Results tagged ‘ starting rotation ’
On the eve of the club’s season opener tomorrow in Frederick, the Dash have announced their starting rotation to begin the 2015 season:
Thursday at Frederick: RHP James Dykstra
Friday at Frederick: LHP Jace Fry
Saturday at Frederick: RHP Robinson Leyer
Sunday at Frederick: RHP Tony Bucciferro
Monday at Potomac: RHP Matt Heidenreich
That means, if all holds to form, Leyer will take the ball and start the Dash’s home opener on April 16 against Myrtle Beach.
With the exception of Fry, each member of the rotation has ample professional starting experience. Fry, who was the White Sox’s third-round pick last June, pitched seven games out of the bullpen for rookie-level Great Falls in 2014 but was primarily a starter in his three seasons at Oregon State.
The biggest strength this collection of pitchers has as a whole is the ability to pound the strike zone and avoid free passes. Leyer’s career rate of 2.9 BB/9 is technically the “worst” of the group though he still rates as above-average when compared to all professional pitchers. Even Fry issued just 2.8 BB/9 in 216.0 collegiate innings with the Beavers.
Avoiding walks is going to be key for this starting rotation because they do not strike many batters out. Dykstra and Bucciferro are the best of the group at missing bats, having each fanned 7.4 batters per nine innings over their career. Fry (6.4 K/9 in college), Leyer (5.7), and Heidenreich (6.4) are all well below average in terms of getting strikeouts.
It is important to note that the defense behind the mound is going to be crucial to this group’s success because they want to coax frequent contact. And luckily for the Dash, their defense should be able to provide excellent support for their pitching staff.
Shortstop Cleuluis Rondon was rated by Baseball America as the Best Defensive Infielder/Best Infield Arm in the entire White Sox system, and second baseman Jake Peter is also an athletic double play partner up the middle. In the outfield, Keenyn Walker, Adam Engel and C.J. Beatty all contribute the athleticism needed to chase down fly balls. Walker also brings an elite arm, having been named the Best Outfield Arm in the White Sox system by Baseball America in 2014.
Stay tuned for our preview of the season opener. We’ll have it on the blog Thursday afternoon. You can catch the action on 600 AM-WSJS and the TuneIn App.
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.
If today’s game begins on time at 11 a.m., the Dash will have had a gap of 90 hours and 24 minutes between the end of their last game and the start of this contest. This is because of the off day Monday and consecutive postponements Tuesday and Wednesday.
As a result, the Dash’s rotation gets a bit of a makeover. Spencer Arroyo will start in this morning’s double dip opener, with Jon Bachanov taking to the mound in the second game. In essence, the Dash will use a “Johnny Wholestaff” approach for the second game, but it will be Bachanov starting the game for Winston.
This weekend, three right-handers will go against the best club in the Northern Division–the Lynchburg Hillcats. Ryan Buch toes the rubber in the opener. Matt Heidenreich follows suit Saturday evening. Finally, Jake Petricka, who made his Double-A debut in a spot start Monday, will pitch the finale Sunday.
Once Monday rolls around, Winston-Salem will likely feature another bullpen games with Bachanov to get the call as of now. By Tuesday, we are back in the typical rotation with Arroyo starting for the Dash.
Bachanov takes the spot of Steve McCray, who will head to the bullpen for at least the next week.
The Dash and Keys square off at 11 a.m. I greet you on the air at 10:45 with the “Pre-Game Dash.” Hear from Dash skipper Tommy Thompson and Frederick play-by-play man Adam Pohl (who has a GREAT Tommy story) during our day-long coverage. Talk to you then.
The White Sox announced a roster move that affects the Dash earlier today. Right-handed hurler Steve McCray has joined the Dash in advance of the opener of a three-game series at Wilmington. McCray began the season with Low-A Kannapolis and posted an 0-2 record but a solid 2.30 earned run average. In 15 and two-thirds innings, the Lilburn, Ga., native surrendered four runs on ten hits. He struck out 14 and walked only three.
McCray will be the newest member of Winston-Salem’s starting rotation. His first High-A appearance and start will be in about 24 hours against Wilmington. It will be McCray’s 17th start and 41st appearance in his minor league career.
McCray takes the roster spot of righty Andre Rienzo, who was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball. This season, Rienzo was 3-0 with an ERA of 1.08 in four starts with Winston-Salem.
The Dash wrapped up their homestand with a sweep-clinching victory over Potomac last night. Trayce Thompson’s RBI single with the bases loaded in the ninth gave the Dash a 7-6 win. The club made the overnight trip north to Delaware, and Winston kicks off a seven-game road trip tonight at 7:05 from Frawley Stadium in Wilmington.
Join me on the Pre-Game Dash at 6:50 tonight to hear from Dash skipper Tommy Thompson and relive the walk-off magic last night at BB&T Ballpark. Talk to you then.