WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.- The Chicago White Sox have announced the Winston-Salem Dash's 2013 Opening Day roster, which features top prospect Courtney Hawkins and three other top 30 farmhands in the White Sox minor league system, according to Baseball America.
Hawkins will begin his first full professional season in the same place he finished the 2012 campaign. Chicago's first-round pick last June, Hawkins hit a combined .284 in 59 games with rookie-level Bristol, Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. In his five regular season and seven playoff games with the Dash last season, Hawkins posted a .233 average (10-for-43) with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Right-hander Chris Beck, the White Sox 10th-best prospect, jumps to Winston-Salem after spending his first professional summer with rookie-level Great Falls, where he went 4-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 15 appearances. Infielder Joey DeMichele checks in at 24th on Baseball America's rankings, and he makes the climb to High-A after spending much of 2012 with Low-A Kannapolis. Catcher Kevan Smith, who hit .273 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 22 games with Winston-Salem in 2012, rejoins the Dash after placing 27th within the Top 30 list. Smith is regarded as the White Sox second-best catching prospect.
Hawkins and Smith headline the list of 13 players who will return to Winston-Salem after contributing to the Dash's 87-51 showing in 2012, which was good for the best record in full-season Minor League Baseball. Seven of these players-J.R. Ballinger, Chris Bassitt, Bryan Blough, Justin Collop, Terance Marin, Max Peterson and Steven Upchurch-are pitchers.
Infielders Chris Curley and David Herbek will suit up for the Dash once again. Three of the club's four Opening Day outfielders-Mark Haddow, Hawkins and Billy Rice-played for the Dash at some point in 2012. Smith is the only catcher returning to Winston-Salem.
Three men will make their debut within the White Sox organization in a Dash uniform. Infielder Mark Tracy, the son of former big league skipper Jim Tracy, came to the Sox in a trade with Colorado during the offseason. Right-hander Jeremy Erben, a former Arizona farmhand, and outfielder Nick Giarraputo, who has spent the last three seasons in independent baseball, start their White Sox careers in the Triad after signing free agent contracts with Chicago this spring.
Seven others round out the Dash's 25-man roster. Jarrett Casey, Daniel Webb and Cody Winiarski complete the 12-man pitching staff. Martin Medina and Brent Tanner will join Smith as the club's catchers, while Grant Buckner and Joe De Pinto will be two key cogs on the Dash's infield.
Outfielder Brady Shoemaker, who made the Carolina League's midseason All-Star Team in 2012, begins this season on the Dash's disabled list. He will remain in Arizona in extended spring training.
Ryan Newman will manage the Dash in 2013, becoming the franchise's 43rd all-time manager. Newman comes to Winston-Salem after spending two seasons with rookie-level Great Falls, where he guided the Voyagers to the 2011 Pioneer League title. In his five-year managerial career, Newman owns a 174-186 (.483) record, while he is 141-145 (.493) during his four seasons within the White Sox minor league system.
Newman is joined by pitching coach J.R. Perdew and hitting coach Rob Sasser, both of whom have previously coached in Winston-Salem. Trainer Josh Fallin and Strength & Conditioning Coach Tim Rodmaker fill in the rest of the Dash's 2013 coaching staff.