Dragons manager expects team to light up scoreboard
Dayton should have speed at the top of the lineup, followed by power to spare.
By Kyle Nagel
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Donnie Scott, the Dayton Dragons manager, had a few minutes before a Friday, March 28, spring training game to discuss the forming version of his newest Dragons team.
"Where should I start?" Scott said.
First with Scott, who will open his fifth season with the Dragons when the team travels to face the Great Lakes Loons on Thursday to begin the organization's ninth year in Dayton. Their first home game will be April 7 against Fort Wayne, and it becomes clear during a conversation with Scott that fans can expect to see some runs from his team.
"We've got our spark plugs," Scott said.
That begins with Brandon Menchaca, who finished second in the Pioneer League in triples last season and is slated to lead off and play left field. Justin Reed, who received last year's Reds outstanding hitter award in the Florida Instructional League, will follow in center field.
Then comes the lumber. Todd Frazier, the Reds' first-round pick in last year's draft, is the power-hitting shortstop ranked the No. 7 prospect in the Reds organization by Baseball America. He'll be followed by Brandon Waring, another slugging infielder. Between them, Frazier (Rutgers) and Waring (Wofford College) hit 49 college home runs last season and ranked fourth and second, respectively, in the NCAA rankings.
But the home-run possibilities aren't finished. Mike McKennon (hitting fifth) and Denis Phipps (sixth) are also long-ball threats deeper into the order who threaten to wear out the smoke that pours from the Dragons scoreboard logo after home runs.
"There are four guys that can go deep at any time," Scott said. "The dragon on the scoreboard is going to be breathing hard."
With the stats surrounding the heart of the Dragons batting order, it's easy for Scott to feel optimistic about his offense. His pitching staff will include, among others, Andrew Bowman, Colorado's Gatorade High School player of the year in 2004, Scott Carroll, who was Missouri State's starting quarterback while also pitching for the baseball team, and Lakota West High School graduate Matt Klinker.
With what Scott expects from his team, his spring training days were a little brighter.
"We're solid," Scott said, "let's put it that way."
Dragons at a glance
Manager: Donnie Scott, who returns for a second consecutive year after serving as the team's skipper from 2001-03
Opener: The Dragons start the season on the road in Midland, Mich., on Thursday for a four-game series against the Great Lakes Loons.
Home opener: Monday, April 7, against Fort Wayne. The Dragons' first weekend home games come April 18-20 against the Clinton Lumber-Kings.