Dragons have sent 31 players to big leagues
By Marc Katz
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).
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.