Centerville's Dan Jensen will become the first player from the Dayton metro area to play for the Dragons. The 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher played at Sinclair Community College and the University of Cincinnati after a tremendous senior season at Centerville High School in 2007. Jensen was drafted by the Reds in the 20th round in 2011.
The 2012 Dragons, under manager Delino DeShields, pitching coach Tom Browning, and batting coach Alex Pelaez, includes former NCAA stars from the Big Ten Conference, the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12, the PAC 12, the Big East, Conference USA, the Atlantic 10, and the Atlantic Sun.
The Dragons roster features four players who were members of last season's Dragons team that set a club record for victories in a season. Outfielders Jefry Sierra and Theo Bowe, both of whom started all three Dragons playoff games in the outfield, return in 2012. Sierra and Bowe were two of four 2011 Dragons to steal at least 20 bases as the club led all of minor league baseball in stolen bases.
Tanner Robles and Stalin Gerson combined to make 32 starts for the Dragons in 2011 and both return as part of the 2012 Dayton starting rotation. Robles went 33-0 during his high school career in Utah and was a two-time state player of the year. Gerson was the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Month in June, 2011. With the Dragons last season, Gerson was 6-2 with a 3.41 ERA.
Headlining the list of new Dragons players is first baseman Sean Buckley, an all-star last season with the Billings Mustangs in the Pioneer League when he belted 14 home runs in just 59 games while batting .289. Buckley is the son of Reds Director of Amateur Scouting Chris Buckley.
Second baseman Ryan Wright is a former Second Team All-American and First Team All-Big East Conference selection from the University of Louisville. Wright was a fifth round draft pick by the Reds last June and batted .301 in his professional debut season, connecting on eight home runs and driving in 37 runs in 45 games. Buckley and Wright will be joined in the Dayton infield by shortstop Juan Perez, third baseman Junior Arias, and utility man James Ewing, a former star at the University of Southern Mississippi who helped key his team's run into the College World Series.
Catcher Nick O'Shea was a First Team All-Big Ten pick at the University of Minnesota, and he also brings home run potential to the Dragons lineup. O'Shea hit seven home runs in only 145 at-bats with Billings last season after being drafted by the Reds. Defensive standout Yovan Gonzalez and Danny Vicioso, who batted .341 in 28 games at Billings last season, are other catchers on the roster.
Joining Sierra and Bowe in the outfield are Kyle Waldrop, a football and baseball prep star from Ft. Myers who, according to Baseball America, is the highest rated prospect on the Dayton roster; former University of Arizona star Steve Selsky, who earned First Team All PAC 10 honors in 2010 when he hit .370 with nine homers in 58 games; and Juan Silva, a native of Puerto Rico who hit .293 at Billings last season.
On the mound, reliever James Allen entered professional baseball last summer as one of the top relief pitchers in the history of the Big 12 Conference at Kansas State, where he set school records in single-season and career saves. Allen played at Billings last summer after signing with the Reds and notched seven saves in 22 games with a 1.22 earned run average. He walked five and struck out 39 with the Mustangs.
Robles and Gerson will be joined in the starting rotation by Justice French out of Mercer University; Carlos Gonzalez, a Los Angeles native who played at Cal State Northridge; and Radhames Quezada, a hard-thrower from the Dominican Republic.
Jensen and Allen will be joined in the bullpen by former TCU star Erik Miller; former Baltimore city player of the year Ryan Kemp out of St. Joseph's; former University of South Florida hurler Jimmy Moran; Carlos Contreras, a native of the Dominican Republic; and Kyle McMyne, a product of Villanova with a fastball that reaches 96 miles per hour.
Catchers: Nick O'Shea; Yovan Gonzalez, Danny Vicioso.
Infielders: Sean Buckley, Ryan Wright, Juan Perez, Junior Arias, James Ewing.
Outfielders: Juan Silva, Jefry Sierra, Kyle Waldrop, Steve Selsky, Theo Bowe.
Starting Pitchers: Justice French, Stalin Gerson, Carlos Gonzalez, Tanner Robles, Radhames Quezada.
Relief Pitchers: James Allen, Carlos Contreras, Dan Jensen, Ryan Kemp, Kyle McMyne, Erik Miller, Jimmy Moran.
The Dragons open the 2012 season on Thursday, April 5 vs. the West Michigan Whitecaps at 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Call (937) 228-2287 for ticket information.