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OnBaseMachine
04-05-2009, 12:00 AM
Dragons have sent 31 players to big leagues

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Sunday, April 05, 2009

DAYTON — When the Dayton Dragons were born as a Class A member of the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, the Reds made sure to stock the team with some of their best prospects, including outfielders Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn.

That's not the case entering year 10. For the first time, not one of Baseball America's Top 30 prospects has been assigned to the Dragons.

"The club is what it is," said Reds farm director Terry Reynolds, attending the Reds vs. Futures game at Fifth Third Field Saturday, April 4. "We'll see how this team does."

Earlier, Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty said, "Developing players is our primary goal, but winning is part of the process. It's important to teach these players how to win."

While the Dragons have sent 31 players to the major leagues (26 to the Reds), their overall record in the Midwest League ranks 11th out of 14 franchises. At the same time, the Reds have produced eight losing seasons.

This year's Dragons include pitchers Leonardo Astorga, Mike Bohana, Drew Bowman, Oscar Castro, Matt Fairel, Scott Gaffney, Aguido Gonzalez, Jordan Hotchkiss, Lance Janke, Curtis Partch, Josh Ravin and Mace Thurman. The catchers are Kevin Coddington and Jordan Wideman; infielders Humberto Sosa, Kyle Day, Miguel Rojas, Frank Pfister, Jose Gualdron and Cody Puckett and outfielders David Sappelt, Tony Brown, Byron Wiley, Brandon Menchaca and Tyler Stovall.

Only three of those players were chosen in the first 10 rounds of their draft, including Ravin (No. 5 in 2006), Puckett (No. 8 last year) and Sappelt (No. 9 last year).

Looking Red

Former Reds were all over the place, including outfielder Eric Davis, an instructor in spring training who also threw out the first pitch, infielder and manager Tommy Helms, pitcher Jim O'Toole and outfielder Ken Griffey Sr., who also works with the organization as a roving instructor.

Coaches begin duties

New Dragons manager Todd Benzinger managed the Futures team along with pitching coach Tony Fossas and hitting coach Tony Jaramillo. Originally, Rigo Beltran was to be the Dragons pitching coach, but he was moved to the Carolina team when Tom Browning was arrested for nonpayment of child support. The Reds have not decided what to do with Browning, but Fossas, originally scheduled to be with the rookie Gulf Coast League team, will stay with the Dragons.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/dragons/2009/04/05/ddn040509spfuturesnotes.html

OnBaseMachine
04-05-2009, 12:09 AM
Of the Reds four full season teams, Dayton looks to clearly be the weakest. This confirms that Neftali Soto and Devin Mesoraco will begin the season in High-A Sarasota. I was kind of hoping they would send Mesoraco back to Dayton for a month or so, but he's had a good spring which probably led to their decision to start him in Sarasota. Kyle Lotzkar and Juan Carlos Sulbaran should join Dayton sometime in mid-April or so. A rotation of Lotzkar, Sulbaran, Fairel, Castro, and Ravin should be interesting.

Kyle Day and Cody Puckett headline the infielders. The outfield looks to be pretty good with David Sappelt and Byron Wiley. I like Wiley a lot, he could turn out to be a major steal. He's a 5-tool talent. Tony Brown has some intriguing power but he needs to improve his plate discipline.

Again, I think Dayton is probably the weakest of the Reds four full season teams, but Lotzkar and Sulbaran will make them a lot more interesting. Both are expected to stay back in extended spring training for a week or so and then they'll be assigned to Dayton.

RED VAN HOT
04-05-2009, 12:20 AM
Does this mean that Alex Buchholz will skip low A and go straight to Sarasota?

OnBaseMachine
04-05-2009, 12:22 AM
Does this mean that Alex Buchholz will skip low A and go straight to Sarasota?

That's a good question. I completely forgot about him. It looks like the Reds may put him on the Danny Dorn path, i.e. skip Dayton and go straight from Billings to Sarasota. IMO his bat is good enough to make the jump. The Sarasota infield should be very good with Neftali Soto at third, Alex Buchholz at second, Yonder Alonso at first base, and Devin Mesoraco behind the plate. Zach Cozart is starting in Double-A, so I'm not sure who will play shortstop.

dougdirt
04-05-2009, 03:48 AM
Does this mean that Alex Buchholz will skip low A and go straight to Sarasota?

Buchholz will indeed be in Sarasota.

JaxRed
04-05-2009, 10:04 AM
I wonder if Michael Konstanty (10 HR at Billings) is jumping to Sarasota also or is staying at Billings (or is hurt)?

Scrap Irony
04-05-2009, 10:44 AM
Konstanty is likey making the jump, too. Sarasota looks to be interesting this season.

The batting order:

Kel Jones/ Phipps CF
Bucholz 2b
Neftali Soto 3b
Alonso 1b
Konstanty RF
Mesoraco C
Kainer LF
Tordi/ Castro SS

Kind of loses steam after Mesoraco. All four OFs have tools. Unfortunately, they all possess one or two, but not much more than that. Konstanty and Kainer are darkhorses for decent production. There isn't a SS that makes sense. At all. Perhaps Cincinnati is receiving an Astro SS for A+, as the PTBNL in the Keppinger deal? Maybe this is where the Rule V guy loaned to Mexico is going to go, assuming his parent team doesn't want him back.

Bucholz did play SS in college. Maybe he goes back to that position? According the the paper, both he and the Billings SS last season--Miguel Rojas-- could play the position, but the Billings manager thought Rojas' glove better. Too, Bucholz would be better served as he moved up the ladder as a 2b. Maybe he plays SS in Sarasota?

Either way, it's disturbing to see how few prospects are SSs in the Cincinnati system. If Cozart doesn't pan out-- and it's certainly questionable to think he may-- there's nothing there, there.

JaxRed
04-05-2009, 11:07 AM
I would think Reed is more likely the 3rd Outfielder. I would guess Konstanty to be backup till Alonso moves up.

redsof72
04-05-2009, 11:29 AM
Konstanty is staying in extended. He lost a battle with Humberto Sosa for the first base job in Dayton. Word was that Sosa hit the ball better than anyone on the club in spring training.

Interesting that Cozart starts in Carolina. Good for Zack.

camisadelgolf
04-05-2009, 12:02 PM
Does Humberto Sosa remind you of Javy Valentin at all? Sure, they've both spent some time at catcher, but Sosa seems like another one of those pudgy guys with an uppercut swing.

redsof72
04-05-2009, 01:20 PM
Physically, yes. I actually saw Valentin in the Midwest League in '95 and he was a blue chip prospect at that time. I saw him hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game. I think he was 19 or 20 years old. Off memory, wasn't he a second round pick? Sosa was in Dayton briefly in 2008 and never really got a chance. He hit .304 in the GCL, which translates to about a buck sixty in the MWL, but folks are saying he knocked the cover off the ball in spring training. Talk about a dark horse. If you had told me that the Dayton team would not have Soto or Buchholz and that Sosa would be the guy they were looking at as a big hitter, I would have said that Benzinger will have his hands full. We will see.

camisadelgolf
04-05-2009, 01:31 PM
Oh, I wouldn't say he's the next Valentin--I just see some similarities. And yeah, Valentin was an early-round draft pick (2nd or 3rd round pick of the Twins iIrc). It doesn't surprise me at all that the Reds like Sosa, though, because he has been given more chances than a lot of guys with similar production.

redsof72
04-05-2009, 01:45 PM
Interesting note: Ben Davis will be the closer at Sarasota.

camisadelgolf
04-05-2009, 01:53 PM
That's very interesting. Do you have any idea where he's at on the radar gun?

JayBruceFan
04-05-2009, 04:08 PM
Josh Ravin?

Seriously?

camisadelgolf
04-05-2009, 04:20 PM
Josh Ravin?

Seriously?
:dunno:

dougdirt
04-05-2009, 05:58 PM
Josh Ravin?

Seriously?

What are you saying exactly?

JayBruceFan
04-05-2009, 06:00 PM
Im surprised he wasn't released over the winter

He isn't that good

dougdirt
04-05-2009, 06:03 PM
Im surprised he wasn't released over the winter

He isn't that good

He is 20 years old and can hit 98 MPH on the gun. You don't release guys like that. You hold on to them and hope they can find their control.

camisadelgolf
04-05-2009, 06:10 PM
I'm sorry to nitpick, but I thought he turned 21 earlier this year.

dougdirt
04-05-2009, 06:15 PM
I'm sorry to nitpick, but I thought he turned 21 earlier this year.

Its fine.... I didn't look. Either way, you still don't release an arm like that. Not at a young age.

redsof72
04-05-2009, 08:34 PM
Ravin reportedly showed improved command in spring training. His velocity last season in Dayton was nowhere near what the reputation indicated. He generally pitched at 90-91. He would pop a 93 once or twice a night.

dougdirt
04-05-2009, 10:07 PM
Ravin reportedly showed improved command in spring training. His velocity last season in Dayton was nowhere near what the reputation indicated. He generally pitched at 90-91. He would pop a 93 once or twice a night.

Well as scouts say, if you can do it once, you have the ability to do it again. Ravin wasn't working anywhere near that 95+ range, but he certainly has the ability to hit 95+ as he has done it before.

Hopefully his command is better this season. He had some rough times last year at finding the strikezone. Its like one inning he had some control then the next he just couldn't find the plate. I didn't get to see him much, so I can't say that maybe his mechanics were inconsistent, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was something like that holding him back last season.

redsof72
04-06-2009, 09:00 AM
Needless to say, this is a make or break year for Ravin. He has to show some improvement.

The Reds said goodbye to a couple of big investments last week when they released Arneson and Conatser. Ravin would be the next if he doesn't start to show something.

camisadelgolf
04-06-2009, 12:59 PM
Needless to say, this is a make or break year for Ravin. He has to show some improvement.

The Reds said goodbye to a couple of big investments last week when they released Arneson and Conatser. Ravin would be the next if he doesn't start to show something.
Are you sure Conatser was released? Here is what Baseball America said last week:
Cincinnati Reds
Released: RHP Rafael Ceballos, RHP Juan Rafael, RHP Efrain Rodriguez, RHP Jeremy Vinyard, RHP Dan Zeffiro, LHP Jamie Arneson, LHP Aaron Fultz, C Todd Waller, 1B Mike McKennon, 1B Daryle Ward, 2B Darrick Hale
Traded: 2B Drew Anderson to Rays for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ramon Ramirez, 2B Danny Richar

OnBaseMachine
04-06-2009, 11:54 PM
Are you sure Conatser was released? Here is what Baseball America said last week:
Cincinnati Reds
Released: RHP Rafael Ceballos, RHP Juan Rafael, RHP Efrain Rodriguez, RHP Jeremy Vinyard, RHP Dan Zeffiro, LHP Jamie Arneson, LHP Aaron Fultz, C Todd Waller, 1B Mike McKennon, 1B Daryle Ward, 2B Darrick Hale
Traded: 2B Drew Anderson to Rays for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Ramon Ramirez, 2B Danny Richar

Cincinnati Reds
Released: RHP Derrick Conatser, RHP Enrique Garcia, RHP Justin James, RHP Luis Pardo, LHP Ron Flores, LHP David Torcise, C Eddy Rodriguez, OF Adam Greenberg, OF Jacque Jones
Recalled: OF Norris Hopper
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Daryl Thompson, OF Norris Hopper
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: OF Norris Hopper

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=3076#more-3076

OnBaseMachine
04-06-2009, 11:55 PM
More whining from Marc Katz:

Reds don't pay enough attention to Dragons' performance

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Monday, April 06, 2009

If you had enough money to own a major league baseball team, what kind would you want to have: one that won games and made money or one that lost games and lost money?

That's an easy one. How about one that won the pennant and World Series and lost $10 million, or a team that was just okay but made $10 million?

I use this to illustrate a point not often made by general managers. They think their only goal is to win, but finances often drive a team — say Florida — to tear up a champion just to save some bucks.

Trying to win and be cost efficient drives the Reds, but you've got to wonder if they're on a 3-year, 5-year, 10-year or 20-year plan. They have developed players for their major league team, and have, but seemingly don't pay any attention to winning at the minor league level. Players are promoted in the middle — and sometimes toward the end — of pennant chases.

Worse, it happens often to the Dragons, just 50 miles from the major league team, which leads us to the bottom line discussion. The Dragons are supposed to create interest in the Reds, but if the fans here see only crummy teams, why would they be interested in seeing the same type of play in Cincinnati?

Not only that, this year's Dragons are starting with not one of what Baseball America calls the Reds' Top 30 prospects. Reds farm director Terry Reynolds said he doesn't pay much attention to BA, but I noticed he had almost all of those Top 30 on the Futures team he put together for last Saturday's exhibition against the Reds.

It probably won't matter much here. All the games are sold out. In Cincinnati, though, maybe it's time for a new plan.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/dragons/2009/04/06/ddn040609spaudible.html

11larkin11
04-07-2009, 12:01 AM
Woah, Enrique Garcia was released? He was pretty good at Miami and was drafted just last year. I was mildly interested in him.

JayBruceFan
04-07-2009, 12:30 AM
Kinda surprised they released Eddy Rodriguez

OnBaseMachine
04-07-2009, 02:00 AM
I forgot about Evan Hildenbrandt until just now. I thought he would start the season in Dayton, but it appears as if he will begin the season in extended spring training. Hopefully he reaches Dayton sometime this summer.

Clayton Shunick is another notable omission from the Dayton roster.

Superdude
04-07-2009, 03:15 AM
How many times has Katz recycled that article? The Reds obviously promote their players because they hate the Dragons and want them to lose...we get it already.

dougdirt
04-07-2009, 03:38 AM
Not only that, this year's Dragons are starting with not one of what Baseball America calls the Reds' Top 30 prospects. Reds farm director Terry Reynolds said he doesn't pay much attention to BA, but I noticed he had almost all of those Top 30 on the Futures team he put together for last Saturday's exhibition against the Reds.

It probably won't matter much here. All the games are sold out. In Cincinnati, though, maybe it's time for a new plan.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/dragons/2009/04/06/ddn040609spaudible.html

Of course he didn't note that two dynamic young pitchers, both with some buzz around them (Lotzkar and Sulbaran) will likely be there soon too. It also negates the fact that these guys were all in Dayton last season for different periods of time:
Todd Frazier
Kyle Lotzkar
Zack Cozart
Devin Mesoraco
Neftali Soto
Zach Stewart
Philippe Valiquette (ok, he was #31)
*Brandon Waring*

And of course there is also the trio of pitchers who performed outstanding with the Dragons last year for nearly the entire season - Jeremy Horst, Matt Klinker and Luis Montano. Of course there was also Enerio Del Rosario who had a lot of success there as well.

Heck, in 2007 the Dragons had Valaika, Turner, Stubbs, Cozart, Francisco, Heisey and Parker. The pitching staff had Jordan Smith, Sean Watson (who tore through that league as a starter), Pedro Viola, Ramon Geronimo, Daryl Thompson, Misael DeJesus...

It seems to me that talent hasn't really been an issue in Dayton. They have had some good players come through there recently.

LoganBuck
04-07-2009, 12:48 PM
Of course he didn't note that two dynamic young pitchers, both with some buzz around them (Lotzkar and Sulbaran) will likely be there soon too. It also negates the fact that these guys were all in Dayton last season for different periods of time:
Todd Frazier
Kyle Lotzkar
Zack Cozart
Devin Mesoraco
Neftali Soto
Zach Stewart
Philippe Valiquette (ok, he was #31)
*Brandon Waring*

And of course there is also the trio of pitchers who performed outstanding with the Dragons last year for nearly the entire season - Jeremy Horst, Matt Klinker and Luis Montano. Of course there was also Enerio Del Rosario who had a lot of success there as well.

Heck, in 2007 the Dragons had Valaika, Turner, Stubbs, Cozart, Francisco, Heisey and Parker. The pitching staff had Jordan Smith, Sean Watson (who tore through that league as a starter), Pedro Viola, Ramon Geronimo, Daryl Thompson, Misael DeJesus...

It seems to me that talent hasn't really been an issue in Dayton. They have had some good players come through there recently.

I think the rub comes from not having Alonso, or a second round pick last season that came in midseason. They did get Stewart, but I don't think he was shiny enough for them. The Reds should be able to draft some nice high level players in June. Dayton may get an infusion of talent then.

OesterPoster
04-07-2009, 01:53 PM
I did a quick run-through of other Midwest League rosters, and I haven't found one yet which has zero BA top 30 players for the parent club. Most of the rosters have multiple high draft picks, while this Dragons' roster is pretty bare. Though knowing Katz's writing, I highly doubt he did that much research on his own. I think he's just sick of the Dayton fans packing the stadium every year, yet not having a consistent team on the field.

IMO, other organizations go through the same promotions, so it should even out over the course of the season.

dougdirt
04-07-2009, 02:11 PM
I did a quick run-through of other Midwest League rosters, and I haven't found one yet which has zero BA top 30 players for the parent club. Most of the rosters have multiple high draft picks, while this Dragons' roster is pretty bare. Though knowing Katz's writing, I highly doubt he did that much research on his own. I think he's just sick of the Dayton fans packing the stadium every year, yet not having a consistent team on the field.

IMO, other organizations go through the same promotions, so it should even out over the course of the season.

I think one of the biggest things is, the Reds first two draft picks last year were advanced college players. No one starts those types in Low A. Still, the Dragons would have two top 30 guys if it weren't for small injuries with Lotzkar and Sulbaran. Still, there are some guys on the Dragons roster that are good players and decent prospects. Like I noted earlier, its not always the 'top prospects' who wind up being the teams best player. Heck, Jeremy Horst was an absolute stud for the Dragons last year and he was on just about no one's radar coming into the season. Who was Johnny Cueto heading into 2006? He was an unknown non BA Top 30 prospect that no one had heard of.

OnBaseMachine
04-08-2009, 10:51 AM
New Dragons ready to roll in 2009

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

DAYTON — Every locker space had a new, sleeveless white jersey with a sewn-on name as the newest Dayton Dragons arrived Tuesday. April 7, for an afternoon of meetings, picture-taking and a workout under the lights at Fifth Third Field.

Among the sights and sounds:

• In the coaches' room, pitching coach Tony Fossas wrote out the points he wanted to make to his pitchers.

• In the clubhouse, shortstop Miguel Rojas — a magician, it is said, with the glove, but a .183 hitter last year at rookie Billings, Mont. — unpacked his bats, several of which he had taped together.

"It was my first year in the United States," said Rojas, a Venezuelan. "It was also my first full year. I'll hit better."

• At his locker, left-hander Matt Fairel learned his first pro assignment will be to start Thursday on the Dragons' opening night. Fairel, a Florida State product, told scouts he wanted to return to school, but would sign for the right money.

Fairel was still on the board when the Reds drafted in the 35th round, and it cost them $250,000 to sign him. That's fourth-round money.

"I signed late, so I didn't play (pro) last year," Fairel said. "I wanted to play pro ball. I grew up dreaming of this."

• In the runway leading to the field, catcher Kevin Coddington cleaned his shin pads.

Coddington has been to Dayton before as a member of the Illinois-Chicago team that played Wright State in the Horizon League.

Todd Benzinger, a former big-league player, is managing for the first time, and when it was pointed out that the Dragons don't seem to have any published top prospects, he said it didn't matter.

"I played nine years in the majors and I never made one of those lists," Benzinger said. "I think we have good players. I think there are prospects who just don't make those lists.

"These guys don't think of themselves as not being prospects. It doesn't sit well with them. They have talent, and that will take them to the next level."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/dragons/2009/04/08/ddn040809spdragons.html

camisadelgolf
04-08-2009, 01:10 PM
True, the Dragons aren't rich in top prospects, but they have a lot of players who should perform well. When Lotzkar and Sulbaran join the team, their pitching might even be dominant, so the big questions for me are third base, shortstop, and possibly the bullpen.

Catcher
Jordan Wideman should be considered one of the top defensive catchers in the league, and his bat is constantly improving. Kevin Coddington, a 44th-round draft pick, managed to hold his own in Billings last season and should, at a minimum, manage to make consistent contact.

First Base
Kyle Day looked pretty good at Billings last season, and Humberto Sosa did pretty well in the GCL, so between the two of them, at least one of them should put up solid numbers.

Second Base
Cody Puckett was one of the best hitters in the Pioneer League last season. He's already looking like a steal of a draft pick. Although Jose Gualdron doesn't do much exceptionally well, he's a good, all-around ball-player and would be a solid everyday second baseman in A-ball if Puckett weren't around.

Third Base
Frank Pfister is overly-aggressive at the plate and probably the biggest question mark in the starting lineup.

Shortstop
There are big questions about Miguel Rojas' bat, but his defense should help compensate. Still, it's an area of concern.

Left Field
Tony Brown put up big power numbers at Billings last season, and the Reds paid above-slot money for him, so you know they like him. Brandon Menchaca had an excellent debut, but 2008 was a disaster for him. If he rebounds, the Dragons will have a very crowded outfield.

Center Field
Dave Sappelt is one of my favorite prospects. He's a five-tool guy who slipped down in the draft due to his size, but so far, his lack of size hasn't taken anything away from his production.

Right Field
Of everyone in the lineup, you might say Byron Wiley put up the best numbers in 2008. It should be interesting to see how well his power and plate discipline transfer to the MWL. Tyler Stovall, the Cincinnati native, surprised some people last season, and if he produces like he did at Billings, the Dragons will have yet another excellent option for the outfield.

Starting Rotation
Matt Fairel might be the top prospect on the team while Oscar Castro and Leo Astorga had very good numbers in 2008. Lance Janke got hit around a bit in his debut, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect him to do a Matt Klinker-type turnaround. Overall, Curtis Partch's numbers with the Dragons were mediocre, but he has apparently been rapidly improving ever since he got there, so a better year is to be expected. Josh Ravin has been downright horrible ever since he signed, so I see him being moved to the bullpen, but there's talent there, so the Dragons will be in for a treat if the light ever comes on. Juan Carlos Sulbaran and Kyle Lotzkar are due to come to the team before long, which should result in huge upgrades over anyone who struggles.

Bullpen
Scott Gaffney throws some serious heat and reminds me a lot of Josh Roenicke. As long as he gets the ball over the plate, he should dominate. Aguido Gonzalez was ridiculous in relief last season, and even if he only pitches half as well, he should be solid. Mace Thurman had one of the buzz-worthiest debuts of all Reds prospects last season. He was very impressive, and if he builds on last season, he might end up as one of the Reds' best pitching prospects. Drew Bowman has disappointed thus far, but if he turns things around, the Dragons will have a big left-hander who could make a huge impact down the line. Mike Bohana probably wasn't as good as his numbers indicated, but nonetheless, he had an excellent K/BB ratio and forced a lot of groundballs, so you have to like his potential. Jordan Hotchkiss hasn't done much that would be described as 'eye-opening', but he's been serviceable everywhere he's gone, and I'm sure he'll do fine as a Dragon.

OnBaseMachine
04-08-2009, 01:19 PM
The Dayton starting rotation could be very good in a couple weeks when Juan Carlos Sulbaran and Kyle Lotzkar join the team. Evan Hildenbrandt could join them too.

Kyle Lotzkar
Juan Carlos Sulbaran
Matt Fairel
Oscar Castro
Evan Hildenbrandt/Josh Ravin

20-year old Oscar Castro is a potential sleeper. He throws a sinker around 90 mph and has room to add more velocity (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) and he also mixes in a changeup and curveball. He's worth keeping an eye on.

OnBaseMachine
04-09-2009, 01:37 AM
2009 Dragons roster

Updated 1:06 AM Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pitchers

Starters

Matt Fairel, 6-3, 210, BL, TL, age 21, Draft R35, 2008, Florida State, 12-2, 3.79 ERA in college last season. First professional season.

Josh Ravin, 6-4, 195, BR, TR, age 21, Draft R5, 2006, 2-8 with 7.19 ERA at Dayton and 0-1 with 10.50 ERA at Billings last year.

Curtis Partch, 6-5, 200, BR, TR, age 22, Draft R26, 2007, Merced Junior College, 5-11 with 5.00 ERA at Dayton last year.

Leonardo Astoga, 6-2, 175, BR, TR, age 23, free agent 2004, from Santa Elena, Bolivar, Venezuela, 4-1 with 2.98 ERA at rookie Billings last year.

Oscar Castro, 6-2, 165, BR, TR, age 20, free agent, 2005, from Culican, Sinola, Mexico, 4-2 with 4.14 ERA at Billings last year.

Relievers

Aguido Gonzalez, 5-10, 185, BL, TL, age 22, free agent 2007 from Palo Negro, Aragua, Venezuela, 1-0 with 1.77 ERA and 6 saves last season at Dayton after allowing no runs in 12 combined outings at Sarasota and Billings.

Mace Thurman, 6-1, 180, BL, TL, age 22, Drafted R17, 2008, McClennan CC and Baylor, 2-0 with 2.97 ERA in 16 appearances between Billings and Dayton last year.

Andrew Bowman, 6-4, 190, BR, TL, age 23, Draft R23, 2007, Arizona State and Nebraska, 0-1 with 2.45 ERA at Dayton after going 3-4 with combined 5.36 ERA at two rookie stops.

Lance Janke, 6-2, 190, BR, TR, age 22, Draft R14, 2008, San Diego Christian College, 3-2 with 5.60 ERA last year at Billings.

Mike Bohana, 6-1, 180, BR, TR, age 23, Draft R26, 2008, Kennesaw State (Ga.) University, 0-4 with 3.42 ERA at rookie Gulf Coast and Billings last year.

Scott Gaffney, 6-3, 190, BR, TR, age 23, Draft R12, 2007, Penn State, 1-2 with 6.00 ERA at Billings last year.

Jordan Hotchkiss, 6-4, 210, BR, TR, Age 23, Draft R31, 2007, Brevard College, N.C., 1-3 with 4.01 ERA in Billings last year.
Catchers

Kevin Coddington, 6-4, 205, age 21, Draft R44, 2008, Illinois-Chicago, hit combined .277 with 0 HR, 7 RBIs at two rookie stops last year.

Jordan Wideman, 5-11, 200, BR, TR, age 20, Draft R11, 2007, from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, .254 with 1 HR, 22 RBI at rookie Billings last year.

Kyle Day, 5-11, 200, BL, TR, Draft R12, 2008, Michigan State, hit .268 with 1 HR, 11 RBI at rookie Billings last year. Will mostly DH.
Infielders

Jose Gualdron, 3B, 6-0, 160, BR, TR, age 21, free agent, 2005, from Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela, hit .282 with 2 HR, 17 RBIs at rookie Billings last year.

Frank Pfister, 6-1, 205, 3B, BR, TR, Age 22, Draft R17, 2008, Emory University, hit .236 with 0 HR, 14 RBIs in rookie Gulf Coast League last year.

Cody Puckett, 5-10, 185, 2B, BR, TR, age 22, Draft, R8, 2008, Cal State-Dominguez Hills, .270, 8 HR, 29 RBIs at three stops last year, including 0-for-7 at Class A Sarasota.

Miguel Rojas, 6-0, 150, SS, BR, TR, age 20, free agent, 2005 from Los Teques, Miranda, Venezuela, hit .183 with 1 HR, 21 RBIs at Billings last year. Considered to have best fielding hands in organization.

Humberto Sosa, 5-11, 195, 1B, BR, TR, age 23, free agent, 2005 from Beracruz, Mexico, converted from catcher, .304 with 3 HR, 22 RBIs at Gulf Coast League and no hits in 7 at-bats at Dayton last year.
Outfielders

Brandon Menchaca, 5-11, 195, BR, TR, age 23, Draft R13, 2007, University of Delaware, hit .176 with 5 HR, 25 RBIs at Dayton last year.

Tyler Stovall, 6-1, 210, BR, TR, age 23, Draft, R20, 2007, Central Michigan, .333 with 1 HR, 16 RBIs at Billings last year.

Byron Wiley, 5-11, 205, BL, TL, age 22, Draft R22, 2008, Kansas State, .328, 5 HR, 37 RBI at Billings last year.

David Sappelt, 5-9, 195, BR, TR, age 22, Draft R9, 2008, Coastal Carolina, .299 with 7 HR and 35 RBI at Billings last year.

Tony Brown, 6-0, 190, BL, TL, age 21, Draft R23, 2006, Okaloosa-Walton College (Niceville, Fla.), .283 with 12 HR, 47 RBIs at Billings last year.
Coaching staff

Manager Todd Benzinger; pitching coach Tony Fossas; hitting coach Tony Jaramillo

http://www.daytondailynews.com/dayton-sports/dayton-dragons/2009-dragons-roster-75834.html

OnBaseMachine
04-09-2009, 01:51 AM
Dragons start year with lot of potential
Pitching, defense and a winning history could add up to strong start.

By Marc Katz
Staff Writer Updated 12:45 AM Thursday, April 9, 2009

DAYTON — Pitching, a sharp shortstop and a little history of winning at rookie Billings, Mont., are expected to be the backbone of the Dayton Dragons this season.

Tonight, April 9, the team opens season No. 10 at Fifth Third Field with fireworks to follow the game.

Who are the first wave of 25 players on the roster?

• Pitching may be the strong point of this team, with starters Matt Fairel (a lefty) and right-handers Josh Ravin, Curtis Partch, Leonardo Astorga and Oscar Castro rounding out the starting rotation.

Ravin and Partch were here last year, each performing poorly at first. Partch finished strong, while Ravin was sent back to Billings.

“Last year was just a huge pileup of different things,” said Ravin, who might be the hardest thrower on the team. “I was lost. I started to ask myself, ‘What do I need to do to throw strikes?’ ”

One thing was to become more serious about the game.

“My dad’s a plumber,” Ravin said. “I don’t want to do that.”

Pitching coach Tony Fossas said a closer has not yet been decided upon, although lefty Aguido Gonzalez should be in the mix. Gonzalez recorded six saves and a 1.77 ERA in 15 games with the Dragons last season.

• Shortstop Miguel Rojas is one to watch — in the field. He gets rave reviews by coaches for his defense, but needs to bulk up his offense.

“I’m going to try to move him around the order,” manager Todd Benzinger said. “He always batted ninth last year, and you begin to think of yourself as a No. 9 hitter.”

• Humberto Sosa has made the move from catcher to first base. He hit well at Billings last year, but didn’t project as a catcher.

• Second base belongs to Cody Puckett, who was All-California Athletic Association at California State-Dominguez Hills before playing at three stops in the Reds’ lower minors last season.

• Jose Gualdron and Frank Pfister are the third basemen, although Gualdron can play second and short.

• Look for Tony Brown, Dave Sappelt and Byron Wiley in the outfield, with Brandon Menchaca and Tyler Stovall as backups. Kyle Day, a former catcher, will mostly be used as a DH.

• Kevin Coddington and Jordan Wideman will share catching duties. Both are considered strong defensively, but so far have shown little power.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/dayton-sports/dayton-dragons/dragons-start-year-with-lot-of-potential-75833.html

OnBaseMachine
04-09-2009, 01:54 AM
Current Dragons won in ’08
20 were promoted from Billings, the Pioneer League champion.

By Marc Katz
Staff Writer Updated 1:06 AM Thursday, April 9, 2009

DAYTON — While their pedigree might not be the best — Baseball America ranks not one of them among the top 30 prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization — they have shown a winning way.

Of the 25 players who tonight, April 9, begin the Dayton Dragons’ 10th season in the Class A Midwest League, 20 played at Billings, Mont., last season, and Billings won both halves of the Pioneer League championship. In the first half, the rookie-league Mustangs were 23-15. In the second half, they were 19-17.

Billings has been good before and transferred winning ways to Dayton — in 2006 the Mustangs were a whopping 51-25 overall, and the next year’s Dragons were 78-62 — so there are plenty of high expectations entering 2009.

“At Billings, they hit for average and got on base,” first-year Dragons manager Todd Benzinger said. “Learning traits are something you learn in the minor leagues. These guys play well. They mesh well together. And I think they’re talented guys.”

Catcher Kevin Coddington, who spent the last week of last season in Billings, came from a winning team at the University of Illinois-Chicago, which won the Horizon League in his only season there.

“I think winning goes hand-in-hand with development,” Coddington said. “If you focus on team, you are going to have success. It’s always helpful to get guys with that kind of an attitude. When I was in school, you had to win. Anything else was unacceptable.”

Outfielder Byron Wiley said he wants the same attitude he saw last season.

“We expect to win day in and day out,” Wiley said. “Everyone I’ve seen (on the team) is a good ballplayer. When you go out and prove yourself, you can prove how good you are as a team.”

It will take Dayton fans awhile to find out. Although the team plays its first three games at home, there are only four more home games in April. There are 16 home games in May.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/dayton-sports/dayton-dragons/current-dragons-won-in-08-75755.html

mace
04-09-2009, 04:50 PM
The Dayton starting rotation could be very good in a couple weeks when Juan Carlos Sulbaran and Kyle Lotzkar join the team. Evan Hildenbrandt could join them too.



What's going on with Hildenbrandt?

gedred69
04-09-2009, 07:53 PM
A lot of this Roster played at Billings last year. Wasn't Billings pretty good?

OnBaseMachine
04-10-2009, 01:01 AM
Dragons just want to follow Benzinger's lead

By Tom Archdeacon
Staff Writer 11:42 PM Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Cincinnati Reds had been on board the charter for a while — ready to fly off to Oakland and the third game of the 1990 World Series — but the plane wasn’t budging from the gate.

“We couldn’t figure out why and then, all of a sudden, coming down the aisle is Marge and her dog,” Todd Benzinger said shaking his head. “She was having each player touch Schottzie for luck. Some guys were like — ‘naah’ — but we all had to do it.”

Such was life playing for Marge Scott, the eccentric Reds owner, who doted on her ever-present, always-slobbering St. Bernard.

“But hey,” Benzinger said with a smile, “you can’t say it didn’t work.”

The underdog Reds swept the Oakland A’s in four games.

Before making his professional managerial debut in the Dayton Dragons season opener Thursday night, April 9, at Fifth Third Field Benzinger said he wouldn’t be borrowing any of Marge’s stunts.

Maybe he ought to reconsider.

The Dragons had a rough night, giving up 17 hits and making three errors in a 14-3 loss to the Great Lakes Loons.

Then again a Schottzie tale wouldn’t strike a chord with his players — most were toddlers in 1990. But another remembrance from that trip sure might.

The fact that Benzinger, the Reds first baseman in 1990, has a bulky World Series ring — not to mention a big league resume that spans nine years and five teams — carries weight with the Dragons.

“They want to be where I was,” he said quietly as he sat in his clubhouse office before the game. “When I was in their shoes, I wanted to soak up anything I could from someone who had big league experience.

“I remember when I went to spring training with Boston and I’d see guys like Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky — there was something about how they handled themselves and what they said that made you want to listen. Now don’t think for a second I’m putting myself in those guys’ category, but there are some similarities.”

After he was released by the New York Yankees in 1995, he was mostly removed from the game except for brief instructional stints with the Kansas City Royals and the Reds and then, last summer, managing a team of college players, the Cincinnati Steam.

His main sidelines job the past decade has been coaching high school girls basketball in the Cincinnati area.

While he said he’s gleaned some things from several of the big league managers for whom he played — including Lou Pinella, Pete Rose, Hal McRae, Tommy Lasorda and Dusty Baker — he said one thing has carried over from girls hoops.

“Guys will find out, for a baseball manager, I don’t do a lot of cussin’,” he said. “I never did a whole lot anyway, but when you’re coaching girls basketball you cut it way down.”

More outings like Thursday night and that may change.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/dayton-sports/dayton-dragons/dragons-just-want-to-follow-benzingers-lead-77128.html

OnBaseMachine
04-12-2009, 12:28 AM
Meet the Dragons: Josh Ravin

By
Staff Report 10:07 PM Saturday, April 11, 2009

Josh Ravin, RHP, 6-4, 195, 21 years old from Tarzana, Calif.

Claim to fame: Part of the Chatsworth High School team that was National Champion in 2003 and 2004 setting a state record with 54 consecutive wins. Made second-team All-State as a senior in 2006.

Quote: “I actually lost the game that ended that winning streak, and I started the state championship games as a junior and senior and lost both of them.”

Still, he was good enough to be drafted in the 5th round of the 2006 draft, and while he struggled in his first three seasons, he was spot-on Friday night, allowing no runs in six innings.

What else?

Favorite food: “Chicken. Any kind. Doesn’t matter. I never get tired of chicken.”

Favorite movie: “’Dumb and Dumber.’ I love Jim Carrey. He’s my favorite actor.”

Advice for President Obama: “I’d have to say, get out of the war.”

Best feeling: “When you succeed. Throwing strikes. Getting guys out. Winning.”

http://www.daytondailynews.com/dayton-sports/dayton-dragons/meet-the-dragons-josh-ravin-78841.html

BoydsOfSummer
04-12-2009, 11:12 PM
I know Lotzkar is coming off injury, but I missed why Sulbaran is late. Is he nursing something?

dougdirt
04-13-2009, 01:33 AM
I know Lotzkar is coming off injury, but I missed why Sulbaran is late. Is he nursing something?

Blisters.

HokieRed
04-13-2009, 08:06 AM
Any word on Hildenbrandt?

BoydsOfSummer
04-14-2009, 02:24 AM
Blisters.


"I got blisters on me fingers!"--Stewie Griffin

TRF
04-14-2009, 01:23 PM
"I got blisters on me fingers!"--Stewie Griffin

Ringo, not Stewie.


pheh, the kids these days with their Family Guy and their long hair....