Winston-Salem Dash 2014 Preview

The Chicago White Sox have set the 25 man roster for their High-A affiliate Winston-Salem Dash and the season is underway.  Managing the team again in 2014 will be Tommy Thompson.

Let’s start with the pitching staff which has 13 pitchers and some very interesting names.  Twenty year-old Jefferson Olacio got an aggressive promotion this season as most thought he would be in Kannapolis again.  Olacio is a 6’7″ 270 lb. lefty who is still learning the ins and outs of pitching, but the White Sox are very high on the youngster.

Another guy that seems to be on the same level as Olacio is Euclides Leyer.  He has been with Olacio almost the whole way … he is also trying to learn pitching as he goes.  The White Sox are using a very aggressive approach with these two, but it could pay big dividends if it clicks for them.  At worst they could both be power relievers in the future, but for now, the Sox will be giving them every chance to become starters.

Another guy who could move quickly and even reach the majors this year like Daniel Webb did last season is 2013 10th-round draft pick Brad Goldberg.  Goldberg, 24, was the closer for Ohio St. University last season before being drafted.  In 35 innings, he had a sparkling 1.54 ERA, a 49/9 K/BB ratio and only allowed 17 hits between three leagues.

Jeffrey Wendelken seems to be another guy in that category.  He was acquired in the package from the Boston Red Sox for Jake Peavy, and could really be a fast-riser.

The other pitchers on the roster are Bryan Blough, Tony Bucciferro, Jarrett Casey, Kyle Hansen, Brandon Hardin, Zach Isler, Terance Marin, Braulio Ortiz and Mike Recchia.

But one more guy to keep an eye on is right hander Francellis Montas, who like Wendelken, was acquired as part of the package for Peavy.  At the moment, he is injured after a meniscus surgery and is most likely in Arizona rehabbing with the extended Spring Training squad.  He will be inserted into the Dash rotation when healthy.

The offense is a very interesting group that is led by 2013 first round draft pick Tim Anderson.  Anderson, 20, is one of the White Sox’ top prospects.  He has all the tools to become a valuable major league shortstop, his defense needs work, but he has the arm and range to play shortstop at the major league level.

After a very disappointing 2013 season, 2012 first round pick Courtney Hawkins will start with Winston-Salem again with hopes that he gets off to a better start, and so far it seems he does look better.

The assignment was aggressive in 2013 and Hawkins will still be a young player for the league, but he believes he is ready for the challenge.  After all, he still did hit 19 home runs last season.

Another very interesting name is 2012 2nd round draft pick Keon Barnum.  The big first baseman has struggled with injuries since being drafted, but has big time power from the left side of the plate with a good hit tool.

To go with Hawkins in the outfield is 2013 3rd round pick Jacob May.  May, 22, is a five tool guy that is a top of the order type of player with good OBP skills and decent pop while playing very good defense in center field.

He is going to sky-rocket through the organization.

Also on the offensive side of the roster is catchers Mike Marjama and Martin Medina.  The infield consists of Anderson, Barnum, 3B Nick Basto, 2B Joey DeMichele and SS Michael Johnson. Completing the outfield with Hawkins and May is Grant Buckner, Adam Heisler and the powerful Jason Coats.

Winston-Salem is going to be a very fast, powerful team on offense with power arms on the pitching staff.  They have a chance to be a very good team overall.  The pitching could be a big strength or a weakness due to the aggressiveness of the assignments.

The guys that everyone will be watching are Tim Anderson and Courtney Hawkins.  But guys like Barnum, May, Goldberg and Wendelken could be the guys that surprise everyone.  Stay tuned throughout the season with me and to see updates on the Dash and their players.

About Adam Sager

I'm currently a Sports Producer with Fox Sports Radio and WBIG where I produce the radio broadcasts for the Cubs' Single A affiliate Kane County Cougars. I was an intern at WSCR 670 The Score with the Boers and Bernstein Show and am a graduate of the Illinois Center for Broadcasting.