WINSTON-SALEM DASH OPENING DAY ROSTER FEATURES BEVY OF TOP PROSPECTS
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (April 5, 2018) – In conjunction with the Chicago White Sox, the Winston-Salem Dash have announced the team’s 2018 Opening Day roster, which includes six of the organization’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. Right-hander Dylan Cease, the organization’s fifth-ranked prospect, highlights the talented group on the active roster. Meanwhile, outfielder Luis Robert, the third-best prospect in the White Sox system, will start the season with Winston-Salem on the disabled list.
SIX OF THE TOP 15 WHITE SOX FARMHANDS WILL BEGIN 2018 IN WINSTON-SALEM
Cease joins right-hander Dane Dunning (sixth), outfielder Blake Rutherford (seventh), outfielder Micker Adolfo (11th), infielder Gavin Sheets (12th) and outfielder Luis Basabe (14th) as the ranked prospects on Winston-Salem’s active Opening Day roster. Along with Robert and Cease, Dunning and Rutherford are on MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects list.
On the mound, the Dash will boast two pitchers with Major League experience. Right-hander Jose Ruiz, who was claimed by the White Sox off waivers in December, made his MLB debut with the San Diego Padres last July. Right-hander Ricardo Pinto, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies last week, appeared in 25 games with the big league club last season.
Of the members of the Opening Day roster, 14 have previously played in the Dash purple. The familiar faces include Basabe and Dunning, along with outfielders Joel Booker and Alex Call, right-handers Danny Dopico, Matt Foster, Jimmy Lambert, Luis Martinez, Mike Morrison, Zach Thompson, left-handers Bernardo Flores and Kyle Kubat, and infielders Yeyson Yrizarri and Ti’Quan Forbes.
The infield will feature a trio of new faces to the Dash – Zach Remillard, Mitch Roman and the aforementioned Sheets. A second-round pick by the White Sox last year, Sheets returns to his collegiate stomping grounds, where he starred for the Wake Forest University baseball team. All three of these players spent a portion of last season with Low-A Kannapolis.
The two backstops on the roster are new to Winston-Salem as well. Nate Nolan, an eighth-round pick in 2015 by Chicago, was rated the “Best Defensive Catcher” in the White Sox system by Baseball America ahead of the 2018 season. Yermin Mercedes, a former Orioles farmhand, will begin his first season as a member of the White Sox organization.
The starting rotation to start will showcase Dunning, Cease, Flores, Lambert and Pinto, with Dunning getting the Opening Day nod.
Along with three other pitchers, right-hander Blake Hickman is slated to make his Winston-Salem debut this season. Hickman registered 17 starts with the Intimidators last year, going 4-6 with a 3.76 ERA.
The Dash will be led by first-year skipper and 24-year MLB veteran Omar Vizquel. During his decorated playing career, Vizquel played 2,968 games for six different teams, including a two-year stint with the White Sox from 2010-11. One of the premier shortstops of his era, Vizquel holds the all-time record at his position with a .985 fielding percentage. He collected nine Gold Glove awards in a row between 1993-2001 while playing with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. The 50-year old was a three-time All-Star, and he currently ranks 43rd on the all-time hit list with 2,877. Vizquel was a first-time candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Charlie Poe joins Vizquel in the dugout, returning to Winston-Salem as the Dash’s hitting coach for the fourth consecutive season. Matt Zaleski, who pitched for parts of four seasons with Winston-Salem from 2006-09, makes his coaching debut at the High-A level as the team’s pitching coach. He spent last season as the pitching coach with Low-A Kannapolis. Former Major Leaguer Guillermo Quiroz will serve as an assistant coach to the staff.
The 2018 season begins on Thursday as the Dash clash with the Carolina Mudcats at 7 p.m. in Zebulon. N.C. The season opener will be broadcast live on WSJS Sports (600 AM and 101.5 FM), wsjssports.com and the TuneIn Radio App.
Winston-Salem’s home opener is set for Thursday, April 12, against Carolina. Single-game tickets and season-ticket packages are on sale now. For more information, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 or visit wsdash.com.
The Winston-Salem Dash are the Class-A Advanced Minor League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. To purchase tickets and for more information, please call 336-714-2287 or visit www.wsdash.com.