Baseball America, the trade publication for Minor League Baseball, annually ranks the top 30 prospects in each organization in their highly-regarded Prospect Handbook. Four of the top 10 Reds prospects on the list and six of the top 18 are players projected to start the season with the Dragons. Only one other time in Dragons history has a Dayton team opened a season with four of the Reds top-10 prospects (2006).
Right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson, who is projected to begin the season in Dayton after finishing the 2012 year here, is the #2 prospect in the Reds organization, trailing only former Dragon Billy Hamilton. The last Reds prospects as highly-regarded as Stephenson entering their seasons with the Dragons were Hamilton in 2011 and Jay Bruce in 2006. Both were also rated as the #2 prospects in the Reds organization when they played for the Dragons.
Additionally, Jesse Winker, a highly-touted 19-year-old outfielder who is expected to join Stephenson on the Dayton roster, is ranked #6 by Baseball America. Other Baseball America top-rated prospects projected to start 2013 in Dayton include left-handed starting pitcher Ismael Guillon (#8), right-handed starting pitcher Dan Langfield (#10), outfielder Jeff Gelalich (#13), and third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean (#18). Right-handed starting pitcher Sal Romano is rated at #29, making it possible that four of the five members of the Dragons starting pitching rotation will be players identified by Baseball America among the Reds top-30 prospects.
There are also several players on the 2013 list of top prospects who played for the Dragons in prior years. They include Hamilton (2011 Dragons), who is rated as the #1 prospect; right-handed pitcher Daniel Corcino (2010-'11 Dragons), rated at #4; right-handed pitcher Kyle Lotzkar (2008, '11 Dragons), ranked at #11; right-handed pitcher Carlos Contreras (2012 Dragons), rated as the #12 prospect; outfielder Yorman Rodriguez (2011-'12 Dragons), rated #15; first baseman/outfielder Donald Lutz (2011 Dragons) at #17; outfielder Ryan LaMarre (2010 Dragons) at #20; outfielder Kyle Waldrop (2012 Dragons) at #21; catcher Tucker Barnhart (2011 Dragons) at #22; infielder Henry Rodriguez (2010 Dragons) at #23; infielder Devin Lohman (2011 Dragons) at #24; first baseman Neftali Soto (2008 Dragons) at #25; right-handed pitcher Curtis Partch (2008-'09 Dragons) at #26; right-handed pitcher Chad Rogers (2011 Dragons) at #27; and right-handed pitcher Josh Ravin (2008-'10 Dragons) at #30.
2013 Baseball America Reds Top-10 Prospects:
1. Billy Hamilton, cf/ss
2. Robert Stephenson, rhp
3. Tony Cingrani, lhp
4. Daniel Corcino, rhp
5. Nick Travieso, rhp
6. Jesse Winker, of
7. J.J. Hoover, rhp
8. Ismael Guillo, lhp
9. Jonathan Reynoso, of
10. Dan Langfield, rhp
Former Dragons shortstop Didi Gregorius was originally ranked as the Reds #5 prospect prior to a three-team trade that sent him eventually to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dragons open their 14th season in the Midwest League on April 4 at West Michigan with opening night at Fifth Third Field set for April 11.