The Kannapolis Intimidators began 2012 with just a few known prospects and a number of other relative unknowns within the White Sox system. Prospects came and went, but the main problem with Kannapolis was that most of the team’s most effective players didn’t stay with the team for very long. As a result, the Intimidators were never able to make a push for the playoffs and finished the season 61-78, going 33-37 in the first half and 28-41 in the second.
Three of our preseason top 25 prospects were on Kannapolis’ Opening Day roster, Keenyn Walker, Scott Snodgress and Kevan Smith. Each of them had some level of success, but none of them would stay with the team for the entire season. Walker stole 39 bases and posted a .282/.395/.387 line, Smith posted a .765 OPS and Snodgress had a 3.64 ERA in 19 starts. All three joined the Dash in July. 2011 second round pick Erik Johnson joined the Intimidators a bit late after recovering from an injury in the spring and was strong in nine starts (2.30 ERA, 39 K, 19 BB in 43 IP), but he also joined the Dash in July.
That was the story of Kannapolis’ season. The Intimidators failed to make the playoffs in the first half and by the time the prospects started adjusting to the South Atlantic League they were promoted to aid Winston-Salem, who was headed for the postseason.
Blair Walters (2.88 ERA in 13 starts), Ryan Buch (0.90 ERA, 12 K, 2 BB in 10 IP), Cyle Hankerd (5 HR, 1.537 OPS in 9 games) and even 2012 first round pick Courtney Hawkins (.308/.352/.631 in 16 games) also exited Kannapolis after successful stints. This roster movement made it difficult for the Intimidators to find consistency in 2012.
One of the team’s most consistent performers was Mark Haddow, a 24-year-old outfielder who posted an .822 OPS and played 108 games for Kanny, but he missed some time with injuries and even he earned a late season promotion. 20-year-old Rangel Ravelo teased with a hot start to the season (.344 in April), but his numbers declined each month (.311 in May, .238 in June) and he eventually left the team for personal reasons in early July. Another hitter of note was Joey DeMichele, a 2012 fourth round pick, who joined the team after getting off to a scorching start with Bristol and hit .261/.319/.436 for the Intimidators.
On the pitching side, starters turned relievers Kevin Vance (3.05 ERA in 79.2 IP) and Chris Devenski (the player to be named later in the Brett Myers deal) had success with the team…before also leaving. Other potentially interesting pitchers like Jeff Soptic, Daniel Webb, Myles Jaye, Jefferson Olacio and Brandon Parrent all struggled with control despite showing good stuff.
To summarize the 2012 Kannapolis Intimidators, anyone on the team that had any level of success left the team mid year. That’s also a big reason why Winston-Salem was the best regular season team in Minor League Baseball.