announce their minor league staff assignments for 2013, but this news should be released soon. Last year, Dash fans learned that Tommy Thompson was Winston-Salem’s 2012 manager in mid-November, while the 2011 staff decisions were made public a few days before Christmas.
  • Earlier this week, the BBWAA released the 37-man ballot for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. More than 600 voters have until December 31 to submit their vote, and some notable (and controversial) names are on the list. A few players linked to performance-enhancing drugs (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa) will prompt many debates on the standards to reach the Hall of Fame. It should be fascinating to watch.

The Dash’s season opener is only 127 days away. We can’t wait!

- Brian

2013 Schedule Analysis (First Half)

The Dash have the best home record in full-season minor league baseball since 2010.

The Dash released their 2013 schedule today, which is one of the first signs of baseball’s return during the long offseason. You can check out the entire schedule here.

There are many marquee matchups throughout the season, and I highlight five parts of the first half schedule below.

  • April 5 at Carolina: The Dash kick off their 2013 campaign in Zebulon against a Mudcats squad that didn’t like Winston-Salem. The feeling was mutual. These two teams had some memorable battles (and a few fights) a year ago, and both teams figure to have a strong squad, especially in the first half. These two teams could be the cream of the crop in the Southern Division in 2013.
  • April 12 v. Carolina: Once again, the Mudcats will be the opponent when the Dash kick off their home slate one week after opening their season at Five County Stadium. Winston-Salem went 48-23 at BB&T Ballpark, which was good for the best home mark in the minors in 2012. Last season, the Dash claimed their home opener over the Muddies 1-0.
  • April 22-25 v. Lynchburg: Winston-Salem finished two wins shy of what would’ve been a perfect season. The Dash won both the first- and second-half division titles, hosted the All-Star Game, posted minor league baseball’s best record and went to the Mills Cup Championship Series. The Lynchburg Hillcats prevented the Dash from finishing off the clean sweep in 2012. The ‘Cats bested Winston three games to one in the Mills Cup Finals. Both teams will look much different when they square off for the first time in 2013, but there will be plenty of carryovers from that thrilling Mills Cup Finals to make this late-April clash one of the season’s most intriguing sets.
  • May 27 v. Frederick: Memorial Day is always a great holiday during the baseball season, and the Dash will celebrate it at BB&T Ballpark for a third straight year. Winston entertains the Mills Cup champs from 2011 this time around, and the Keys always tend to have a highly-touted prospect in the fold.
  • June 13-16 at Wilmington: Once again, the Dash conclude the first half in Wilmington, the site of the club’s first-half clinch last season. If the Dash are in contention for a first-half crown in ’13, it will likely come down to this final set in the First State. Here’s hoping a new crop of White Sox prospects will be celebrating in the visiting clubhouse at Frawley Stadium in seven-and-a-half months.

Stay tuned for our breakdown of the second half tomorrow! Only 154 more days until the season opener in Zebulon. Since we now know the schedule, the countdown can officially begin.

- Brian

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