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2013 Winston-Salem Dash: Season Preview

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High-A affiliate boasts White Sox top prospect

We start with the system's top prospect, Courtney Hawkins. High-A is an aggressive assignment for a 19 year-old who doesn't even have half a season of pro experience but the White Sox are known for pushing their prospects and his performance last season makes it hard to argue with their decision. Across three levels, he put up a .284/.324/.480 line and continued to pound the ball during the Carolina League playoffs. If he continues that, he won't be in Winston-Salem for long.

INF Joey DeMichele moves up to High-A after the 2012 3rd round pick had a good first pro season spent mostly at Kannapolis. The 22 year-old's offense should benefit from the friendlier park. A slight uptick in his walk rate (7.4%) and decrease in his strikeouts (21.1%) would be welcome.

C Kevan Smith rounds out the position players of note. While he came to baseball late, Smith is going to be 25 this season. He had a good cameo with the Dash at the end of last season - .273/.314/.494 in 86 plate appearances - and if he maintains that pace early in the season, the White Sox should get him to Birmingham quickly.

Given how I just talked about how quickly the White Sox push their prospects, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that RHP Chris Beck jumps over Kannapolis to start his first full pro season with the Dash. The 2012 2nd round pick was pretty hittable at Great Falls last season but the White Sox think that losing some of the muscle he put on prior to his disappointing junior year at Georgia Southern will help him get back the velocity he lost. He did look leaner during Spring Training than he did last season.