Welcome to a bit of a new year-end feature here at South Side Sox, postseason affiliate All-Star teams. In 2018, we introduced the MVP concept to the Minor League Updates, but didn’t do anything with the data. This year, I compiled the MVP votes for each affiliate game, ranked performances in order of value (on a day when seven affiliates played, Luis Robert going 3-for-3 with six RBIs would earn seven points, Tate Blackman going 1-for-4 with a double would earn one), and came up with our minor league All-Star teams.
Obviously, these All-Stars are subjective and based merely on individual MVP awards and not all-around season performance; thus players who were very hot and cold have an unfair advantage over the slow and steady performers. Still, with a few oddball exceptions, the results seem pretty true to form.
MVP voters this season at South Side Sox and South Side Hit Pen include Brett Ballantini, Darren Black, Julie Brady, Leonard Gore, Joe Resis, WSM, Tiffany Wintz and Year of the Hamster. Four days of results in July are missing, as Sox on 35th deleted our Minor League Updates after the site had been scolded for both censoring and “rebranding”/lifting our work, so this final tally is about 2% incomplete.
2019 Winston-Salem Dash All-Stars (MVP votes in parenthesis)
Catcher Evan Skoug (1)
First Base Jameson Fisher (26)
Second Base Nick Madrigal (16)
Third Base Tate Blackman (18)
Shortstop Mitch Roman (26)
Left Field Craig Dedelow (48)
Center Field Steele Walker (61)
Right Field Tyler Frost (33)
Designated Hitter Luis Robert (33)
Utility Player Jorgan Cavanerio (36)
Right-Handed Pitcher Blake Battenfield (44)
Left-Handed Pitcher Konnor Pilkington (28)
Points leader missing the cut Jonathan Stiever (34)
In Winston-Salem, we begin the stories of the two top hitting prospects in the system, and their “divided” season among the Dash, Barons and Knights. If Madrigal’s and Robert’s numbers here seem low, well, it’s because they are ... they only spent a third or so of the season in Winston-Salem. (And it’s worth noting that Madrigal drafting behind Robert as his teammate for most of the season at all these stops has dinged his MVP numbers overall ... it’s a tough shadow to be playing in!)
Worth noting is that Dash catching was so poor (Carlos Perez and Skoug, looking at you, guys), Skoug’s barely-there, one-time MVP performance in Winston-Salem made him the club’s “All-Star catcher.”
2019 Winston-Salem Player of the Year: Steele Walker
Despite spending a sixth of his season warming up at Kannapolis, Walker was the overwhelming team MVP choice. He had stretches this season where he was the game MVP for two, three, four games in a row, and was simply the go-to hitter in Winston-Salem all season. He played 81 errorless games for the Dash in center field, never moving to a corner for one inning all year. But it’s not to say that, statistically, Steele’s record was flawless. Walker’s offensive season was very steady, but was a little low on pop (10 HR, .426 slugging). He didn’t lead the Dash in any single offensive category (to be fair, guys like Fisher and Dedelow were in W-S all season). But overall, Walker is a rising star in the White Sox organization and should enter the offensive desert that is Birmingham in 2020.