The 2011 Winston-Salem Dash roster features
some of the more interesting prospects in the Sox system, such as 2010 breakout
pitcher Andre Rienzo and the returning Jared Mitchell, but what else do they
have to offer?
The Winston-Salem Dash are the High-A
affiliate of the Chicago White Sox and they play in the Carolina League.
The Dash were the White Sox’ best
performing affiliate in 2010 finishing with a 81-58 (.583 WPCT) to lead the
Carolina League. The fell just short of Carolina League crown, however, losing
to Potomac 3-1 in the CAR finals. The Dash were an offensive minded team who
led the league in a whole host of offensive categories such as OPS (.785), HR
(112), Runs (738), Total Bases (2090) and several others. Their pitching was
much weaker as they finished third to last in ERA at 4.04, they issued the most
walks (488) in the league while striking out (974) the second fewest and
finishing bottom in WHIP (1.44). Top offensive contributors included Seth Loman
(25 HR, .893 OPS), Brandon Short (.316 AVG, 15 HR, .856 OPS) and Justin Greene
(.309 AVG, 10 HR, 17 SB, .952 OPS). On the pitching side, Dylan Axelrod (99.1
IP, 1.99 ERA, 1.08 WHIP), Justin Edwards (49.1 IP, 2.37 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) and
Nevin Griffith (63.2 IP, 3.11 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) were a few of the standout
Now on to the 2011 team.
Doyle has done nothing but put up very good numbers
since being drafted by the Sox in 2008, yet the Sox seem completely unwilling
to push him, and as a result, he’s 24 and still just in High-A. His strikeout
rate tailed off a bit after joining the Dash last year, so that’s something to
watch here in 2011, but at every other stop in his career he’s been a strikeout
Rienzo is just about everybody’s pick as the top
White Sox sleeper prospect for 2011, and it’s for good reason. He’s been a
favorite of mine since he was pitching in the DSL, and last year he put up
great numbers with the Intimidators, with 125 SO/32 BB in 101 IP. Watch him
closely as he could be ready to fly up prospect rankings this year.
Rodriguez continued to mix his big strikeout
numbers with a lot of walks last year, and you can probably expect more of the
same in 2011. He has electric stuff, but is very erratic.
Shirek is a favorite of others here at FutureSox,
but I’ve never been much of a fan. He just doesn’t strike anyone out and that’s
a huge sticking point for me. He appears to be moving to the ‘pen for 2011, and
perhaps that is a move that will help to play up his stuff.
Bour put up some big numbers in 41 games with the
Dash last year, but at every other stop in his career he’s been quite poor.
This definitely looks like it could be a weak position for the Dash.
Wilkins was one of my favorite picks from the 2010
draft class and is something that this system desperately needs; a power bat
who draws walks. That said, he didn’t hit for a huge amount of power in his pro
debut with the Voyagers, but other numbers were very strong (.307 AVG, .396
OBP, 33 BB/31 SO). I’m expecting big things from Wilkins, and if all goes well,
he’ll be an easy top 10 prospect in this system by seasons end.
Ciolli has a nice mix of speed and power, but he
doesn’t walk and his high strikeout rate will probably cause him to fizzle out
as he hits the higher minors. He may be talented enough to handle the High-A
Colligan doesn’t have as much power as Ciolli, but
he has better speed and is reportedly stronger defensively. He also makes much
more consistent contact than Ciolli, which may make his transition through the
minors a little smoother.
Martinez returned to action in 2010 after a lengthy
spell on the sidelines through injury, and his results were mixed. He made
reasonable contact, which was a plus, but he didn’t hit for any power. That
said, just seeing him return and get 250 AB’s under his belt was good enough,
and this is the season in which we’ll be able to judge him as a prospect.
Mitchell’s injury in spring training last year may
have been the single biggest disappointment of the 2010 season from a minor
league standpoint. Right when we were hoping for him to vault himself into
elite prospect territory, he suffers a potentially career crippling injury, and
we’re still not sure if he has/will regain his previous level of
speed/athleticism. Mitchell is still very raw as a prospect, and while he did display
good plate patience in 2009, his plate discipline is extremely lacking and he’ll likely
always be prone to the strikeout. Despite that big negative, he does have good
power potential, and if his pre-injury speed has returned, that part of his
game is elite. I’ve never been Mitchell’s biggest fan and I expect him to
endure a difficult 2011 season. His tools and potential are undeniable, but I
just don’t think he has the skills required at this point in his career. I hope
he proves me wrong, however, as it sure would be great to have a Carl Crawford
type player in the White Sox’ lineup.