By Marc Katz
12:49 AM Thursday, June 18, 2009
Second-guessing is so much fun when you can do it without any consequences, but the Reds knew they weren’t stocking the Dragons with a highly talented team right from the start this season.
Of course, they refused — and continued to refuse — to admit that, hiding behind the idea they thought this team could win because most of the players were on a winning team at rookie-level Billings, Mont., last season.
Actually, some of the Dragons would be a lot better if they were playing alongside a couple of top-level prospects who could protect them in the lineup.
However, this new Reds regime under General Manager Walt Jocketty wants to move players through the system a little faster, so third baseman Neftali Soto (.253 with 5 homers and 18 RBIs) and shortstop Alex Buchholz (.250, 2, 16) are at “high” Class A Sarasota, Fla., even though at least a half season at Dayton might have served them better.
Oh, and catcher Devin Mesoraco is slogging along with a .204 batting average at Sarasota as well.
I know all the excuses of why those assignments were made, but it’s not like the Reds have had a long history of success at the minor-league level while changing general managers and farm directors at a rate of about every two years.
The Dragons will have their sixth losing season (in 10) this season, while all the Reds general managers and farm directors repeat the dictum they’re in it to develop players and, by the way, they’d like to win, too.
Well, the Reds have had eight straight losing seasons going in that direction and are tottering just above that level at this moment.
There are seven former Dragons on the current Reds roster (not counting Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion on the DL), and only one of them — catcher Ryan Hanigan — played on a winning team in Dayton.
Sure hope the Reds aren’t waiting for some of the current Dragons to help them out 3-4 years from now.
Get a good start
Dragons manager Todd Benzinger said it could be important to get a big hit early in a career.
“I played against Tom Glavine in the minors and hit a homer off him,” Benzinger said. “He pitched me like I was Mickey Mantle the rest of my career.”
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2157 or mkatz@DaytonDailyNews.com