The Winston-Salem Dash are traditionally contenders in the Carolina League, but this season they failed to make the playoffs.
The Dash were 38-32 in the first half and 33-37 second half to complete a wholly mediocre season. It would be a mistake to not start by mentioning the league’s MVP, Chris Curley. He’s 26 so he’s not a prospect, but he led the league in home runs and RBIs.
Of course the first prospect name that everyone wanted to learn more about was Courtney Hawkins. Plenty has been written about his struggles in 2013 so it’s safe to summarize: he struck out…a lot. Hawkins showed some of his potential, but the assignment to High-A was too much for him to handle for one reason or another.
Another disappointment was Joey DeMichele. His season wasn’t disastrous, but he hit just .246 with a .689 OPS. The former Arizona State second baseman had a streaky season. In April and July he hit well under .200. He hit .313 in August. His stock dropped this season, but he drew 62 walks this season so that’s one definite positive to build on.
In the middle of the season Micah Johnson joined the Dash. He was the buzz of the White Sox system after stealing 61 bases in limited time with Kannapolis and hitting well to go with it. He got off to a solid start, but struggled later in the season. It’s his first full pro season so that could explain the late season slump. Johnson hit .275/.309/.360 in 49 games before joining Birmingham for the postseason.
As for the pitchers, some relievers showed potential, but it’s the five primary starting pitchers that are worth mentioning. First on the list is Chris Beck. The 2012 third rounder posted strange numbers. He only struck out 57 in 116.2 innings, but racked up tons of groundballs and had a 3.11 ERA. The Sox sent him to Birmingham in August and his peripherals spiked. Perhaps the Sox had him working on something specific with the Dash and let him loose in AA. Either way, the AA numbers are very encouraging.
A bit of a sleeper prospect is Chris Bassitt. Like Beck, he earned a promotion to AA towards the end of the season. More on him when Birmingham wraps up, but Bassitt’s solid numbers with the Dash only got better. He’s worth watching in 2014.
In a similar category, Myles Jaye, Jake Cose and Bryan Blough were valuable to the Dash, but have questionable prospect statuses. Jaye and Cose joined after earning promotions from Kannapolis. They only posted so-so numbers, but Jaye especially has some upside at only 21.
As the record seemed to show, the Dash didn’t have a lot of top prospect talent on the roster. That should change next year with more prospects that spent this season with Kannapolis.