In part two of the season preview series I take a look at the opening day roster for the Winston-Salem Dash, and try to sum up their hopes for 2010.
The Winston-Salem Dash are the High-A affiliate of the Chicago White
Sox and they play in the Carolina League.
2009 in review:
The Dash had a good season despite not having many top prospects on
their team. They finished 73-65 (.529), which was enough for them to take the
Carolina League Southern title, but the Salem Red Sox then rather swiftly swept
them from the playoffs. The Dash were an offensive minded team finishing third
in the CAR in OPS (.722). Some of their key offensive contributors were Brent
Morel (.788 OPS), Logan Johnson (.829 OPS), Seth Loman (.818 OPS) and Jim
Gallagher (.753 OPS). Their pitching was much weaker as they finished second to
last in ERA at 4.30.
Now on to the 2010 team.
Nathan Jones is reportedly moving to the rotation this year, with Gregory
Infante moving in the opposite direction. Jones has some nasty stuff and if he
can learn to control it better, he could emerge as a legit top prospect by the
end of the year.
Nevin Griffith is entering his second season recovered from Tommy
John Surgery and this is typically the year a pitcher returns to full strength.
It would be unrealistic to have high expectations for Griffith given how little
he's pitched since being drafted, but he has good potential and could finally
start living up to it in 2010.
Stephen Sauer and Charlie Leesman figure to anchor the Dash's
rotation similar to how they did with the Intimidators last year. I like Sauer a
little more than Leesman due to his phenomenal ground ball rates, but both
should be good pitchers this year.
Santos Rodriguez has very good raw stuff but has struggled with his
command. He has progressed very slowly since signing with the Braves in 2006,
but the Sox finally seem ready to take the gloves off and let him pitch. He
could be in for a big year.
Dan Remenowsky was a lights out closer for the Intimidators last
year but his stuff is fringy. He will need to maintain his great command in
order to have continued success.
is coming off of a very successful 2009 campaign and he drew some rave
reviews this spring during minor league camp.
Leroy Hunt was pointed out to us as a potential sleeper with closer-type stuff by White Sox
director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann, so we will be keeping an eye on him
this year also.
Josh Phegley didn't have a great start to his pro career after being
drafted in the second round last year, but he hit into some bad luck and has
very good power potential. His defense isn't as highly thought of, but the Sox
believe he can stick behind the plate. I expect a big year for Phegley.
Logan Johnson was a good hitter for the Dash last year but his
upside pales in comparison to Phegley's, and as a result, he could find himself
spending a lot of time riding the bench.
Jon Gilmore has good physical projection, but his performances to date
have been incredibly substandard. Supposedly armed with plus raw power, Gilmore
has only 10 home runs in over 1000 professional AB's. He made a lot of errors
at 3B last year also.
Eduardo Escobar is a slick fielding SS, and one of the few middle
infield prospects in this system with some upside. His bat leaves a lot to be
desired, although he did hit well down the stretch last year. At the very least, he will
provide his pitchers with great support from a premium defensive position.
Seth Loman may be the only true power threat on this team and the
Dash will need him to have a big year.
The Dash have a couple of interesting outfielders in Brandon Short
and Justin Greene.
Justin Greene is a good athlete and a capable base stealer with a
little pop. He brings good defense in the outfield, but his arm is just average.
Greene struggled after being promoted to the Dash last year, but he should be
more prepared this time round.
Brandon Short is another athletic outfielder who provides good
defense from a corner OF spot. Offensively he has a little more pop than
Greene, but his on base skills are worse and he's not as swift on the bases.
Kenny Williams Jr. gets a promotion despite not showing much of
anything in his career to date.
I really like the Dash's pitching staff this year. They have some
interesting high upside arms in Nevin Griffith and Nate Jones, to go along with
safer arms such as Charlie Leesman, Stephen Sauer and Dylan Axelrod. The bullpen
also figures to be strong with Charlis Burdie (pronounced shar-LEES
BUR-dee-ay), Santos Rodriguez, Dan Remenowsky and Gregory Infante leading the
way there. If they don't lead the league in pitching
this year, they'll probably be pretty close. The offense might struggle as I'm
not sure who's going to be consistently driving runs in. They'll need both
Phegley and Loman to have big years power-wise and Justin Greene will need to
be a good source of OBP at the top of the order.
I predict the Dash will be a better team in 2010 than they were in
'09 and I expect them to make another run at the Carolina League Southern