The Dayton Dragons roster includes four position players and two pitchers ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 Cincinnati Reds prospects.
The highest-ranked prospect on the roster is outfielder Taylor Trammell (No. 5). A 2016 first-round supplemental draft pick, he batted .303 with 2 HR, 34 RBI and 24 SB in 61 games with the rookie-level Billings Mustangs last year. Baseball America calls him “a blazing runner” and says “his knowledge of the strike zone and hand-eye coordination are notable and could make him a plus hitter.”
Trammell is joined in the outfield by T.J. Friedl (No. 15), Michael Beltre (No. 23) and Jose Siri. Friedl, considered an above-average centerfielder, batted .347 with 3 HR, 17 RBI and 7 SB in 29 games with Billings last year. Beltre — who Baseball America calls “a late-blooming but very intriguing switch-hitting outfielder — played 51 rookie-level games last year, batting .299 with 3 HR, 23 RBI and 13 SB. Siri started last season with Dayton, but batted only .145 in 27 games. He performed much better after moving down to the Pioneer League, batting .320 with 10 HR, 35 RBI and 17 SB in 59 games with the Mustangs.
Catcher Tyler Stephenson (No. 10) returns to Dayton after spending most of the 2016 season with the Dragons. Unfortunately for him, he was injured most of the season, limiting him to only 39 games in the Midwest League. He batted only .216 with 3 HR and 16 RBI in those 39 games, and his season ended early in mid-August when he had surgery on the wrist he injured earlier in the year. Still considered Cincinnati’s top catching prospect, Stephenson hopes to have a healthier season so his development gets back on track.
RHP Tony Santillan (No. 11) will be Dayton’s Opening Day starting pitcher this year. He split last season between Dayton and Billings. He fared much better for Billings (3.92 ERA, 46 Ks, 16 BB in 8 starts) than for Dayton (6.82 ERA, 38 Ks, 24 BB in 7 starts). He has two above-average pitches (fastball and slider) but struggled with control issues last year.
Dayton’s starting rotation is rounded out with left-handers Scott Moss and Wennington Romero and right-handers Ryan Olson and Andrew Jordan. The Dragons bullpen is led by RHP Ryan Hendrix (No. 24), who had a 3.04 ERA with 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 27 innings pitched for Dayton last season.
First baseman James Vasquez returns to Dayton after leading the team in home runs (14) and runs batted in (66) last season. While displaying power and proving valuable in the clutch, however, Vasquez batted only .223 in the 130 games he played with the Dragons.
Hector Vargas will be the team’s starting shortstop. He batted only .194 in 36 games with the Dragons last year, but hit .352 with 6 HR, 41 RBI and 12 SB in 57 games in the Pioneer League last season.