Zach Remillard of the Winston-Salem Dash knows what it’s like to show that he can play at all levels of baseball. He’s done it since high school.
Remillard, a 25-year-old from Cohoes, N.Y., played in high school at LaSalle Institute before playing collegiately at Coastal Carolina, where he helped the Chanticleers win the NCAA College World Series in 2016. He was then drafted by the parent Chicago White Sox in the 10th round just before the College World Series.
Now in his fourth season in the White Sox organization and second with the Dash, he’s still having to prove himself.
“The opportunity the organization has given me to play shortstop every day is a tremendous chance to show what I can do,” said Remillard. “You can’t worry too much about the level or where you’re at. Wherever the organization sees you and gives you ABs (at-bats) every day you have to take that opportunity and play your game.”
He played in the Arizona Rookie League for the White Sox in 2016, where he batted .310. He was promoted to Low-A Kannapolis of the South Atlantic League later that season. While with the Intimidators, Remillard batted .227 in 31 games. He played the entire 2017 season with the Intimidators, batting .246 in 133 games.
Despite the low batting average, Remillard was promoted to High-A Winston-Salem before the start of last season. Playing 110 games with the Dash last season, he hit .250 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs.
“He knows his swing. He knows his contact point. Like when he gets in a rut he can get out of it quick. He studies the game so closely,” said hitting coach Jamie Dismuke of the Dash, who was Remillard’s hitting coach with Kannapolis in 2017. “He’s a great guy to have. I had him two years ago. And to have him again, I’m excited for what he’s doing right now because he’s a great talent.”
All that hard work is paying off this season for the Dash. Remillard has played 54 games with the Dash through Thursday’s 5-2 win against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He’s batting .309 with 12 doubles, three homers and 28 RBIs. He’s playing so well that he has a good chance of making the Carolina League All-Star Game, which is scheduled for June 18, in Frederick, Md.
“It would mean a lot,” Remillard said if he were to make the all-star team. “It’s not something I shoot for every year. Like I don’t try to make the all-star team or hit a certain average. I just try to wake up every day and prepare myself the right way and play the game the right way.
“And if that leads to an all-star selection that would be a tremendous opportunity. But if it doesn’t, I will continue to put my head down and play hard and do whatever I can to help the organization.”
The prospects of Remillard possibly making the Southern Division all-stars in the Carolina League All-Star Game put a smile on Dismuke’s face.
“I would absolutely love it,” Dismuke said. “In my opinion he deserves to be, but we can’t vote for our own players. I don’t see anybody better than him in this league.”
Remillard has played three different positions for the Dash this season − first, second and shortstop. However, he’s played 50 games at shortstop through Thursday’s win. In 235 chances he has 77 putouts, 143 assists and has 15 errors and a .936 fielding percentage.
“I’m here and playing shortstop in pro ball for the first time, actually,” Remillard said. “I had one start at shortstop prior to this year in my previous three years. I definitely know that’s part of the process and kind of learning a new spot and the details of it, and just getting more comfortable with it.”
Although playing shortstop as a professional is something new, it’s not totally foreign to him.
“I’ve played infield my whole life. I played a lot of shortstop growing up in high school and stuff,” Remillard said. “It came back pretty quick, but there’s definitely certain aspects of the game that I’m improving upon and continue to work hard with the (Manager Justin) Jirschele every single day on the different mechanics of fielding.”
It’s possible that Remillard could be called up to Class-AA Birmingham by the end of the season.
“It’s exciting to see all his hard work pay off,” Dismuke said. “Like I said, hopefully it pays off and he won’t be here long. But like I said, we don’t have any control over that. But he’s very solid.”
No matter whether Remillard gets promoted to Birmingham or not this season, he’s just enjoying the ride of being a minor-league baseball player.
“You have to stick with the process,” he said. “You have to focus on the present moment and what you have in front of you. Going into spring training this year I didn’t know I was going to end up back in Winston-Salem, but I’m here and it’s a better opportunity than I had in mind for me. I leave my path up to faith and I try to be the best person I can be every day.”