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April 2019
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‘Minor League Baseball’ Articles

Ft. Wayne rallies from 3-1 deficit to earn 9-5 Monday night win over the Dragons




April 8, 2019


Click here for the box score


Dayton (R-H-E):  5-8-2

Fort Wayne (R-H-E):  9-12-1


Win:  Henry Henry (2-0)

Loss:  Adrian Rodriguez (0-1)

Save:  None

HRDayton: None

HRFort Wayne:  None


Fort Wayne, Ind.—The Fort Wayne TinCaps overcame a 3-1 deficit with eight runs over their last three offensive innings as they defeated the Dayton Dragons 9-5 on Monday night in the first game of a three-game series.  The loss dropped the Dragons to 2-3 on the season.

Dragons starting pitcher Lyon Richardson, the Reds second round draft pick in 2018 out of Jensen Beach High School in Florida, pitched well in his Midwest League debut.  Richardson allowed a bases-loaded walk in the first inning, then retired the next 10 Fort Wayne batters.  He left the game after four innings and 73 pitches, allowing one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Richardson was not involved in the decision.

The Dragons scored two runs in the third inning and one more in the top of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead to the bottom of the sixth inning. But Fort Wayne’s offense came alive as they scored three in the sixth, two in the seventh, and three in the eighth to take a 9-3 lead before the Dragons scored two in the ninth to close out the scoring.

The Dragons trailed 1-0 before taking the lead with two runs in the third.  Reniel Ozuna doubled to start the inning, went to third on Michael Siani’s sacrifice, and scored on an error.  Mariel Baustista’s sacrifice fly brought in Jonathan Willems later in the inning to make it 2-1.  The Dragons scored again in the top of the sixth when Bren Spillane doubled to right and scored on a single by Miguel Hernandez to make it 3-1.


Fort Wayne took advantage of several defensive miscues by the Dragons in the bottom of the sixth to score three runs.  The Dragons committed two errors in the inning, had a passed ball that allowed a run to score, and failed to catch a fly ball when an outfielder slipped as he came to a stop and fell to the ground.  The three runs in the sixth gave Fort Wayne a 4-3 lead.  They added to their lead in the seventh with a two-run double by Nick Gatewood to make it 6-3, and then tacked on three runs in the eighth on five hits in the inning.


A double by Juan Martinez keyed a two-run ninth for the Dragons.


Dayton finished with eight hits by eight different players.  Martinez, Spillane, and Ozuna each had a double.


The loss was charged to Dragons reliever Adrian Rodriguez (0-1), who worked one and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

On the Air:  All Dragons games are broadcast on radio on Fox Sports 980 WONE AM.  Games can be heard on smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices via the free Dragons Mobile App, or on a computer at  Games are also available on HD Radio on 104.7 WTUI HD 2.


For Dragons 2019 ticket information, call (937) 228-2287.




Hot Rods slam Dragons in Sunday’s 13-2 win




April 7, 2019


Click here for the box score


Dayton (R-H-E):  2-2-3

Bowling Green (R-H-E):  13-15-1


Win:  Caleb Sampen (1-0)

Loss:  James Marinan (0-1)

Save:  None

HRDayton: None

HRBowling Green:  Connor Hollis (1st, 1 on base in first inning); Grant Witherspoon (1st, 1 on base in fifth inning); Osmy Gregorio (1st, 1 on base in seventh inning).


Bowling Green, Ky.—The Bowling Green Hot Rods belted three home runs and took advantage of 11 walks as they defeated the Dayton Dragons 13-2 on Sunday afternoon.  The two clubs split the first four games of the 2019 season.


The Dragons were limited to just two hits on the day, although they did hold a brief lead in the first inning.  Dayton’s Michael Siani opened the game with a single to center field, stole second and third, and scored on Mariel Bautista’s sacrifice fly to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead.


But Bowling Green’s Connor Hollis hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, and Grant Witherspoon hit a two-run shot in the fifth as the Hot Rods built their lead to 5-1.


The Dragons scored in the sixth on Bautista’s second sacrifice fly of the day to make it 5-2, but Bowling Green responded with four runs in the seventh to take a commanding 9-2 lead.  Osmy Gregorio hit a two-run homer in the inning for the Hot Rods.  In the eighth, Dragons pitchers combined to issue six walks to tie a club record set in 2009.  Utility infielder Dylan Harris, in the lineup as the designated hitter, entered the game to pitch to finish the inning, allowing the last of the six walks.


Dragons starting pitcher James Marinan (0-1) was charged with the loss.  He worked four innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts.  Julio Pinto followed Marinan and gave up two runs in two innings of work.  Connor Bennett worked an inning, surrendering four runs on three hits and three walks.  Andy Cox struggled with his control in two-thirds of an inning, allowing five walks and four runs.


Mariel Bautista had a double and two runs batted in to lead the Dragons offense.  Bautista has at least one hit in each of the Dragons first four games and is batting .429.



Team Notes

  • Dragons relievers have allowed just two earned runs in 15 innings on the year, posting an ERA of 1.20.
  • The Dragons notched a shutout win on the road on Saturday.  In 2018, they had just two shutouts on the road.
  • The Dragons have collected at least 10 hits and scored at least six runs in back-to-back games. Individual Notes
  • Three Dayton players have hits in all three games in 2019.  They are Mariel Bautista, Juan Martinez, and Bren Spillane.

Upcoming Probable Pitchers (Game times are Dayton time) (All games on WONE 980 AM and

Monday, April 8 (7:05 p.m.)  Dayton RH Lyon Richardson (0-5, 7.14 w/Greeneville in ‘18)

at Fort Wayne LH Ramon Perez (2-1, 2.48 w/Tri-City in ‘18)

Tuesday, April 9 (7:05 p.m.)  Dayton RH Jared Solomon (0-1, 6.75) at Fort Wayne RH Angel Acevedo (0-0, 0.00)

Wednesday, April 10 (11;05 a.m.):  Dayton LH Jacob Heatherly (0-0, 6.00) at Fort Wayne LH Ryan Weathers (0-0, 0.00)

Thursday, April 11 (7:05 p.m.):  Dayton RH Jhon De Jesus at Fort Wayne LH Efraín Contreras (0-0, 4.50)




Dragons shut down Hot Rods in Saturday night affair behind pitching of DeJesus and Bullpen




April 6, 2019


Click here for the box score


Dayton (R-H-E):  6-11-0

Bowling Green (R-H-E):  0-5-4


Win:  Jhon De Jesus (1-0)

Loss:  Michael Plassmeyer (0-1)

Save:  None

HRDayton: Mariel Bautista (1st, 0 on base in fourth inning).

HRBowling Green:  None


Bowling Green, Ky.—Dayton starting pitcher Jhon De Jesus combined with two relievers on a five-hit shutout as the Dragons defeated the Bowling Green Hot Rods 6-0 on Saturday night.  The win was the Dragons second straight victory and improved their record to 2-1.


De Jesus, who missed the entire 2018 season with a shoulder injury, made his first appearance of 2019 and allowed only one runner to reach second base over five innings of work.  He allowed three hits and two walks with three strikeouts to earn the win.  Relievers Eduardo Salazar and Eddy Demurias each tossed two scoreless innings to close out the Dayton victory.

Jhon DeJesus had an impressive 2019 debut for the Dragons


The Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a long home run to left field by Mariel Bautista, his first of the young season.


The Dragons added to their lead in the seventh inning.  Bren Spillane lined a single to left field with one out and Miguel Hernandez reached on an error.  With two outs, Shard Munroe singled off the glove of the second baseman as Spillane scored from second. Claudio Finol followed with a hit to right to bring in Hernandez to make it 3-0.


Dayton added three more runs in the eighth inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead.  Jay Schuyler reached on an infield single with one out, went to second on a ground out, and advanced to third on Bren Spillane’s two-out single.  Schuyler scored on a throwing error before Juan Martinez connected on a two-run double to the fence in left-center field to close out the scoring.


Four different Dayton players collected two hits.  Bautista led the way with the home run and is now 5 for 12 (.417) on the year. Schuyler, Spillane, and Martinez also had two hits.

On the Air:  All Dragons games are broadcast on radio on Fox Sports 980 WONE and on the internet at Games are also available on the Dayton Dragons mobile app and on HD Radio on 104.7 WTUI HD 2.


For Dragons 2019 ticket information, call (937) 228-2287.




Catcher Tucker Barnhart added to “Top 20 Greatest Dragons” players




Tucker Barnhart diving for a ball as a Dragons catcher


Dayton, Ohio—The Dayton Dragons have announced the next name on their list of “20 Greatest Dragons.” The player recognition is part of the organization’s 20th Season Celebration.  Players selected on the list of 20 are being announced in random order.


Next on the list of the 20 Greatest Dragons is:


Tucker Barnhart


Barnhart was the starting catcher on the 2011 Dragons, a team that set a club record for most wins in a half when they went 48-22 in the second half under manager Delino DeShields.  The team also featured star shortstop Billy Hamilton, power-hitting first baseman Donald Lutz, ace starting pitcher Josh Smith, and all-star closer Drew Hayes.  Barnhart’s year in Dayton earned him recognition as an outstanding defensive catcher.  Following the season, he was given Minor League Baseball’sRawlings Gold Glove Award, a big honor presented to only one player at each position throughout all the minor leagues.  He caught 92 games for the 2011 Dragons; no Dragons player has caught more games since.


Barnhart reached the Major Leagues with the Reds in 2014 and has served as the starting catcher in Cincinnati over each of the last four seasons, emerging as one of the best defensive players at his position in all of baseball.  In 2017, he became just the third catcher in Reds history to win a Gold Glove award at the big league level, joining Johnny Bench and Johnny Edwards.  Barnhart set the Reds franchise record for highest fielding percentage by a catcher that year at .999, which led the Major Leagues.


As a hitter, Barnhart has continued to improve since he first joined the Reds.  In 2017, he hit a career-high .270, and in 2018, he hit 10 home runs with Cincinnati to reach double-digits for the first time as a professional, major league or minor league.  Also in 2018, Barnhart was the Reds nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for representing baseball with extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions on and off the field.


The 20 Greatest Dragons were selected based on a media vote of Dragons television, newspaper, radio, and internet reporters.  Additionally, during the 2019 season, the Dragons will be conducting a fan vote featuring one player per position to announce their all-time greatest lineup.


Additional information on the Dragons 20th Season celebration including videos on the 20 Greatest Dragons, special 20th Season merchandise, and Dragons alumni listings is available here:


Dayton Dragons 2019 First Baseman



Click links on each name for career stats and player information.


Candidates:  Rylan Thomas, Jake Turnbull.


In past seasons, it was fairly easy to project the members in the Reds farm system by simply looking at the previous year’s statistics for the Billings Mustangs, the team one level below the Dragons in the Reds farm system.  If a player had a good year in Billings, he typically moved up to Dayton the next season.  While that is still true, the Reds added another affiliate at the same classification level (Rookie-level) as Billings in 2018, the Greeneville Reds in Tennessee.  This should be a good addition for the Dragons, as there are now twice as many players to pick from each spring to construct the Dayton roster.  The leading candidate to play first base for the 2019 Dragons was a Greeneville player in 2018.


The first base position at Dayton in 2018 mainly featured two players, Montrell Marshall and Leandro Santana.  Marshall has retired from professional baseball, and Santana, whose primary position in previous years had been third base, will be previewed at that position next week.  Santana is a candidate to return to Dayton and could see some action at first base in 2019.


The Billings team featured somewhat of a revolving door at first base, with 10 different players playing there over the Mustangs 76-game season.  Only one player played more than 15 games with Billings, Pabel Manzanero, primarily a catcher, who was previewed in our first installment last week.  On the other hand, the new Greeneville affiliate featured an everyday first baseman, Rylan Thomas, who figures to move up to the Dragons in 2019.


Rylan Thomas has some obvious similarities and connections to former Dragons first baseman James Vasquez.  First of all, they played the same position at the same school.  Vasquez starred as a first baseman at the University of Central Florida from 2012-15.  Thomas came along in 2017 and played two seasons at UCF as a first baseman (and pitcher).  The two players had similar best seasons at Central Florida.  Vasquez, in 2014, batted .340 with eight home runs and 56 RBI.  Thomas, in 2018, batted .343 with 13 homers and 55 RBI.  Both players were selected by the Reds in virtually the same point of the draft (Vasquez in the 25th round; Thomas in the 26th round).  Both players have similar physical dimensions (Vasquez was listed at UCF at 6’0”, 230 lbs.; Thomas at 5’11”, 235 lbs).  Vasquez was the Dragons first baseman in his first full season of professional baseball, and Thomas is expected to do the same.


Thomas is a native of Winter Garden, Florida, about 20 miles north of Disney World.  He made an impact at the University of Central Florida under former Wright State head coach Greg Lovelady, right from the start.  As a true freshman in 2017, he was named Freshman All-American by nearly every college baseball publication.  He was also named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, and 2nd Team All-Conference.  As a freshman, Thomas was the best hitter on a team that advanced to the NCAA Regionals.  He hit 14 home runs in 59 games and batted .303.  He also led the team in RBI with 53.


Thomas returned to UCF for his sophomore year and was even better.  In the spring of 2018, he improved his batting average to .343 while hitting 13 home runs with 55 RBI, posting a great OPS of 1.034.  He also improved his walk total and cut down on his strikeouts.  While Thomas lasted until the 26th round of the draft, the Reds clearly made him a priority to sign.  He reportedly received the sixth largest signing bonus of any Reds 2018 draft pick.


After signing with the Reds, Thomas was assigned to Greeneville of the Appalachian League.  He opened his pro career by going 0 for 10 in his first three games, but from that point forward, he was a solid hitter and had streaks of tremendous success.  He was the Reds Minor League Player of the Month for July, batting .316 with nine home runs in 26 games.  From July 8-28, Thomas played in 18 games and had home runs in eight of them.  Over an eight-game stretch late in the month, Thomas batted .577 with four home runs and four doubles.  The slow start had an impact on Thomas’ final batting average as he finished the year at .257 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI, and an OPS of .892 in 55 games. posted this comment on Thomas’ home run power: “He’s capable of hitting home runs in any park, and to any part of the park. If he fully develops, he’s got 35 home run potential.“


Thomas is rated as above-average defensively at first base with a strong arm.  Late in the 2018 season, he began seeing playing time at third base (10 games), and he could play there at times for the Dragons in 2019, where his strong arm becomes more of a benefit.


Australian prospect Jake Turnbull got some attention when he signed with the Reds as a 16-year-old in the fall of 2014.  Turnbull’s career got off to a good start in 2015 when he batted .291 as a catcher with the Goodyear Reds in the Arizona League.  Baseball America ranked him as the #26 prospect in the Reds system and called him “one of the better prospects out of Australia in recent years…he had an outstanding debut (in 2015) as he showed savvy and baseball intelligence.”  Unfortunately, since that promising start to his career, Turnbull has never been able to stay healthy and have a full season of development.  Over the three years since 2015, he has played in just 67 games and totaled just 198 at-bats.  Now a corner infielder, Turnbull played at Billings in 2018 and appeared in 19 games, batting .242 with one home run in 62 at-bats.  Even in his fourth season at the Short-Season level, Turnbull was still younger than the league average in 2018 with Billings, so he still has time to progress if he can make the Dayton roster in 2019.


As stated in the first positional preview, top catcher candidates Jay Schuyler and Pablo Manzanero both saw significant time at first base in 2018 at Billings and both could play there in 2019.  Leandro Santana played in 54 games at first base with the Dragons in 2018 and will be previewed at third base.  Bren Spillane, a strong outfield prospect, played in 15 games at first base in 2018 at Billings.  He will be previewed with the outfielders.


Additional information on the Dragons 20th Season celebration including videos on the 20 Greatest Dragons, special 20th Season merchandise, and Dragons alumni listings is available here:


Again this season, all 140 home and road games can be heard on radio on WONE 980 AM and on the internet at and the Dragons Mobile App.  Games can also be heard on HD Radio on 104.7 WTUI HD 2.  The Dragons will again televise all Saturday and Sunday home games, plus a few Friday night games, on the Dayton CW.


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