Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Business-like on and off the field


Connor Walsh has shined as a reliever with Winston-Salem. He hopes to do the same with the app Bike Pass (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

For just a few minutes, Connor Walsh turned the dugout of BB&T Ballpark into his personal office.

Fresh off a hitless relief outing the night before, the Winston-Salem pitcher shared off-the-field plans for his bike sharing business, Bike Pass.

He spoke articulately, as if he should be in a blazer in a conference room rather than a Dash jersey in the dugout of a baseball field. And he comes by the persona honestly, as an entrepreneurship major from the University of Cincinnati.

After Walsh’s junior year at Cincinnati, in the midst of signing with the White Sox in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball Draft, he approached his friend Adam Chain about a business proposal. But Chain, whom Walsh describes as “very driven” and “risk-taking,” countered with his own, different idea.

And with that, Bike Pass was born between old hometown friends from Pennsylvania.

“I believed in him, believe in the concept, and I wanted a little business experience,” Walsh said.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 4.13.00 PM

Bike Pass is the brainchild of Walsh and his close friend Adam Chain (photo via Bike Pass).

The bike sharing system works like this: there are docking stations or stores for various bikes. At the stations, the bike sharer can pick up a bike and ride it to his destination. When the bike’s not in use, it’s locked into the docking station outside the building.

There are other establishments similar to Bike Pass–City Bike and Red Bike for example–but Walsh and his partners intend to stand out by eliminating the stations with an app. The businessman emerges as Walsh describes the advantages of the removal with two words: resourceful and convenient.

“It would be so much easier,” Walsh said, “if you take a bike off a telephone pole or an accessible landmark, wherever it may be, drive it wherever you want, and you lock it up wherever you want.”

He compares the app to the popular transportation service Uber, as it uses a map system informing the user of available bikes.

As the website dictates, the 220 bikes that Bike Pass divvies out are about “sustainable transportation.” Chain and Walsh are determined to break into the bike sharing market to lessen pollution and maintain low prices.

He loves talking about his business plan, he says–most of the Dash team has listened to a very similar pitch. But this is not a production he wants his teammates to invest in. Not yet, at least.

As Walsh dips his toes into two different bodies of water, business and baseball, the two worlds could collide. Walsh sees the benefits in bike sharing at Spring Training, when the White Sox organization descends on Glendale, Ariz., to prepare for the season.

“At the end of the day, I do want to have a little project outside of it in the offseason, Walsh said, “I don’t do much in the offseason, so it’s nice to be a little preoccupied.”

Don’t mistake this for a business that’s dragging him away from baseball. He has never needed a distraction or a back-up plan from the game. There were no pressures to play or to not play baseball. To business or not to business.

The Cincinnati honor student is the player you far from worry about if baseball is not the end game, simply because he has options, like Bike Pass, outside the pitcher’s circle.

“I was very fortunate to be surrounded by a good group of core people when I was young that I didn’t have to bank on anything to fall back on because no matter what happened I knew I had support,” Walsh said.

At the moment, Walsh enjoys the investment. When the baseball season ends, he will have more time to spend on the project with Chain.

“It’s really fun to talk about because it can happen,” Walsh said. “It can actually happen.”

-Jackie Kinney

Baseball returns in…

Two months.

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, 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.

Carlos Sanchez will need to rely on his glove in order to overcome Micah Johnson and win the White Sox second base spot (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Carlos Sanchez will need to rely on his glove in order to overcome Micah Johnson and win the White Sox second base spot (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

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.

– Brian

Dash announce starting rotation

Tony Bucciferro

Tony Bucciferro is the only starter without High-A experience (Ray Marsden).

The Dash have named their five starters in advance of Thursday’s season opener against Wilmington.

Thursday vs. Wilmington: RHP J.B. Wendelken
Friday vs. Wilmington: RHP Brad Goldberg
Saturday vs. Wilmington: RHP Tony Bucciferro
Sunday vs. Wilmington: RHP Braulio Ortiz
Tuesday at Salem: RHP Mike Recchia

It’s interesting to note that while the five projected starters have a combined 206 career professional appearances, they have received the ball only 51 times to toss the opening pitch.

Bucciferro is the only pitcher in the rotation where a majority of his appearances have been starts (15 of 22). Here’s how they break down individually:

Wendelken: 0 career professional starts in 49 appearances
Goldberg: 0 career professional starts in 16 appearances
Bucciferro: 15 career professional starts in 22 appearances
Ortiz: 23 career professional starts in 50 appearances
Recchia: 13 career professional starts in 69 appearances

During the offseason and Spring Training, pitchers take part in throwing programs to prepare their arms for whatever role may be available. While inexperience stands out on the surface, these five men have been training to become starters for months.

Wendelken will take to the hill to start the 2014 season on Thursday night against Wilmington at BB&T Ballpark. The 21-year-old has tossed 100.1 innings within the Red Sox and White Sox organizations during the last two seasons, all as a reliever. Before being drafted professionally, Wendelken was the closer at Middle Georgia College, going 6-0 with nine saves and a 0.20 ERA in 2012.

Goldberg went a combined 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA in 2013, making stops in short-season Great Falls, Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. All of his 35.0 professional innings have come as a relief pitcher, but Goldberg was a successful starter in college. The 24-year-old posted a 6-1 record and 2.99 ERA during his redshirt senior season at Ohio State University in 15 starts.

Bucciferro made 15 starts with short-season Bristol and Low-A Kannapolis in 2013, posting a 4-6 record and 2.48 ERA in 90.2 innings. A notorious control pitcher, the 24-year-old walked only six batters the whole season while striking out 96. Bucciferro was drafted by the White Sox in the 14th round in 2012 out of Michigan State University, where he ranked as the all-time leader in starts and innings pitched.

Ortiz had a combined 28 appearances with Low-A Kannapolis and the Dash last season, 14 of them starts. He was a starting pitcher for all six of his games in Winston-Salem in 2013, going 1-3 with a 6.91 ERA. The 22-year-old averages nearly one strikeout per inning during his three-year professional career. Ortiz is ranked by Baseball America as the 21st-best prospect in the White Sox system.

Recchia went a combined 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA in 16 appearances with Low-A Kannapolis and the Dash in 2013, with 13 coming in a starting role. Before signing with the White Sox last June, the 25-year-old led the independent Frontier League in innings pitched, complete games and shutouts as a starter with the Windy City ThunderBolts. Recchia also made 32 starts in three seasons at Eastern Illinois University from 2008-10.

Starting pitchers can set the tone for ballgames, and time will tell whether these five Dash hurlers thrive or falter in this role. If the inexperienced starters can make the necessary adjustments, then it could be a very promising season in Winston-Salem.

– Dave

Johnson’s catch, Sale’s start and much more

The White Sox are already two weeks into their exhibition slate in Arizona, and some former Dash players are doing their best to impress the big club.

Infielder Micah Johnson is not only batting .455 and leading the team in runs scored this spring, but the 2013 Dash alum is also turning some heads with his defense. Johnson made this spectacular diving catch against the Brewers on Monday:

That catch made SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays at #4. Pretty impressive stuff.

A few former Winston-Salem hurlers are throwing well in Glendale. Southpaw Charlie Leesman has posted a 1.69 ERA in 4 Cactus League appearances, tossing 5.1 innings while striking out 5 batters. Despite those numbers, the 2010 Dash alum was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday, possibly because he has minor league options remaining on his contract. However, the strong spring showing should keep Leesman on the White Sox radar for the future.

Righty Erik Johnson has thrived in two starts this spring, garnering a 2.57 ERA while striking out 7 batters in 7.0 innings. The 2012 Dash standout is making a bid to join the White Sox rotation in 2014, and manager Robin Ventura has taken notice. “With what he did last year and so far what you see, you like what you see,” Ventura recently told CSN Chicago.

Johnson is also getting some attention for his demeanor off the mound. Check out this recent Chicago Sun-Times article for more on that, which includes comments from fellow White Sox prospect and former Dash teammate Marcus Semien.

Four years ago, Chris Sale was in Winston-Salem. On Opening Day2014 , he will be on the hill for the White Sox.

Four years ago, Chris Sale was in Winston-Salem. On Opening Day, he will be on the hill for the White Sox.

Finally, here are a few roster notes. First, the Sox have tabbed Chris Sale as their Opening Day starter for a second straight year. The 25-year-old, who made his professional debut with the Dash in 2010, says he appreciates the opportunity, per this article: “As much as you sit here and say ‘Treat it like another start,’ it’s the first one of the year and you are obviously going to be amped up for it and excited for it.”

The White Sox also made several roster moves on Wednesday involving Dash alumni. Outfielders Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson were optioned to Double-A Birmingham, while catcher Miguel Gonzalez, pitcher Scott Snodgress and outfielder Keenyn Walker were reassigned to minor league camp. This is common during Spring Training, as youngsters get a chance to work with the big club. Here’s hoping these men use their experience well while continuing to climb the minor league ladder in 2014.

– Dave

Some sights from Spring Training

The White Sox are currently playing their first exhibition game of the season, and three of the Dash’s owners–Billy Prim, Jimmy Strickland and Bryan Andrews–are in Glendale taking in the sights and sounds of Spring Training.

The view from Camelback Ranch. This is Jose Abreu’s first plate appearance as a member of the White Sox organization.


Tommy Thompson will return to Winston-Salem to lead the Dash in April. From left to right: Strickland, Thompson, Prim and Andrews.


Tim Anderson could very well start the season in the Triad. From left to right: Andrews, Prim, Anderson and Strickland.


A blast from the past! Former Dash manager Joe McEwing and pitching coach Bobby Thigpen are now with the White Sox. From left to right: Andrews, Prim, McEwing, Thigpen and Strickland.


We’ll keep you posted on the start of the White Sox exhibition slate. Have a great weekend.

– Brian

A great season Beck-ons?

Chris Beck was strong in the White Sox intrasquad game Tuesday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Beck was strong in the White Sox intrasquad game Tuesday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The White Sox first and only intrasquad game of the spring took place yesterday, and multiple players thrived. However, the non-roster invitee who stood out was 2013 Dash All-Star Chris Beck, who logged a pair of scoreless innings including a perfect first.

According to Doug Padilla of, Beck faced the minimum while squaring off with a lineup that could be very similar to the White Sox starting nine on Opening Day.

Padilla mentioned that Beck has the attention of longtime White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper:

After his solid 2013 season, Beck moved into Baseball America’s top-10 list of White Sox prospects, and pitching coach Don Cooper has often included him when talking about long shot candidates for the Opening Day rotation.

Beck is one of the smartest pitchers I have been around. The question mark around the right-hander prior to the 2012 MLB Draft was his conditioning. He worked as hard as any Dash hurler a year ago, and Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago wrote about Beck’s conditioning tweaks over the last year.

In essence, the White Sox urged Beck to work harder in the gym, and he did after he was drafted in the second round. However, he emphasized the wrong muscles and body parts. Over the last 12 months, a different program has resulted in a great deal of success for the former Georgia Southern product.

If the intelligent Beck is also feeling better about his physical condition than he ever has, then the White Sox stole him in the 2012 Draft. He has already raised some eyebrows in White Sox camp, and fans in Chicago should keep an eye on the righty.

Here are a few other notes from Glendale and beyond:

  • Jerry Crasnick of highlighted Rick Hahn’s efforts as the White Sox General Manager. It remains to be seen if all of his moves will result in success at the big league level, but most around the game feel that Hahn has done a tremendous job thus far in Chicago.
  • Happy belated birthday to Jerry Reinsdorf, the White Sox chairman, who turned 78 on Tuesday.
  • The Sox announced their 2014 promotional schedule, and a Chris Sale bobblehead is the main attraction. Check it out here.
  • Elsewhere, there is a unique study taking place at Mercyhurst University. The short version is that experts are analyzing the effectiveness of a pitch count on a pitcher’s arm. The full story is worth the read, and the results will be fascinating when they are released at some point in the next few years.

Some teams are kicking off their Spring Training schedule today. The White Sox begin on Friday! Thanks for reading.

– Brian

Spring (training) is in the air

Josh Phegley has some work to do to be Chicago's Opening Day catcher (Saul McSween/W-S Dash).

Josh Phegley has some work to do to be Chicago’s Opening Day catcher (Saul McSween/W-S Dash).

While we gear up for another temperature dip in Winston-Salem, the White Sox are chugging along in warm Glendale, Ariz., with their first spring training game just three days away. Here are some news and notes from an exciting time of the baseball calendar.

  • The White Sox first spring training game is Friday against the Dodgers, but the club will suit up for an intrasquad game later today. While many fans will pay attention to Jose Abreu’s first trip to the plate as a member of the organization, Dash fans should keep their eyes on the men throwing the pitches. Per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago, Winston-Salem alumni Chris Bassitt, Chris Beck, Andre Rienzo and Scott Snodgress will pitch two innings Tuesday. Charlie Leesman, Brian Omogrosso and Jake Petricka are also expected to pitch in the game.
  • Speaking of Bassitt, Grantland’s Jonah Keri (one of the best baseball writers out there) offered up one non-roster spring invitee for each American League organization who intrigued him, and the 2013 Carolina League All-Star was the White Sox prospect. I encourage you to check out the full article here, but here was the most interesting line: The Sox hope Bassitt has the repertoire to eventually become a back-of-the-rotation starter, and at some point this season we could see his nasty sinker in the majors.”
  • Hayes also penned a story regarding the White Sox catching situation, and Tyler Flowers has the early advantage over 2010 Dash alum Josh Phegley. Phegley, in essence, replaced Flowers as the Sox catcher after thriving with Triple-A Charlotte during last season’s first half. However, Phegley did not light it up, and Flowers is likely to get the chance to bounce back from a tough 2013.
  • Micah Johnson led Minor League Baseball in stolen bases during his three-stop 2013 in Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Kannapolis, and Scott Merkin of chatted with the likable infield prospect about the art of stealing a base. The best line? Johnson said this: “Really, it’s an art form, and it’s something you are born with. It’s an instinct you have.”
  • The Dash’s season begins in just 37 days! The schedule is set for every home and road game (along with first pitch times). I encourage you to check out our schedule downloads page, where you can equip yourself with our schedule for 2014.

We will keep you posted on the White Sox all spring long. Baseball is almost here!

– Brian

A Monday grab bag

Opening Day is a mere 80 days away, so news is picking up throughout baseball. Here are a few notes on a pleasant Monday in Winston-Salem.

  • MLB released all 30 teams’ Spring Training start dates, and the White Sox will begin on February 15 with the report date for Pitchers and Catchers. The first full squad workout will take place February 20, which is 38 days from now.
  • However, many players will migrate south much sooner. In the coming weeks, you will certainly see many tweets similar to what 2013 Dash alum Micah Johnson sent out earlier today.
  • Minor league fans are keeping their eyes peeled to discover which youngsters will receive invitations to big league Spring Training. Last season, the White Sox announced their non-roster invitees on January 10, so we should hear this news soon.
  • Unfortunately, with Spring Training on the horizon, every organization must make difficult decisions. The White Sox released eight minor leaguers, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. This list includes four valuable members of the Dash’s 2013 bullpen–right-handers J.R. Ballinger, Jeremy Erben and Jason Van Skike, and southpaw Max Peterson.
  • One of the best blogs of the 2013 season was our video on life in the bullpen from Curt Lestan. Both Peterson and Van Skike were prominent in this video, which you can view here.
  • All things considered, relievers are normally the most engaging personalities in the clubhouse. All four of these former White Sox farmhands were good pitchers and even better people. I wish them the best of luck moving forward, and I hope they latch on with another team soon.
  • Finally, thanks to all of you for reading the Dash Board. We learned last week that the Dash Board was the most popular team-specific blog in all of Minor League Baseball! We could not have done this without all of you, and we can’t wait to bring you even more content in 2014!

Happy Monday!

– 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

Sale-ing through spring training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Rob