Pretty ridiculous title if you ask me. By the way - Travis Wood is pitching for Dayton tonight.
Can hot-hitting Griffin be the Reds' version of Pujols?
By Marc Katz
DAYTON — The major leagues are filled with players taken late in the draft or not drafted at all.
You never really know how good a player is going to be until he plays, the poster boy being Albert Pujols, a 13th-round draft pick by the Cardinals in 1999 who signed late, played only one season of minor league ball — mostly at Peoria in the Class A Midwest League — and is a star, so they tell me.
Peoria's classmate in the Midwest League, Dayton, may not have anyone on the roster as prodigious as Pujols, but have you seen the start by second baseman Michael Griffin?
"No, I wasn't drafted out of high school," said Griffin, who was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and lives in Cedar Hill, Texas
So he went to college instead, Baylor, a rather good baseball school.
"No, I wasn't drafted after my junior year (the first year four-year college students are eligible)," Griffin said.
Finally, following his senior season, Griffin was drafted — in the 14th round by the Reds.
"I wasn't happy (not being drafted)," Griffin said. "You're down a day or a week, and then you go on. I took the summer off after my junior season and worked out."
Those workouts must have worked. Baylor went to the College World Series last year and Griffin was drafted.
You may have noticed him on opening night Thursday when, batting leadoff, he hit two triples and a double.
How about the next night when he hit another triple? Or the third night when he was held to a single? Or Sunday when an outfielder didn't go hard enough for a ball Griffin hit and he easily turned it into a double?
"He may have an average time down to first base," Dragons manager Billy Gardner Jr. said, "but he's good when he gets under way. I like everything about him."
Grant Griesser, Reds' assistant director of development, says Griffin was scouted at Baylor, but the knock was, if he couldn't find a position there — he was used at second, third, the outfield, etc. — then maybe he wasn't a top prospect.
Still, the Reds recognized Griffin was some kind of prospect, drafted and signed him and sent him to Billings, Mont., for rookie ball.
Thirteen games in — with a .263 batting average — Griffin's arm hurt so bad he had to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament, ending his season.
The Reds didn't know how healthy Griffin would be in spring training, but less than eight months after his surgery, he declared himself ready to go, and he made the Dragons' roster.
OK, it's way, way, way too early to predict what is going to happen to Michael Griffin — or any of the other Dragons, for that matter, but what a nice start for a mid-level draftee.
Sometimes, you just never know.
Dragons look awful in loss
Dayton errors, wild pitches, inept offense all contribute to Lansing cruising to 10-1 win.
By Marc Katz
DAYTON — Even while losing three of their first four games to open the Class A Midwest League season, the Dayton Dragons looked good.
Monday night they did not, and the Lansing Lugnuts took advantage.
A homer in each of the first two innings, two hit batters, two wild pitches and two errors helped the Lugnuts beat the Dragons 10-1 at Fifth Third Field.
They were the first homers for the Lugnuts this season.
It also didn't help that a replacement ump for a replacement ump (names withheld by minor league baseball edict) appeared to have a wide strike zone.
At least Dayton first baseman Bobby Mosby broke out of a mini-slump, driving in a run with a single in the third after doubling in the second.
"I comprehended my swing," Mosby said of off-season work. "I made some changes, and I know what I can do."
Mosby was also the victim of one of seven called third strikes among 14 Dragons strikeouts.
"It was a combination of their pitching and we definitely let the umpire get in our hair tonight," Dayton manager Billy Gardner Jr. said. "But that umpire worked both sides."
Lansing batters struck out 10 times, only once on a called third.
The other bad/good news was starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, who allowed five runs in four innings, but walked none and struck out five.
"He showed a very live fastball," Gardner said.
"At times, it was overpowering. And he got out of the fourth inning clean (two strikeouts, no baserunners) to end on a positive note."
Dayton's best chances for making the game competitive came in the second and third. They loaded the bases in each inning, but with two outs, and scored only one run. In fact, the Dragons have scored only one run in their last 21 innings over three games.
Lansing, a Toronto affiliate, came in tied for the league lead with a 3-1 record.