Knights Knotes — April 14, 2014

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: RHP Scott Carroll (3-0, 0.00) tossed seven scoreless innings, Tyler Saladino ripped three hits, and the Charlotte Knights shut out the Norfolk Tides 4-0 on Sunday in the finale of their three-game series from BB&T Ballpark. The win was Charlotte’s sixth of the season and second in three games on the homestand. Knights 2014 Media Day 1354

IL’s TOP PITCHER OF THE WEEK IS: Charlotte RHP Scott Carroll, who won both of his starts last week and did not allow an earned run over 13.0 innings pitched, was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week for the period of April 7-13. Carroll (3-0, 0.00) started the week with a solid performance at Durham on Tuesday, April 8. The Kansas City, MO native pitched six innings and allowed two unearned runs over four hits en route to his second win of the year. The Knights beat the Bulls 8-2 that day and Carroll improved to 2-0 on the season at that time. On Sunday, Carroll started for the Knights in front of 10,200 fans at BB&T Ballpark in the team’s three-game series finale with the Norfolk Tides. The 29-year-old was sharp again and tossed a season-high seven shutout innings. He needed just 76 pitches to get through seven innings and allowed just three hits and one walk over that span.  Overall this season, Carroll has not allowed an earned run in 19.0 innings pitched. He made his season debut on April 3 in Norfolk and allowed five hits over six scoreless innings for his first victory of the year. Carroll appeared in nine games with the Knights in 2012 – making eight starts for the team that season. He compiled a 2-3 record with a 3.78 ERA. During the offseason, Carroll had Tommy John surgery and spent the majority of 2013 recovering. He pitched in just 41.0 innings between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Double-A Birmingham last year.

LET’S BE FRANK: The Charlotte Knights added RHP Frank Francisco to their roster today after the righty was signed by the White Sox today and assigned to the Queen City. The 34-year-old spent the past two seasons in the Mets organization. Francisco spent the majority of the 2013 season on the DL with elbow issues stemming from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. He appeared in just eight games for the Mets and went 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA and one save. Francisco had 23 saves and a 5.53 ERA for the Mets in 48 appearances in 2012 – the first year of his two-year contract with the Mets.

HIP, HIP, HERNANDEZ: Knights new OF Gorkys Hernandez put on a clinic in his first start in Charlotte. Hernandez went 2-for-5 with a run, RBI, and a stolen-base. The 26-year-old Venezuelan native split the 2013 season between New Orleans (AAA) and Omaha (AAA). Hernandez appeared in four games with the Omaha Storm Chasers and was hitting .231 (3-for-13) with one RBI and two stolen bases.

TEKOTTE DOUBLE DIPS: After his second game with two doubles OF Blake Tekotte is now tied with teammate Matt Davidson and Bulls OF Jerry Sands for an IL leading six doubles in 2014. Tekotte hit two doubles at Durham on April 8th. With multiple doubles yesterday Tekotte makes it six times that a Knight has had multiple doubles in a game. Knights also lead the IL in doubles as a team with 27.

KNIGHTS ON-BASE MACHINES: SS Tyler Saladino extended his on-base streak to 10 games, which started on April 3.  Saladino ripped three hits and is now batting a team-high .417 on the season. He has a hit in eight of 10 games this season. Blake Tekotte has proven he is at home on the bases as well, totaling 18 home games in a row that he has found his way on base. Tekotte added two more doubles to his season total and now has six on the season. C Josh Phegley currently has an on-base streak of 13 game in a row, dating back to last season and started June 28th, 2013. Phegley has a 10 game on-base streak at home games alone, which dates back to June 3rd, 2013.

Knights Knotes – Game 4 of 144

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Tyler Saladino’s Saladino_Tylergo-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth inning proved to be the game-winner as the Charlotte Knights beat the Norfolk Tides 3-2 on Saturday in game three of their four-game series from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. Saladino, who also singled in the seventh inning and later came around to score the tying run, was Charlotte’s hero on Saturday. The win was Charlotte’s fourth over their last five games against Norfolk and seventh over their last 10 games with the Tides dating back to last season.

KNIGHTS VS. TIDES: The Knights went 10-11 last season against the Tides including a 5-5 record at Harbor Park. Since 1993, when the Knights joined the IL, the Knights have a 193-184 record overall against the Tides. At Harbor Park, the Knights are under .500 as the Tides have a 96-90 record against the Knights in Norfolk. The Knights as a team hit .244 last season against Norfolk and had 18 home runs and 94 RBIs in 21 games. Jordan Danks hit .271 last season against the Tides with one home run and four RBIs over 12 games. Deunte Heath did not allow a run in all five games he faced the Tides last season (7.2 IP).

THE TY GUY: Tyler Saladino’s game-winning ninth-inning single was the second big hit of the game for the young shortstop. Saladino, who singled in the seventh inning to ignite the offense when the team was trailing 2-1 — and later came around to score the tying run — went 2-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. Saladino has a hit in each of his two games this season and is 3-for-6 on the year with two runs scored and a double. Last season with Double-A Birmingham, Saldino had 26 multi-hit games.

ZACH ATTACK: Reliever Zach Putnam earned his first win of the season in last night’s game after a two-inning scoreless performance. The Charlotte reliever came on to start the eighth inning and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. In the ninth, Putnam got into a bit of a jam – loading the bases with two outs – but got Julio Borbon down on strikes to end the game. In all, Putnam fanned four batters over the two innings and allowed two hits and one walk.

DAN THE MAN: Dan Black continued his torrid pace to start the season on Saturday. Black had another two-hit performance – his second-consecutive of the year. He ripped two doubles and is now batting .455 (5-for-11) in three games this season. While with Double-A Birmingham last year, Black had two games in which he hit two doubles in a game and had 28 doubles last season.

TEAM ERA: As a team, the Charlotte Knights have a 2.08 ERA – good for fourth-best in the International League this season. After three games, the Knights have allowed six runs on 23 hits over 26.0 IP. Starters Scott Carroll (6.0 IP) and Andre Rienzo (5.0 IP) did not allow a run in each of their starts, while Saturday’s starter Eric Surkamp allowed just two runs (6.0 IP). The other four runs were allowed by reliever Mitchell Boggs (1.0 IP) on Friday.

FAMILIAR FACES: 16 of the 24 active players currently on the Charlotte Knights roster have spent time with the team in the past. Jordan Danks has spent the most time with the franchise as he enters his fifth season with the club. In fact, Danks has appeared in more games with the Knights than ever player to ever don the Knights uniform except for one – Joe Borchard. Borchard played in a franchise record 447 games, while Danks has appeared in 372. He needs 75 to tie and 76 more to break the record. The 2014 season marks the fourth season for Josh Phegley with the Knights, while it marks the third for Dylan Axelrod, who is the all-time franchise leader in ERA with a Knights career mark of 2.58. Currently, Axelrod would line up to pitch the BB&T Ballpark opener on Friday, April 11th. Deunte Heath (4), Charlie Leesman (3), and Hector Gimenez (3) are a few of the other recognizable faces in Charlotte in 2014. RHP Jake Petricka – a returnee from last season – was the first to be recalled to the White Sox.

Knights Knotes – Game 2 of 144

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS (1-0, 2014, T-1st) (65-78, 3rd South – 2013) @
NORFOLK TIDES (0-1- 2014, T-3rd) (77-67, 2nd South – 2013)

TODAY’S PROBABLES
CHA RHP Andre Rienzo (1st start) @ NOR RHP Kevin Gausman (1st start)

UPCOMING PROBABLES

SAT: CHA LHP Eric Surkamp (1st start) @ NOR RHP Steve Johnson (1st start)
SUN: CHA RHP Dylan Axelrod (1st start) @ NOR LHP T.J. McFarland (1st start)
MON: CHA LHP Charlie Leesman (1st start) @ DUR LHP Erik Bedard (1st start)

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: RHP Scott Carroll (1-0, 0.00) allowed just five hits over six scoreless innings, Jared Mitchell Knights 2014 Media Day 079provided the punch with a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and the Charlotte Knights shut out the Norfolk Tides by a score of 3-0 on Opening Day from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA on Thursday. The win was Charlotte’s third straight over Norfolk dating back to last season. Mitchell, 25, launched a two-out, two-run blast off Norfolk starter Eddie Gamboa (0-1, 3.60) to give the Knights a 2-0 lead. It was Mitchell’s second home run as a Knight – he hit one in 2012 in 36 G. Gamboa made a spot start for the Tides as scheduled starter Kevin Gausman was scratched just hours before the game. Gausman will start tonight’s game in his 2014 season debut.

PETRICKA PROMOTED: Charlotte right-handed pitcher Jake Petricka, who compiled a 2-0 record with a 1.17 ERA in 10 games for the Knights last season, was recalled to Chicago today. Petricka, who has yet to pitch this season, becomes the first Knights player to earn a promotion to the White Sox this year. In 2013, 21 Knights received a promotion to Chicago. Petricka, 25, made his Major League debut with the White Sox on August 22, 2013 at Kansas City. The Northfield, MN native compiled a 1-1 record with a 3.26 ERA in 16 games for Chicago. He was originally selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2010 draft. He will replace RHP Nate Jones, who was placed on the disabled list today by Chicago.

OVER .500: With their Opening Day win last night, the Knights are over the .500 mark for the first time in over a year. The 2013 Knights were never at or over the .500 mark. The last time the Knights were over .500 was during the 2012 season when the finished the year 83-61 and were winners of the IL South Division.

THRICE IS NICE: 3B Matt Davidson had a solid day at the plate in yesterday’s game, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Davidson is ranked by Baseball America as the fourth-best prospect in the White Sox system. It was the most hits he had in a game since September 2, 2013 when he had four hits. He had eight games of three hits or more last year with Reno (one four-hit game). In five Minor League seasons, Davidson has compiled a .268 batting average with 80 home runs and 374 RBIs. Last season with Triple-A Reno, the California native hit .280 with 17 home runs and 74 RBIs. He won the ‘13 All-Star HR Derby.

TRIP, TRIP, HOORAY: Josh Phegley tripled in the ninth inning of last night’s season opener and came around to score on Matt Davison’s RBI single. For Phegley, it was his first triple since May 27, 2013. It was just the fifth triple of his Minor League career.

PURCEY FOR THE SAVE: LHP David Purcey threw two scoreless, hitless innings last night to notch his first save of the season and the fourth in his Knights career (he had three last season). Purcey appeared in 26 games for the Knights a season ago and posted a 0-2 record with a 3.03 ERA.

Knights Open Tonight in Norfolk

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS (0-0, 2014) (65-78, 3rd South – 2013)
@ Norfolk Tides (0-0, 2014) (77-67, 2nd South – 2013)

Norfolk, VA ~ Harbor Park – 7:05 PM (Game 1 of 4) (Game 1 of 144)

TODAY’S PROBABLES

THU: CHA RHP Scott Carroll (0-2, 4.32, BIR, 2013)
@ NOR RHP Eddie Gamboa (2-5, 6.23, NOR, 2013)

THE NEW LOOK KNIGHTS: It was a busy offseason for the Charlotte Knights franchise. The team underwent a number of Knights 2014 Media Day 971cosmetic changes – as well as a zip code change. First, the team officially changed their colors and logo set on October 24, 2013. The Knights added four new logos – all designed by Brandiose — and came up with entirely new colors. The new design starts with a metallic gold-colored letter “C” in the form of a horse’s tail wrapped around a Knights armored helmet topped off with a crown signifying the Queen City of Charlotte. Queen Charlotte’s crown appears again in the team’s name in the letter “H”. The road hat incorporates a jousting Knight on horseback oriented horizontally across the front of the cap crown. Both the alternate and batting practice caps feature artistic versions of the letter “K” with swords. The alternate cap also introduces a dragon into the team’s portfolio.

A NEW KINGDOM FOR THE KNIGHTS: On September 14, 2012, the Charlotte Knights broke ground on BB&T Ballpark – their new Uptown Charlotte home which is set to officially open its gates on Friday, April 11th. The $54 million ballpark, which has a capacity of 10,200, is located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte.

FROM THE BEGINNING: The Knights last played in Charlotte during the 1988 season. That season was the first year of the Knights franchise after spending the previous 12 seasons as the Charlotte O’s. From 1976-1987, the O’s were owned by the Crockett family and the team played at Crockett Park in Charlotte. After the 1987 season, the Crocketts sold the team to George Shinn and he immediately made changes. There was a name-the-team contest – in which the new name was Knights and Crockett Park became Knights Park. A year later (1989), the Knights moved across the state line to Fort Mill, SC. They played in a temporary facility in Fort Mill until 1990 when they opened Knights Castle.

THE FINALE AT THE CASTLE: After 24 seasons at Knights Stadium, the Knights played their final game at the Castle on September 2, 2013 and beat the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 4-0. Charlotte began playing there in 1990 as a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs before moving to Triple-A in 1993 and as an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. After two years with Cleveland (93-94), the Knights switched affiliates again, this time becoming the Triple-A team for the Florida Marlins from 1995-1998. The Chicago White Sox entered the picture in 1999 and have been the parent team ever since. A six-year extension (through 2020) of the PDC was signed in December.

FAMILIAR FACES: 17 of the 25 active players on the Charlotte Knights Opening Day roster have spent time with the team in the past. Jordan Danks has spent the most time with the franchise as he enters his fifth season with the club. In fact, Danks has appeared in more games with the Knights than ever player to ever don the Knights uniform except for one – Joe Borchard. Borchard played in a franchise record 447 games, while Danks has appeared in 370. He needs 77 to tie and 78 to break the record. The 2014 season marks the fourth season for Josh Phegley with the Knights, while it marks the third for Dylan Axelrod, who is the all-time franchise leader in ERA with a Knights career mark of 2.58. Currently, Axelrod would line up to pitch the BB&T Ballpark opener on Friday, April 11th. Deunte Heath (4), Charlie Leesman (3), and Hector Gimenez (3) are a few of the other recognizable faces in Charlotte in 2014.

WELCOME MATT: 3B Matt Davidson is ranked by Baseball America as the fourth-best prospect in the White Sox system and he starts the year with the Knights. Davidson is a newcomer to the organization after coming over from Arizona in a trade for closer Addison Reed on December 16, 2013. In five Minor League seasons, Davidson has compiled a .268 batting average with 80 home runs and 374 RBIs. Last season with Triple-A Reno, the California native hit .280 with 17 home runs and 74 RBIs. He won the ‘13 All-Star HR Derby.

Javy Guerra Outrighted to the Knights

As the month of March winds down, we are now just days away from knowing who will don one of the new Knights uniforms for the 2014 season. With the season opener set for April 3 in Norfolk, the team roster should be finalized soon. JavyGuerra

On Friday, March 28, reliever Javy Guerra was outrighted to Charlotte. The move comes just days after Guerra was claimed by the White Sox off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Guerra being outrighted, he was removed from the 40-man roster — giving the White Sox 39 players now on their 40-man roster as they near Opening Day.

As for Guerra, he is just a few seasons removed from being entrenched as the closer of the Dodgers. In 2011, Guerra notched a team-high 21 saves and posted a solid 2.31 ERA as a rookie. In parts of three big league seasons, Guerra owns a record of 4-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 29 saves.

The 28-year-old should be a solid addition to the Knights bullpen, which should also include RHP Jake Petricka, who was optioned to the Knights back on March 23. Guerra and Petricka could both see significant time in the ninth inning this season for Charlotte.

Two other players that may have been ticketed for Charlotte this season are now out of the organization. LHP Spencer Arroyo was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization for cash, while infielder Eric Patterson was released.

Phegley Fever

The Knight Fever blog has “Phegley Fever” this week — and for good reason.cactus_st_logo

On Wednesday, March 19, catcher Josh Phegley was one of three White Sox players optioned to the Charlotte Knights. The other two players were RHP Andre Rienzo, who tossed a seven-inning no-hitter with the Knights last season, and LHP Eric Surkamp, who has spent parts of five seasons in the San Francisco Giants system. I’ll have more about each of these players in upcoming blogs.

As for Phegley, he had a breakout 2013 campaign with the Knights before making his Major League debut on July 5 with the White Sox. Phegley, 26, was hitting .315 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs for the Knights at the time of his promotion. He was selected to the International League All-Star Team, but due to the promotion, he didn’t get a chance to play. His All-Star selection was just one of the numerous achievements he has accomplished while with Charlotte.

In 2012, Phegley racked up a Minor League Baseball Rawlings Gold Glove Award and he also won the Charlotte Knights inaugural Community Award. A year later, Phegley was named to the All Knights Stadium Team. He was presented with a plaque before the game on Opening Day.

(L to R) Jordan Danks, Josh Phegley, and Ross Gload accept their awards on Opening Day, 2013.

(L to R) Jordan Danks, Josh Phegley, and Ross Gload accept their awards on Opening Day, 2013.

Since being drafted by the White Sox in the 2009 draft, Phegley has put together a solid Minor League career. The Indiana native has spent five seasons in the minors — compiling a .263 batting average with 44 home runs and 204 RBIs. His 15 home runs with the Knights (through just 61 games) is a season-high for him. His previous season-high was nine.

Defensively, Phegley has just 21 errors over his five seasons in the minors. He’s thrown out 114 runners over that span and has a caught stealing percentage of 46%.

There’s no telling how long Phegley will be with the Knights this season. If he gets off to the kind of start he got off to in 2013 — he shouldn’t be in Charlotte too long.

Currently, former Knights catcher Tyler Flowers is the starting catcher for the White Sox, but Phegley is next in line. For now, Phegley is in Charlotte to play every day, but if Flowers struggles in Chicago, the Indiana University product would once again get the call.

Knights fans coming out to BB&T Ballpark this season will get a chance to see Josh Phegley behind the plate on a regular basis. He will certainly make the Knights a much stronger team both offensively and defensively. An exciting season in Uptown Charlotte just got more exciting with the addition of Josh Phegley. See you on April 11th.

Two Home Runs and a Bobblehead!

It was another slugfest on Tuesday, March 18th as the Chicago White Sox lost to the Oakland A’s by a score of 16-6. Jose Quintana started for the South Siders and left in the first inning without getting an out. In all, he allowed nine runs, seven hits, and two walks in the first inning. It was a tough day on the mound for the talented youngster.

For one player, however, Tuesday was a very memorable day at the plate:

Charlotte Knights vs Norfolk Tides 4-7-2012 2339

Jordan Danks has been a bright spot for the White Sox during this year’s Spring Training. Danks — a Charlotte Knights legend — mashed two home runs on Tuesday to give him a team-high four this spring. He also added three RBIs and now has nine during Spring Training — another White Sox high. Overall, the 27-year-old is hitting .361 with 13 hits.

Danks, who has spent parts of the past four seasons with the Knights, is looking to make the White Sox roster out of camp and this time stick in the Majors. Of course, he brings a solid glove with him to the White Sox and can play all three outfield positions. The Austin, Texas native won the 2011 Rawlings Minor League Baseball Gold Glove Award while with the Knights and has flashed the leather on many occasions during his time with Charlotte.

With a current White Sox outfield consisting of Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, Dayan Viciedo, and Alejandro De Aza, Danks is certainly battling for a spot this year. All five are on Chicago’s 40-man roster.

Over the past two seasons, Danks has 129 Major League games under his belt. As for his Knights career, the University of Texas at Austin product is among the all-time Charlotte Knights franchise leaders in a number of categories and he could continue to climb up those lists this season if he is in Charlotte.

danks

Whether Danks is in Chicago, or in Charlotte, one thing is for certain, on August 19th the first 2,000 fans will receive a Jordan Danks bobblehead, thanks to Horizon Eye Care.

Buy Tickets for August 19.

Here’s an early photo of the Danks bobblehead. While it is still in the early stages, this bobblehead is going to be a must-have for any Charlotte Knights or Chicago White Sox fan.

I’ll have a few more looks at this collector’s item as the week’s go on. It’s the only bobblehead of the season, so make sure to get tickets to this game for a chance to obtain this one-of-a-kind bobble.

Mike McDade Released

Mike McDade is going back to the organization he started with. After spending the majority of the 2013 season with the Charlotte Knights, McDade was released by the White Sox on Thursday and was immediately picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays. mcdade

McDade, 24, was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 6th round of the 2007 draft. The Las Vegas, Nevada native worked his way through the Toronto system for six seasons from 2007-2012 and had some impressive seasons in the lower levels. He hit 70 home runs over four seasons combined (2009-2012).

However, in November of 2012, he was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays and claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians. He began the 2013 campaign with the Columbus Clippers — but switched dugouts that May.

McDade was hitting .230 through 21 games to start the 2013 season. In May, the 6’1″ slugger was designated for assignment by Cleveland and claimed by the White Sox. With the Knights in Columbus for a four-game series against the Clippers, McDade didn’t have to go too far. He switched clubhouses and made his Knights debut on May 7.

In 94 games for the Knights last year, he hit .254 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. This offseason, McDade was removed from Chicago’s 40-man roster in December and went to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. He appeared in four games for the South Siders this spring and hit .400 (2-for-5) with an RBI.

The White Sox are crowded at the first base position — both at the Major League level and even at the Minor League level. They signed Cuban sensation Jose Abreu this offseason, brought back Paul Konerko, and still have Adam Dunn on their Major League roster.

Andy Wilkins and Alex Liddi are two other first baseman in camp. Both are non-roster invitees. Wilkins is currently batting .500 (7-for-14) with four runs scored, one home run, and five RBIs this spring. Liddi is hitting .267 (4-for-15) with two runs scored, one double, one triple, one home run and three RBIs. Dan Black is also a first baseman in the White Sox system who is climbing the ranks. Black hit .290 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs last season for Double-A Birmingham. Black has 52 home runs combined over his last three seasons.

Stay tuned for more updates as we near the start of baseball season. The Knights open the season on the road at Norfolk on April 3.

Latest White Sox Roster Moves

As the 2014 season nears, the Chicago White Sox continued to whittle down their roster to get to the necessary 25 players.cactus_st_logo

On Friday, March 14, the Sox optioned three players down to Charlotte. With the moves, the White Sox roster (as of March 14), sits at 44 players. Two of the three players that were optioned down have seen time with the Knights at some point in their careers, while the third is a newcomer to the organization. The White Sox optioned LHP Frank De Los Santos, RHP Nestor Molina and INF Carlos Sanchez to Charlotte.

Let’s go in-depth about infielder Carlos Sanchez, who is no stranger to the Charlotte Knights.

Carlos SanchezCarlos Sanchez, 21, spent a full season at the Triple-A level in 2013 with the Knights and it looks as if the youngster will start the 2014 campaign back in Charlotte. Ranked as the 12th-best prospect in the White Sox system by Baseball America, Sanchez is looking for a bounce-back season this year — one that will put him on the right path to Chicago.

It was a special year for Sanchez in 2012. The Venezuelan middle infielder made his way swiftly through the White Sox system — starting the year with High-A Winston Salem. In 92 games for the Dash, Sanchez hit .315 with one home run, 42 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases. He tied for the Carolina League lead in batting average (.315) and ranked fifth in on-base percentage with a .374 mark.

Sanchez was promoted to Double-A Birmingham on July 21, 2012 and continued to rake. In 30 games with the Barons, he hit .370 (44-for-119). A month after being promoted to Birmingham, the dream season continued and he was on his way to Fort Mill to make his Triple-A debut with the Knights.

In 11 games with the Knights in 2012 — right around the team’s stretch run — Sanchez hit .256 (10-for-39) with two doubles and an RBI. He played seven more games that year in the playoffs as the Knights made a run at their third Governors’ Cup Championship. He batted .174 (4-for-23) with three runs scored and two RBIs. The Knights fell just short — losing to Pawtucket in the finals — but all and all, it was a stellar year for the 20-year-old.

Sanchez began the 2013 season ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the White Sox organization. The publication also recognized him as the Best Hitter for Average and the Best Defensive Infielder in the system. While he battled for a spot on the White Sox roster out of Spring Training, Sanchez started the season with the Knights and spent the entire year there. He played both second base and shortstop for the Knights and hit .241 with 104 hits, 50 runs scored, 28 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases.

Now, in 2014, Sanchez will look to replicate his 2012 breakout campaign and will look to continue to climb the organizational ladder. At 21 years old, his future is very bright and he’s close to taking that next step. Stay tuned…

Zach Stewart Traded…

On Monday, March 10th, the White Sox dealt RHP Zach Stewart to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations. Stewart, 26, spent the entire 2013 season with the Charlotte Knights and posted a 6-14 record with a 4.25 ERA. The Texas native made 28 starts for the Knights — the most on the club for the season. He also led the team in innings pitched (167.1), hits allowed (187), runs allowed (89), and strikeouts (122). Stewart_Zach

Originally a third-round pick of the Reds in the 2008 draft, Stewart led the International League in innings pitched, batters faced (702), and at-bats against (654). While it was an up-and-down season for Stewart, he did finish it off in style. He also helped the Knights close down Knights Stadium — their 24-year-old home — in winning fashion.

On September 2, 2013, the Charlotte Knights hosted the Gwinnett Braves in the final game ever at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill. The Knights played 24 years at “The Castle” and 25 overall years in Fort Mill. On September 2, the team hosted the G-Braves in the last ever game there and Stewart got the nod for the Knights.

The former Cincinnati farmhand turned in his best outing of the season against Gwinnett — a team he could pitch for in 2014. He allowed one walk and 10 hits over eight shutout innings for his sixth and final win of the 2013 campaign. His name will forever go down in history as the last winning pitcher at Knights Stadium. The Knights shut out the Braves for the 4-0 win. It was a perfect ending to a historic ballpark.

The Texas Tech University product enters the 2014 season with a career Minor League mark of 27-33 with a 3.49 ERA in 140 games over six seasons. In parts of two seasons at the Major League level, Stewart owns a 3-10 record with a 6.82 ERA in 33 games.

I’ll keep an eye on Stewart this offseason and see where he ends up as the year goes on. If he does end up with Gwinnett, the Knights host the Braves at BB&T Ballpark from April 16-18. Stay tuned!

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