Season in Review: 2016 Winston-Salem Dash

It was not the season that Winston-Salem was hoping for, going 56-83, which was the club’s worst overall record since 2002 and the worst for the franchise since becoming the Dash at the beginning of the 2009 season. However, the Dash did have some key players who led the league in various categories, so not all was lost.

Offense
At the plate, Nick Basto and Mason Robbins led the Carolina League in hitting. Robbins averaged .314 and had 62 RBIs. Basto, who started the 2016 season with the Birmingham Barons before switching to the Dash, finished with an average of .306 which was second on the circuit. Basto added 12 home runs, and 60 RBIs. The pair of outfielders should both be in Birmingham in 2017.

As far as the other offensive regulars, there wasn't a ton to get excited about. 26-year old journeyman Gerson Montilla did hit 13 home runs, one of the highest totals in the White Sox system. Hunter Jones stole 31 bases in 41 attempts during his time with the Dash.

One area of strength among the position players was their defense. Robbins led the Carolina League in outfield assists, throwing out a whopping 19 baserunners. Outfield mate Jones made recurring highlight reel plays as well. Cleuluis Rondon continued to flash some leather as well, though he did make 20 errors.

Pitching
Jordan Stephens, the right-hander for the Dash, pitched an incredible 2016 season. He ended with a 3.45 ERA and had 7 wins. Stephens left his legacy in the strikeout column with 155 strikeouts, finishing tied for 12th in the Minor Leagues. 155 strikeouts is the most for a Dash pitcher since they became the Dash in 2009. The last pitcher to strike out more batters for this franchise was in 1997. In the Carolina League, 2012 was the last time that a pitcher struck out more than 155 batters. Stephens will likely be climbing up prospect lists this offseason.

Matt Cooper was outright dominant in his time as a starter with the Dash, leading all of minor league baseball in strikeouts after his first 13 starts and walking very few batters. Cooper took his 3.36 ERA to AA too, but went to their bullpen. Thaddius Lowry came into his own in 2016. He bumped up his strikeout rate to 6 per 9, posted an ERA around 4, and continued avoiding walks as the 21-year old refined his repertoire before being promoted to AA Birmingham late in the year. Spencer Adams continued his development as well, and was similarly promoted during the year.

In the bullpen, flame-thrower Connor Walsh sliced and diced Carolina League hitters, striking out more than a batter per inning and allowing just 6.4 hits per 9.

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    The White Sox have no player development. They say they can develop pitchers but can they? As soon as they believe a player can be mediocre at the major league level they promote him before his development is complete and there he remains - mediocre, with blatant flaws in either his swing or approach. The Cubs can do it. The White Sox should steal someone from the Cubs player development staff. The Cubs could make Mason Robbins a serviceable player through at least triple-A but as a White Sox he will struggle for the next 2 seasons in double-A before leaving the organization or baseball altogether. Guys like Tim Anderson are the exact same player they drafted. Never learned a better approach. Either they somehow teach themselves or just wash out. Every starting position player for the Sox this year(except Anderson) was bought or traded for. Their system is so bad they can't even field a triple-A team without filling the roster with washouts from other teams. Most Sox players have washed out way before Triple-A. Until they get their farm system to start producing major league players the Sox will be stuck just under mediocre. Drafting 7th to 15th year after year. Plus Marco Paddy is a joke. Every guy he approves for million dollar contracts suck. It's not about winning, it's about being a part of Jerry's family.

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Jim-

    Lots to unpack here, but let me respond to a few specific things. First, not sure where you get this idea that all of Paddy's signings "suck". Most of his big money players have only barely reached full season ball. Too early to make any kind of judgment yet.

    Tim Anderson is, if anything, a sign of positive development work. He's been quite good.

    Player development has certainly been a problem. No argument there. But that doesn't mean every single thing has gone wrong either.

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