Results tagged ‘ Trayce Thompson ’

A look around the White Sox system

Each team in the system is at least 10 games into the season, so let’s spin around the organization and see how each team is doing thus far this season.

MLB: Chicago White Sox (7-6)

Former Dash star Jordan Danks (right) is ready to fill in for Avisail Garcia in the White Sox outfield (photo via chicagonow.com).

Former Dash star Jordan Danks (right) is ready to fill in for Avisail Garcia in the White Sox outfield (photo via chicagonow.com).

Chris Sale improved to 3-0 this season after Friday’s outing against the Indians, but the White Sox bats played a big role in the outcome. Sale grinded through five innings, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out five. The ace spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times following his start.

Infielder Marcus Semien has played well of late, recording hits in nine of his last ten games. Among those was this solo homer on Sunday against Cleveland:

In this whitesox.com article, learn more about Erik Johnson’s standing in the Chicago pitching rotation. Plus, Semien takes part in Jackie Robinson Day festivities on Tuesday and who Sale credits for the development of his changeup:

Thanks to the season-ending shoulder injury to Avisail Garcia, outfielder Jordan Danks was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to help fill the void. The Dash alumnus spoke with CSN Chicago about the opportunity:

Triple-A: Charlotte Knights (6-6)

Catcher Josh Phegley is off to a solid start in 2014. His .286 batting average currently ranks second on the team among qualifying players, and he has scored four runs in eight games.

The other BB&T Ballpark looks pretty darn good, too (photo via Charlotte Knights).

The other BB&T Ballpark looks pretty darn good, too (photo via Charlotte Knights).

The Knights opened their sparkling new Uptown Charlotte facility, the second BB&T Ballpark, on Friday night against the Norfolk Tides. For a recap of their historic evening, click here.

Double-A: Birmingham Barons (5-5)

The defending Southern League champions won three of five games against the Jacksonville Suns to reach the .500 mark. The Barons were washed out at Mobile on Monday night, so a doubleheader is on tap this evening.

Former Dash outfielder Trayce Thompson was recently profiled on MiLB.com talking about some of the valuable lessons he learned during Spring Training with the White Sox.

Low-A: Kannapolis Intimidators (4-7)

The Intimidators were swept in a four-game series at Greenville this weekend, the last contest a heartbreaking 5-4 setback to the Drive in 14 innings. Kannapolis looks to regain its footing this week in Hickory. That series opener was also postponed, so the Intimidators and Crawdads will play two this evening.

Infielder Cleuluis Rondon continues his development at the Low-A level. The Venezuelan native, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday, is batting .298 with six RBIs, three runs scored and three stolen bases in 11 games.

Stay tuned for a preview of tonight’s homestand opener against Frederick.

- 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 whitesox.com 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

FutureSox releases prospect list

Two weeks ago, Baseball America released its Top 10 White Sox prospect list. While this list is one of the most well-regarded compilations nationally, our friends at FutureSox put together the best list on the internet among White Sox-only sites. FutureSox’s preseason Top 25 is out, and the Dash are well represented.

Of Chicago’s 25 best prospects, a whopping 13 have played in Winston-Salem at some point in their minor league career. This number includes eight alums in the Top 12.

I encourage you to check out the entire list, which includes justification for the top 10 players. Here is the placement of the 13 former Dash players:

2. RHP Erik Johnson
4. INF Marcus Semien
6. OF Courtney Hawkins
7. RHP Chris Beck
9. INF Micah Johnson
10. OF Trayce Thompson
11. RHP Daniel Webb
12. INF Carlos Sanchez
15. RHP Jake Petricka
16. LHP Scott Snodgress
18. RHP Chris Bassitt
21. INF Rangel Ravelo
23. RHP Myles Jaye

A few notes from this list:

  • If it weren’t for the signing of Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, Erik Johnson would be the top prospect. The exciting thing for White Sox fans is that both should be in Chicago in April.
  • It has been quite a 12-month period for Marcus Semien. At this point last year, he was coming off a solid season in Winston-Salem. Very few people could have predicted his quick rise near the top of the Sox prospect rankings, but he was one of the hardest workers I have seen in my two seasons here in Winston-Salem. I’m thrilled for him.
  • This time last year, Carlos Sanchez was the hot prospect. Sure, he did not wow in 2013, but the Venezuela native is still only 21 years old. He is still a legitimate prospect in the system despite coming back to earth a bit in 2013.
  • I’m happy to see Chris Bassitt appear on a prospect list. I think people were waiting to see if his strong end to the 2012 season as a starting pitcher would carry over into last season, and it certainly did. He should also appear on Baseball America’s Top 30 rankings, which will come out later this offseason.
  • Do not be surprised to see both Rangel Ravelo and Myles Jaye continue to climb from the low 20s. Both had strong efforts in 2013, and if they can find similar success in Double-A, they will garner even more praise.

As always, thanks to the guys at FutureSox. Matt Cassidy, one of the site’s main writers, visited Winston-Salem late last season and compiled some great videos. They do a great job with their coverage, and I encourage you to check out all their content here.

The first 2014 White Sox prospect list

Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America's White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Speedster Micah Johnson is one of six newcomers on Baseball America’s White Sox Top 10 Prospects list (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Baseball America is, in many ways, the bible of baseball prospects. Few publications examine Minor League Baseball more thoroughly than Baseball America, which has released its 2014 White Sox Top 10 Prospect list.

Over the last few seasons, Baseball America has been critical of the White Sox system, but the publication believes that the system is making significant progress:

For the first time since at least 2000, when the White Sox had the game’s No. 2 farm system, the organization has prospect depth.

How can one best illustrate this depth? Let’s take a look at Baseball America’s Top 10 list from this time last year and compare it to this year’s.

2013 White Sox Top 10:
1. OF Courtney Hawkins
2. OF Trayce Thompson
3. INF Carlos Sanchez
4. RHP Erik Johnson
5. OF Keenyn Walker
6. LHP Scott Snodgress
7. RHP Andre Rienzo
8. INF Keon Barnum
9. OF Jared Mitchell
10. RHP Chris Beck

2014 White Sox Top 10:
1. INF Jose Abreu
2. RHP Erik Johnson
3. INF Tim Anderson
4. INF Matt Davidson
5. INF Marcus Semien
6. INF Micah Johnson
7. OF Courtney Hawkins
8. OF Trayce Thompson
9. RHP Chris Beck
10. OF Jacob May

Only four members of the 2013 list appear on this year’s edition. This reflects the benefits of the transactions the White Sox have made much more than the struggles of a few of these players over the last 12 months.

Not only have these players impressed the White Sox and other baseball people, but many of them have produced at or near the top of the organization. Three of the current Top 10 have played in the big leagues, with Jose Abreu likely to play much of next season on the South Side. Excluding Abreu, only Tim Anderson and Jacob May have yet to play in High-A, and both could start in Winston-Salem in 2014.

Beyond the Top 10 rankings, Baseball America’s “Best Tools” and “Top 15 Players 25 and Under” lists, which can also be viewed here, feature more of Chicago’s minor league depth.

The White Sox had a tough 2013 in The Show, but the farm system should instill plenty of hope in the fan base for 2014 and beyond.

- Brian

Sanchez, Thompson added to 40-man roster

Highly-touted prospect Trayce Thompson is now on the Sox 40-man roster (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Highly-touted prospect Trayce Thompson is now on the Sox 40-man roster (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Two Dash alumni have joined the White Sox 40-man roster. Infielder Carlos Sanchez and Trayce Thompson, key contributors during the Dash’s magical 2012 season, have joined the top group in Chicago’s organization.

For those who are unclear why this is so important, only the 40 players in this group can appear in the big leagues. Inclusion on a 40-man roster also promises a higher salary.

Sanchez spent his 2013 campaign with Triple-A Charlotte after a breakout 2012 throughout three levels of the system. The Venezuela native hit .241 with 28 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 16 stolen bases with the Knights. A year ago, Sanchez helped the Dash win a first-half division crown while finishing with the best qualifying batting average in the Carolina League.

Thompson was an everyday outfielder on Double-A Birmingham’s championship team this year. The former second-round pick posted a .229 average to go along with 15 homers and 73 RBIs with the Barons. He shared the CL’s home run lead (24) while spending much of the 2012 season in Winston-Salem.

Both prospects have participated in the Venezuelan Winter League with Tiburones de La Guaira this offseason, and Sanchez has been one of the club’s best hitters.

Congratulations to both Carlos and Trayce on the accomplishment! Both will be on the White Sox radar in the coming years, and this is an important step in that process.

- Brian

And then there were two

Carolina LeagueLast season, Winston-Salem and Lynchburg emerged from winner-take-all Game 3s in the semifinals to punch their tickets to the Mills Cup Finals. Here in 2013, both Division Championship Series concluded in Game 2, but the playoffs have been packed with drama.

All four Carolina League playoff games have been decided in the last at-bat for the winning club. Plus, the margin was higher than one run at the start of only three of the 43 innings thus far this postseason.

Salem won a pair of 10-inning games over Myrtle Beach to clinch its first trip to the Mills Cup Finals since 2009, while the Pelicans lost in the Southern Division Championship Series for the third straight season.

In the Northern Division, Potomac rallied in the ninth inning of Game 1 before nipping Lynchburg in the 14th. One night later, the P-Nats walked off with a 3-2 win in the last of the ninth. Thus, Potomac can win its first CL crown since 2010. On the flip side, Lynchburg could not become the first franchise to repeat as Carolina League champions since 1999-2000 (Myrtle Beach).

While the Red Sox and P-Nats were advancing in the CL postseason, some Dash alumni shined elsewhere in Minor League Baseball’s postseason.

  • Last season, Chris Bassitt pitched the Dash to the Mills Cup Finals with a seven-inning gem. Yesterday, the righty went seven innings and punched out nine Smokies in Double-A Birmingham’s 3-1 win over Tennessee in Game 1 of the Southern League North Division Series.
  • Behind Bassitt’s huge effort, Trayce Thompson went yard and drove home two runs, and Cody Winiarski earned the save. In Game 2 of this best-of-five set, Chris Beck toes the rubber for the Barons tonight.
  • Veteran Cyle Hankerd, who was a key cog in the Dash’s offense a year ago, came up with the hit of the season for the Arkansas Travelers, the Angels’ Double-A affiliate in the Texas League. Hankerd’s three-run blast in the top of the ninth broke a 1-1 tie and propelled the Travs to a Game 2 victory over the Tulsa Drillers in the TL’s North Division Series. Hankerd and the Travelers now have a 2-0 series lead with the next three games all at home.

We will keep you posted on the MiLB playoffs throughout the month here on the Dash Board blog!

- Brian

Three Dash players among Sox top 20 prospects

Courtney Hawkins has retained the top spot in MLB's rankings in his first full season in pro ball (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Courtney Hawkins has retained the top spot in MLB’s White Sox rankings (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

With the season roughly three-quarters of the way complete, MLBPipeline.com released its updated top 20 Chicago White Sox prospects yesterday. Three current Winston-Salem players are among the Top 20:

1. OF Courtney Hawkins - .191, 18 HR, 51 RBI, 69 games
6. RHP Chris Beck – 9-8, 3.01 ERA, 101.2 IP, 50 K, 18 starts
16. INF Micah Johnson - .326, 6 RBIs, 12 R, 10 SB, 21 games

The list also includes 10 former Winston-Salem players. This includes RHP Daniel Webb (#18), who started the year in the Triad before quickly ascending all the way to Triple-A Charlotte by mid-June.

MLBPipeline.com’s rankings also feature seven players from the 2012 version of the Dash that posted the best record in all of full-season Minor League Baseball. Those seven are RHP Erik Johnson (#2), OF Trayce Thompson (#4), INF Marcus Semien (#9), INF Carlos Sanchez (#10), LHP Scott Snodgress (#12), OF Keenyn Walker (#14) and RHP Andre Rienzo (#17).  Rienzo, who fired a no-hitter earlier this week, also spent his entire 2011 campaign with Winston-Salem.

In addition to Rienzo, the 2011 version of the Dash have another alum in the top 20, with OF Jared Mitchell (#11), who is currently with Double-A Birmingham, making the list.

The first Dash team to play at BB&T Ballpark (2010) has one member on the list in C Josh Phegley (#5). Earlier this month, Phegley became the 13th Dash alum to make it to the big leagues.

The Dash and Carolina Mudcats conclude their series tonight at 7. Check back later for a preview of this evening’s contest.

- Rob

Curley’s home run exploits

Photo via Jody Stewart/W-S Dash

Photo via Jody Stewart/W-S Dash

Dash infielder Chris Curley is in some prestigious offensive company thanks to his breakout 2013 season. Curley has played in 98 of the Dash’s 102 games, and he has been arguably the best hitter on the circuit.

Curley’s statistical line is tremendous:
.292, 21 HR, 77 RBIs, .875 OPS, 113 H, 70 R

Comparing Curley’s numbers to others, though, yields even more respect for his efforts this year. For example, Curley is already one of five hitters in the Dash era (2009-present) with more than 20 long balls in a single season.

1. Ian Gac – 33 (2011)
2. Seth Loman – 25 (2010)
3. Andy Wilkins – 23 (2011)
4. Trayce Thompson – 22 (2012)
5. Chris Curley – 21 (2013)

Curley is one of the biggest home run hitters in all of A-ball, which consists of 60 teams.

1. Ryan Rua – 28 (Hickory, Low-A for Texas)
2. Joey Gallo – 26 (Hickory, Low-A for Texas)
3. Adam Brett Walker II – 22 (Cedar Rapids, Low-A for Minnesota)
4. Chris Curley and four others – 21

The Fort Mitchell, Ky., native also finds himself near the top in RBIs in all of High-A baseball.

1. Andrew Aplin – 80 (Lancaster, Houston)
2. Chris Curley – 77
3. Max Muncy – 76 (Stockton, Oakland)

Curley and Courtney Hawkins make up one of the four teammate duos to sit in the top three in home runs in their respective leagues.

1. Ryan Rua (28, 1st) and Joey Gallo (26, 2nd) of Hickory (Low-A, Texas)
2. Brock Peterson (22, 1st) and Jamie Romak (20, 2nd) of Memphis (Triple-A, St. Louis)
3. Chris Curley (21, T-1st) and Courtney Hawkins (18, 3rd)
4. Adam Brett Walker II (22, 1st) and Travis Harrison (15, T-2nd) of Cedar Rapids (Low-A, Minnesota)

Tonight at 7, Curley will aim to continue his offensive surge against the Mudcats here at BB&T Ballpark. Stay tuned for our preview later today.

- Brian

Game 101 Preview – Winston-Salem v. Frederick

Game #101 – Home Game #50
Winston-Salem Dash (14-16, 52-48) vs. Frederick Keys (13-17, 47-52)
Tuesday, July 23 – 7 p.m.
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem and Frederick meet in a rubber match from BB&T Ballpark tonight. Both games of this series have gone down to the wire, with the Dash claiming a 3-2 win Sunday. The Keys responded with a come-from-behind 6-4 triumph last night.

Chris Curley became the fifth player in the Dash era with 20 homers in a single season (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

Chris Curley became the fifth player in the Dash era with 20 homers in a single season during last night’s game (Laura Marshall/W-S Dash).

STARTING LINEUP:

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

DASH DOTS:

  • With his two-run blast in the seventh on Monday, infielder Chris Curley became the 26th man in Minor League Baseball to hit 20 home runs this season. Curley trails only former Lynchburg slugger Robby Hefflinger (21), who is now with Atlanta’s Double-A club in Mississippi, for the Carolina League lead.
  • In the Dash era (2009-present), Curley has joined Ian Gac (33, 2011), Seth Loman (25, 2010), Andy Wilkins (23, 2011) and Trayce Thompson (22, 2012) in the 20-homer club during a single season.
  • In addition to his impressive home run total, Curley now paces the circuit with 73 RBIs, which leads Salem’s Keury De La Cruz by one. It is also good for a share of 14th place in the minor leagues. Curley also sits first in runs scored (68), first in total bases (189), tied for first in hits (109) and ninth in average (.288) in the CL.
  • The Dash own Minor League Baseball’s best home record since BB&T Ballpark opened in 2010 (161-99, .619), but Frederick has won 10 of its last 16 games in the Triad dating back to the middle of last year.
  • Winston infielder Joey DeMichele, who is not in the lineup tonight, enjoys facing Frederick. Including his 3-for-9 effort in this set, DeMichele is hitting .400 (26-for-65) with two homers, 14 RBIs and 19 runs scored against the Keys this season.
  • Jake Cose has recorded consecutive seven-inning quality starts, during which he has issued only three free passes and allowed just four runs on 11 hits. In his previous five outings, Cose walked 22 men.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

The Pregame Dash begins at 6:45 p.m., and fans can listen live here. The game is also available online on MiLB.tv.

Minor league road trips through TV, Twitter

Double-A Birmingham’s roster boasts plenty of Dash alums, and a handful of them were featured in a great video piece by WVTM-TV, the NBC affiliate in Birmingham. A reporter tagged along with the Barons on a road trip to Huntsville, the shortest trip for the Barons in the Southern League.

You can view the insightful story here, with thoughts from former Winston-Salem stars Dan Black, Mike Blanke, Salvador Sanchez and Trayce Thompson.

Speaking of travel stories, Low-A Kannapolis enjoyed quite a journey last night and through much of this morning. The Intimidators made one of their longer trips of the season from Delmarva, Md., to Charleston, W.Va. According to Google Maps, the trip is about seven hours, but it seems like it took a bit longer than expected…

As a veteran of driving through the West Virginia mountains, I can relate to their tribulations. They will try to overcome their bumpy ride tonight against the West Virginia Power, Pittsburgh’s Low-A club.

Fortunately, Winston-Salem’s return trip from Zebulon is only a journey of two hours and 15 minutes. Based on some of these stories, we are very thankful for that. The Dash aim for a win in the finale of their eight-game, nine-day road trip tonight at 6:15. Stay tuned to the blog for a preview.

- Brian

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