WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (April 1, 2014) – Winston-Salem's Opening Day roster features a high-profile offense and a veteran pitching staff as the club aims to record its fifth winning season in six tries since becoming the Dash in 2009.
The White Sox selected five hitters who will open the season with the Dash in the first three rounds of either the 2012 or 2013 MLB Draft. Chicago's last two first-round picks—outfielder Courtney Hawkins (2012) and infielder Tim Anderson (2013)—will open the season in the Carolina League. Hawkins, Anderson and outfielder Jacob May, a third-round selection, are among the Top 10 White Sox farmhands according to Baseball America. Infielders Keon Barnum (sandwich round, 2012) and Joey DeMichele (third round, 2012) round out the highly-touted quintet of hitters to start 2014 in purple.
Along with DeMichele and Hawkins, infielder Grant Buckner, outfielder Adam Heisler and catcher Martin Medina return to the Triad after playing with the Dash a year ago. Infielders Nick Basto and Michael Johnson, outfielder Jason Coats and catcher Michael Marjama will also join Winston-Salem for 2014.
Eight of the 13 pitchers to break camp with the Dash logged time at the High-A level a year ago, and half of them will be in the club's starting rotation. Brad Goldberg, the lone 2013 White Sox draftee to play for the Dash during last season, will make his first minor league start this weekend. Fellow righties Braulio Ortiz, Mike Recchia and J.B. Wendelken return to the CL after second-half promotions from Low-A, while Tony Bucciferro will debut with Winston in the rotation.
Bryan Blough, who led the Carolina League in innings pitched in 2013, headlines the four returners who will pitch out of the bullpen. Jarrett Casey, Brandon Hardin and Terance Marin are back in Winston-Salem. Kyle Hansen, Zach Isler, Euclides Leyer and Jefferson Olacio round out the Dash's stable of arms.
Since becoming the Dash in 2009, Winston-Salem has produced 20 big league players, including eight alumni who made their MLB debut during the 2013 season. In four of the first five seasons of the Dash era, a prospect who played for the Dash also climbed to the big league level in the same season (2009 – RHP Daniel Hudson; 2010 – LHP Chris Sale; 2011 – RHP Addison Reed; 2013 – RHP Daniel Webb).
Manager Tommy Thompson returns to the Dash after spending 2013 with Low-A Kannapolis. The Carolina League Manager of the Year in 2012, Thompson led Winston to full-season Minor League Baseball's best record in 2012 (87-51-1) and a berth in the Mills Cup Finals. Pitching coach J.R. Perdew, hitting coach Gary Ward, Athletic Trainer Josh Fallin and Strength and Conditioning Coach Raymond Smith round out the Dash's 2014 field staff.
The Dash's Opening Day roster will suit up for the first time on Thursday night at 7 for the first of four against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City).