2010 Season Preview: Kannapolis Intimidators

With the Minor League season kicking off this Thursday, now seems like a good time to roll out the season previews. First up is the Kannapolis Intimidators. The Winston-Salem Dash will follow on Monday, then the Birmingham Barons Tuesday and finally the Charlotte Knights on Wednesday.



The Kannapolis Intimidators are the Low-A affiliate of the Chicago
White Sox and they compete in the South Atlantic League.


2009 in review:

The Intimidators led the SAL last year with a 82-57 record, largely fuelled
by their great second half to the season in which they went 45-24 (.652 WPCT).
They were a mid tier offense for the year posting a cumulative OPS of .694, so
as you can probably deduce, it was the pitching that led the way. Boasting a
rotation that was headlined by Charlie Leesman (13-5, 3.08 ERA), Stephen Sauer
(6-5, 3.36 ERA), and, pre-trade, Dexter Carter (6-2, 3.13 ERA), they finished 2nd
in the league in both ERA and WHIP.


Now that we have 2009 briefly recapped, let’s take a look at the
2010 opening day roster to see if we can predict what kind of a season the
Intimidators are in for.



Jimmy Ballinger, RHP

Cameron Bayne, RHP

Kyle Bellamy, RHP

Ryan Buch, RHP

Justin Collop, RHP

Terry Doyle. RHP

Matthew Hopps, RHP

Garrett Johnson, LHP

Brandon Kloess, RHP

Drew O’Neil, RHP

Joseph Serafin, LHP

Matt Wickswat, LHP


This is certainly not as strong a pitching staff as last years,
which featured Leesman, Sauer, Carter and Dan Hudson on the opeining day roster.

Joe Serafin performed extremely well after being drafted last year,
but as a 37th round pick, he will need to prove that he wasn’t just
a flash in the pan.

Ryan Buch’s role is still unknown, but whether starting or
relieving, he has the ability to be one of the stars of this pitching staff.

Justin Collop is one to keep an eye on. Drafted in the 6th
round out of Toledo last year, he throws a low 90’s fastball with a good slider
and changeup. If he can keep his pitches over the plate, he could be in for a
strong year.

Matthew Hopps is an older guy but he’s still relatively new to
pitching. He features a low 90’s fastball and two decent breaking balls.

Kyle Bellamy and Drew O’Neil should provide a good 1-2 punch from
the back of the bullpen, but don’t expect them to stick around all year, particularly
Bellamy, who could move quickly through the system.

Garrett Johnson possesses great physical projection, but his
performances haven’t been up to par. His career FIP (3.70), however, suggests
that he has been unlucky during his pro career. This could be the year he
finally breaks out.



Kevin Dubler

Miguel Gonzalez

Miguel Gonzalez is just about everyone’s pick as the Sox’ sleeper
prospect for 2010, and for good reason. The young Venezuelan catcher has plus
defensive abilities to go along with a good knowledge of the strike zone and
developing power. This should be a position of strength for the Intimidators.

Kevin Dubler was thought to have some potential after being drafted
in the 8th round of the 2008 draft, but it hasn’t happened for him
so far, and now he’s going to be stuck behind Miguel Gonzalez all year.



Jorge Castillo, 1B

Kyle Davis, SS

Ian Gac, 1B

Juan Silverio, SS

Jeff Tezak, 2B

Jose Vargas, 1B

Dan Wagner, 2B


Juan Silverio aside, this is one uninspiring list of infielders.
Silverio’s progress will be interesting to watch. He put up good numbers in the
DSL last year but his plate discipline remained weak.

Jose Vargas was a source of power for the Great Falls Voyagers last
year after being demoted from the Intimidators, hopefully he can make the step
up this year.



Jordan Cheatham

Nick Ciolli

Kyle Colligan

Brady Shoemaker


The trio of college outfielders drafted in 2009 should be a real
strength for the Intimidators in 2010. They may be the three best hitters on
this team.

Kyle Colligan has some contact issues, but he knows how to walk and
has good speed on the bases, making him a candidate to hit leadoff. He’s an
athletic outfielder who should provide good defensive support for his pitchers
from center field.

Nick Ciolli has a good all around game with 5 average or better
tools. He may need time for his power to develop, but scouts believe it will
come. His speed is a tick above average, but it plays up in games because he
knows how to use it on the bases. Defensively he’s fringe average in
centerfield, but a good defender in left with an average arm.

Brady Shoemaker was a 19th round selection and he tore up
the Appy League. He is a talented hitter with good opposite field power, but he
does need to watch the strikeouts. He has been described as having a “now
body”, meaning there is not much projectability in his game. He won’t provide
much defensive value so he needs to hit as he moves through the system, but he
has the ability to do it and he should be a key contributor to the
Intimidators’ offense.



I think the Intimidators are a much better offensive team this year
as compared to last year. The infield may look weak, but it’s not like they
were loaded with offensive stars there last season. Miguel Gonzalez will
hopefully be a big plus at catcher and they have three quality outfielders that
provide the threat of both speed and power. The pitching staff features some
interesting arms, but nothing like 2009’s team. Ryan Buch is one of my favorite
arms in the system, so I will be watching him especially closely and Garrett
Johnson, with his 6’10”, 205 lbs frame, provides plenty of intrigue.

I predict that the Intimidators will take a step back in 2010. I think they will finish with a record above .500, but I’m not expecting them to compete for the league championship.


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  • Some omissions to note:
    David Holmberg
    Trayce Thompson

    Thompson starting in rookie ball is not a surprise, but given how advanced Holmberg is I thought he might have started with Kannapolis.

  • I was kinda hoping David Holmberg would get a chance to play for the Intimidators, but I guess the Sox are taking it slowly with him. There's still a chance he gets moved up from extended spring training in May or so.

    That Kanny outfield is going to be interesting. All 3 of those guys need to prove they can go from 'college player hitting younger pitching in rookie ball' to actual prospects.

  • Ryan Buch will be pitching out of the bullpen according to the Daily Intimidator blog. A couple of other interesting notes on there also

  • With Buch coming out of the pen, I expect him to move up quickly. He's got good stuff and is a legitimate relief prospect.

    I am surprised they aren' letting him start though. Kanny doesn't exactly have a ridiculous group of arms in the rotation and Buch could better develop out of the rotation (where he can use more pitches and pitch more innings).

  • In general, it is very difficult to get excited for Kanny. They have some college guys to watch for, but by and large there isn't a whole lot of raw talent outside of Miguel Gonzalez and Juan Silveiro (and he might only get mentioned because the Sox spent good money on him.

  • Hey guys, great preview! I'll check often on here and try and answer any questions you may have.

    It's true that Kannapolis doesn't have the most prospects of the minor league teams, but I think this team will do well in this league because of their age. Could be some sleepers here like Shoemaker and Ciolli...Of course it will be interesting to see how Gonzalez progresses.

    Buch will be out of the pen, high velo guy who's career will be dictated by how many strikes he can throw.

    This team has great character and Ernie has a great will to win.

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