The Winston-Salem Dash finished the regular season being both the First and Second half champions of the Carolina Southern League with a record of 84-54 while being led by first year manager, Omar Vizquel. Vizquel who is 51 years young, had himself quite the year. In his inaugural season, he led the Dash to their second highest win total in their short-lived decade long history. These accomplishments did not go unnoticed. Last Thursday, September 13, Omar was named Carolina League Manager of the Year. The most recent managers that have taken home this feat are Tommy Thompson (2012) and a more familiar face in White Sox Bench Coach, Joe McEwing (2009-2010).
Vizquel was a highly respected player during his 24 year career in the MLB, where he spent two of those years on the southside (2010-2011). As a perennial shortstop Gold Glover and potential Hall of Fame inductee, Omar was a phenomenal player. Omar has shown that he is not just a phenomenal player, but that he’s just as talented as a coach. Before landing the deal with the Dash, Vizquel was the first base coach for the Detroit Tigers from 2014-2017.
Managing the Dash this past season isn’t the only source in Vizquel’s managerial experience. In 2017 Omar managed the Venezuelan national team in the World Baseball classic. Although they preformed rather poorly, it gave Omar his first crack at managing Professional players. This turned out extremely beneficial. Major League players such as Hector Rondon and Victor Martinez voiced their approval for their manager.
The White Sox were thrilled to have signed him to their Class A affiliate. This was the best possible scenario he could have managed within the White Sox organzation. The Dash are loaded with talent with names on the team such as Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, Luis Robert, and newly drafted middle infielder, Nick Madrigal. These young kids could all one day be contributing on the White Sox major league roster and Omar being able to coach them right now is beneficial to their development. A manager with his talent and knowledge of the game will turn good players into great. Putting Vizquel with names like these could be a blueprint for something special coming to the South Side in just a few short years.
It is no secret the White Sox have under performed this season. No, the Sox were not expected to contend for a playoff spot, but a possible 100 loss season wasn’t the preseason outlook. With a record of 67-95 in 2017 all signs were pointing upwards for this young team. Currently sitting at 59-90 it is almost as if they have regressed. Starting pitching has been spotty all year besides the tremendous work from Carlos Rodon. A season like this and a bad first half start next year could put Manager Rick Renteria on the hot seat.
By no means has Ricky been doing a poor job at managing this young team. Besides leaving relievers in too long at times and the possible question of his benching of players, he has handled this rebuild the way you’d want a manager to. He was tasked with the hardest job in sports. He has to deal with growing pains with young players and fill in players that don’t necessarily belong in the MLB. All of this leads up to a recipe for disaster. Yet we have all seemed to gather behind the catchy phrase of “Ricky’s boys don’t quit”.
What does this mean for Vizquel and the White Sox Organization? The next Manager of the White Sox could be right under our noses in Winston-Salem. Like Renteria, Vizquel is of Hispanic heritage and can interact with players in Spanish and in English. He is a players-coach who has great relationships with his players and can offer a lot of first hand credibility to this team. His middle infield experience has already rubbed off on Nick Madrigal, what he could do with Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada is unimaginable. And best of all he is already managing a loaded core of prospects who should rocket through the system up to the big league level. Having a coach in the big leagues who is familiar with his players could help expand their development. Vizquel seems like the perfect fit, but will the White Sox make the switch?
Follow Anthony Pisarski on Twitter—Feature Photo Credit: Clinton Cole
Want to stay in the loop? Subscribe to Exclusive The Loop Sports content via Patreon.