Dragons 2018 Year in Review

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By Dayton Dragons | December 17, 2018 9:37 AM

Go to this link for a printable version of this article, including photos of many of the stories:  http://www.milb.com/documents/4/8/0/301917480/Dayton_Dragons_2018_Year_in_Review.pdf


Dayton, Ohio-The Dayton Dragons 19th year of operation included some big stories:

The 2018 Dragons roster featured the most closely-followed prospect in Minor League Baseball, hard-throwing pitcher Hunter Greene.

  • Robert Murphy, the Dragons president since the organization's inception prior to the 2000 season, was selected as Minor League Baseball's national "Executive of the Year" by Baseball America.
  • The Dragons were selected by Dayton Business Journal as the Miami Valley's "Customer Service Business of the Year." 
  • The Dragons were the Midwest League nominee for Minor League Baseball's "Patriot Award" for the third straight year based on support of local military.
  • Dragons Vice President & Assistant General Manager Brandy Guinaugh was named to the 2018 class of the 40 Under 40 Awards.
  • Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols received a one-game call-up to the Cincinnati Reds.
  • The Dragons all-time record streak of consecutive sold-out dates extended to 1,316…and counting.
  • The Dragons surpassed the 11 million mark in all-time attendance at Fifth Third Field.
  • The Dragons hosted a Wright State University baseball game at Fifth Third Field for the first time.
  • In another first for the Dragons, the organization wore special jerseys on two dates, with the jersey's auctioned for charity after the game.
  • The Dragons made several improvements to the ballpark in multiple areas.

Details on these stories with links to media coverage and a full review of the year are provided in this release.


Professional Full-Season Debut of a Rising Star

The eyes of the baseball world were focused on Fifth Third Field on April 9 and for much of the 2018 Dragons season with the arrival of hard-throwing pitching prospect Hunter Greene. Greene made his debut in a full-season league in Dayton on April 9 before an enthusiastic crowd and a press box filled with national, regional, and local media. Greene's first pitch with the Dragons was clocked at 100 mph. The second overall pick of the 2017 draft, featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he finished high school, spent four months with the Dragons and showed tremendous improvement over the course of the season. In his final game, he fired a pitch at 102 mph, the fastest pitch ever measured at Fifth Third Field, breaking a record previously set by Greene and current Major League closer Aroldis Chapman.



Murphy Wins Major National Honor

Dragons President & General Manager Robert Murphy was selected as the 2018 Minor League Baseball Executive of the Year by Baseball America, the industry trade publication. The award is presented annually to one individual from among all executives in 16 leagues and 190 teams across Minor League Baseball. Murphy became the 17th person to earn the honor since Baseball America began the award in 2002. Previous winners have included five league presidents and 10 team executives. https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/milb-executive-of-the-year-robert-murphy/


Dragons Named Customer Service Business of the Year by DBJ

The Dragons were selected as the Miami Valley's "Customer Service Business of the Year" by the Dayton Business Journal. The Dragons and winners of other 2018 DBJ awards were honored on November 15 at the Dayton Business Journal gala at the Schuster Performing Arts Center.


Dragons Again Earn Midwest League's "Patriot Award" Nomination

For the third straight year, the Dragons were selected as the Midwest League nominee for the Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award, a national award selected by Minor League Baseball. The award is presented for outstanding support of and engagement with the United States Armed Forces and veterans, both at the ballpark and in the community. For many years, the Dragons have included local military programs into their season-long schedule of events and promotions. 


Dragons Recognized by Ohio Secretary of State

The Dragons were recognized by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for the organization's contributions to economic growth and the overall business climate. A pre-game presentation by Elaine Herrick, Regional Liaison for the Ohio Secretary of State, took place on Wednesday, July 25 at Fifth Third Field before the Dragons game.


Other Awards for Dragons Front Office Members

Dragons Vice President and Assistant General Manager Brandy Guinaugh was named to the 2018 Class of the Forty Under 40 Awards, which recognizes the area's most extraordinary business and community leaders under the age of 40, sponsored by the Dayton Business Journal. Brandy has been with the Dragons since 2004. https://www.milb.com/dayton/news/dragons-vp-brandy-guinaugh-selected-as-forty-under-40-honoree/c-269409220

On April 25, Katrina Gibbs, Dragons Director of Entertainment, was selected as the Daytonian of the Week by Dayton.com. Katrina oversees the Dragons Green Team, mascots, and all on-field entertainment. She is a native of Beavercreek and completed her third year in her current role with the organization.https://www.dayton.com/entertainment/personalities/daytonian-the-week-meet-the-woman-who-brings-the-fun-dragons-games/VweVpZjgI5onwEjDQVIZ7L/


Dragons Broadcaster Calls 4,000th Game, Gets One-Game Call-Up to Reds

Tom Nichols, the voice of the Dragons on radio and television over the last 11 years, called his 4,000th career game on August 8, prompting a one-game call-up to the Reds on August 28. Nichols called three innings of play-by-play alongside Reds broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley and was interviewed before and after the game on Reds TV on FOX Sports Ohio. The story was featured in an article in the New York Times.



The Streak

The Dragons consecutive game sell-out streak continued through the 2018 season. After the final regular season home game on August 31, the streak now stands at 1,316 consecutive sold-out games, an all-time record for sports in North America.

Longest Sell-Outs Streaks in Professional Sports History

No.      Team                                       League                                                Years

1,316   Dayton Dragons                      Minor League Baseball                       2000-current

820      Boston Red Sox                     Major League Baseball                       2003-'13

814      Portland Trail Blazers             National Basketball Association         1977-'95

744      Dallas Mavericks                    National Basketball Association         2001-'18

662      Boston Celtics                         National Basketball Association         1980-'95


Dragons Top 11 Million Milestone in All-Time Attendance

The Dragons reached the 11 million milestone in all-time attendance at Fifth Third Field on July 31. They finished the season with an attendance total of 550,725, marking the 13th straight year that they have topped all Minor League Baseball teams below the Triple-A level. The Dragons have led all of Single-A baseball in attendance in each of their 19 seasons of operation.


Wright State Baseball at Fifth Third Field

On May 17, the Wright State Raiders met the University of Northern Kentucky at Fifth Third Field. It was the first-ever appearance for Wright State Baseball at the home of the Dragons. Wright State won the game, 12-0, and they went on to appear in the NCAA Regional at Stanford University to cap a big season.https://www.mydaytondailynews.com/sports/wright-state-blanks-nku-wet-night-fifth-third-field/gCtoed84TuipmWB0VZsMyL/


First Time Ever-Dragons Wear Special Jerseys, Conduct Two Jersey Auctions

On "Defeating Cancer Night" on June 8, and "Hometown Heroes American Celebration Night" on August 18, the Dragons wore special jerseys. The jersey worn by every player and coach was auctioned after the game. Benefits went to the American Cancer Society for the June 8 jerseys, and to the First Sergeants Council for the jerseys worn on August 18. It was the first time in Dragons history that the team wore special jerseys to benefit charitable organizations.

Defeating Cancer jerseys: https://www.milb.com/dayton/news/special-dragons-jersey-friday-on-defeating-cancer-night/c-279886198

Stars & Stripes jerseys: https://www.milb.com/dayton/news/dragons-to-wear-stars--stripes-jerseys-saturday/c-290285382


Improvements to AZEK Dragons Lair

On the heels of a successful new concept in 2017, the AZEK Dragons Lair featured additional improvements in 2018. The Dragons added 20 umbrellas to the tables in the Lair and also added two television monitors featuring the Dragons in-game video feed. The Lair features an all-inclusive ticket that includes a ballpark buffet and souvenirs.  


Renovation of Center Field Party Deck

The Dragons teamed up with AZEK Building Products to bring a new look to the popular center field party deck for the 2018 baseball season. An AZEK Paver system was installed as a new flooring surface for the deck. 


New Concourse Player Banners & Heritage Signs Showcase Dragons History

Many of the stars who have been part of Dragons history were displayed with 20 new banners on the main concourse at Fifth Third Field. Banners highlighting the exploits of players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Adam Dunn have been added. Additionally, eight new Heritage Signs were also new on the concourse, telling the story of the Dragons tradition.


Introduction of Wright State Top Teacher Award

The new "Top Teacher" award, sponsored by Wright State University, became part of the Dragons MVP Program for 2018. Three teachers who participated in the MVP Program were selected and honored during a special inning break of a Dragons game for their accomplishments in their classroom and community. "Top Teacher" honorees were recognized in the Play Ball game program, Dayton Daily News, radio commercials, and social media posts.


Season Review

The Dragons season began on April 5 and concluded on September 3. Here are some of the facts and statistics: 

Dayton Dragons 2018 Recap

Final Record: 58-80

First Half: 31-37 (6th in Eastern Division)

Second Half: 27-43 (8th in Eastern Division)


Final Attendance: 550,725

Per Game Attendance Average: 7,868


2018 Dragons Midwest League All-Star Game Participants:

Hendrik Clementina (starting designated hitter)

Stuart Fairchild (outfielder)

Montrell Marshall (first baseman)

John Ghyzel (pitcher)

Cory Thompson (pitcher)


Dragons Midwest League Full Season All-Star (one player per position league-wide):

Hendrik Clementina (designated hitter)

John Ghyzel (right-handed relief pitcher)


Midwest League Batter/Pitcher of the Week

Tyler Mondile (Pitcher):                      May 14-20

Packy Naughton (Pitcher):                 July 9-15

Jose Garcia (Batter):                          August 13-19


Dragons Cincinnati Reds Minor League Batter/Pitcher of the Month

Hendrik Clementina (Batter):              May

Hunter Greene (Pitcher):                    June (Co-Pitcher of the Month)


SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

Hunter Greene (Pitcher)


Dragons on Baseball America's Midwest League "Best Tools" Survey

Minor League Baseball's trade publication, Baseball America, conducted a survey of Midwest League managers of the "best tools" in the circuit:


Best Pitching Prospect:                      Hunter Greene

Pitcher with Best Fastball:                  Hunter Greene

Best Relief Pitcher:                             John Ghyzel


2018 Dragons Team Leaders


Batting Average:                                 Andy Sugilio, .278 (qualifier: minimum 378 plate appearances)

                                                            Alejo Lopez, .321 (non-qualifier, 260 plate appearances)

Home Runs:                                        Hendrik Clementina, 18

Runs Batted In:                                   Hendrik Clementina, 59

Stolen Bases:                                      Jeter Downs, 37

Games Played:                                   Jose Garcia, 125


Victories:                                             Cory Thompson, 6

Earned Run Average                          Austin Orewiler, 3.72 (qualifier; min. 112 IP)

Saves:                                                 John Ghyzel, 19

Games Pitched:                                  Ryan Nutof/Cory Thompson, 46

Innings Pitched:                                  Packy Naughton, 154

Strikeouts:                                           Packy Naughton, 137


Dragons among the Midwest League Leaders


Games:                                               Jose Garcia, Tied-5th (125)

Home Runs:                                        Hendrik Clementina, Tied-5th (18)


Strikeouts:                                           Packy Naughton, 1st (137)

Saves:                                                 John Ghyzel, 1st (19)

Innings Pitched:                                  Packy Naughton, 1st (154)

Games Pitched:                                  Ryan Nutof, Tied-1st (46)

Games Pitched:                                  Cory Thompson, Tied-1st (46)

Games Started:                                  Packy Naughton, Tied-1st (28)

Earned Run Average:                         Austin Orewiler, 8th (3.72)

Lowest BB/9 IP (starters):                   Packy Naughton, 4th (1.99)


Notable Dragons Performances in 2018

  • Two Dragons had big nights in an 8-7 win at Clinton on May 4. Hendrik Clementina hit two home runs in the game, becoming the only Dragons player in 2018 to enjoy a multi-home run night. In the same game, Narciso Crook hit the Dragons only inside-the-park home run of the 2018 season.
  • On May 22, Jeter Downs ended the first game of a doubleheader with a walk-off RBI single, then led off the bottom of the first inning in the second game with a home run. Downs had two consecutive Dayton at-bats on the same day (no other Dragons player batted between his two at-bats), driving in runs in both. Jason Stark of The Athletic checked with Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistics service for Major League Baseball, and found that, at the big league level, no player in baseball history has ever had two consecutive at-bats for the same team on the same day and recorded RBI in both at bats.
  • On July 2 at Lake County, Dragons pitcher Hunter Greene enjoyed the best start of his professional career. He struck out 10 batters and walked none over seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits to earn a win.
  • On July 13, Dragons reliever Brian Hunter struck out four batters in one inning. Hunter recorded three outs on strikeouts in the inning but also notched a fourth strikeout, only to see the inning prolonged when the batter reached first on a dropped third strike. 
  • On July 20 at Wisconsin, Jose Garcia tied a Dragons club record with five hits in a game. That same night, Garcia also enjoyed a baseball rarity when he collected two hits in the same inning, a seven-run sixth, which was the biggest scoring inning of the year for the Dragons. They beat the Timber Rattlers 12-5.
  • On July 27 at Fifth Third Field, the Dragons enjoyed one of their most exciting wins of the season. After falling behind Fort Wayne 5-0 early and still trailing 6-3 going to the bottom of the seventh, the Dragons mounted a comeback. Lorenzo Cedrola hit a grand slam home run and Jeter Downs followed with a solo homer as the Dragons topped Fort Wayne 8-6. Cedrola's grand slam was the only one of the year for the Dragons.
  • On August 15, the first four batters of the seventh inning combined to hit for the cycle for the Dragons. Leandro Santana started the inning with a home run; Reshard Munroe tripled; Raul Wallace singled; and Jose Garcia doubled.
  • Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton became just the third player in Dragons history to lead the Midwest League in strikeouts. Naughton finished with 137, notching eight in his final start of the year on September 2 to wrap up the MWL crown. Naughton also led the MWL in innings pitched in 2018.


Other 2018 Highlights at Fifth Third Field:

Hometown Heroes Celebration Nights: Five times during the 2018 baseball season, the Dragons partnered with the Dayton Development Coalition and Leidos to pay tribute to all service men and women in the area. Festivities included the national anthem being performed by members of the United States Air Force, the presentation of the colors by the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard, honoring Honor Flight Dayton, a "welcome home" ceremony for returning service men and women, honoring a 100-year-old veteran of Iwo Jima, a make-up birthday celebration, and swearing in ceremonies for a group of local Air Force recruits. The Hometown Heroes program was capped off by the American Celebration Night on August 18. Dates were April 11, May 8, June 24, July 15, and August 18.

Home Run for Life: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Dragons teamed up to provide five children battling serious medical conditions with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities during Dragons games. Each honoree got to take an honorary home run "lap" around the bases of Fifth Third Field during a game, high five the players from both teams, and receive an honorary bat from Dragons manager Luis Bolivar. Dates were April 18, May 30, June 27, July 11, and July 25.

Community All-Stars: For the sixth straight year, the Dragons partnered with Vectren to present the Dragons Community All-Stars Program honoring individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond to improve the quality of life in the Miami Valley. Five of them appeared on the field during a game with a tribute video telling their story. Dates were May 8, June 25, July 30, August 16, and August 24.


Other Events:

High School Baseball: For the 13th consecutive season, the Dragons played host to high school baseball at Fifth Third Field. In April and May, 28 area high school teams participated in 15 games and raised over $30,000 for their athletic programs.

Dragons 5K: For the eighth time, the Dragons hosted a 5K run around downtown Dayton on July 21, presented by Orthopedic Associates of South West Ohio.

* Boy Scout/ Girl Scout Overnighters: May 11 and July 27

* Wright State University Raider Day at Fifth Third Field: May 17

* Kettering Health Network Strike Out Stroke Night: May 20

* MVP Field Day: June 2

* Kettering Health Network Public Safety Day: July 15

* IGS Energy's Dragons Little Big Leagues Baseball Camps: June 25-26; July 30-31

* 18th Annual Bob Ross Classic Game: August 2

* Donatos family Movie Night: August 4

* Fourth Annual Yoga in the Outfield presented by the Winery at Versailles: August 9

* Great American Beer Tasting presented by Heidelberg Distributing: August 11

* American Celebration Night: August 18

* Kettering Health Network Breast Cancer Awareness Game: August 26

* Home Build on the Plaza in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors:             August 25-30

* College Prep Night: September 26

* Declare Dayton Worship Concert and Celebration: October 7


Six "Walks" at Fifth Third Field in 2018

Walk for Epilepsy: May 19

AIDS Walk: June 8

American Heart Association: September 22

Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk: September 29

Walk to End Alzheimer's: October 6

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: October 20


Dragons Little Big Leagues

Presented by IGS Energy, the Dragons Little Big Leagues was a season-long program for little leaguers and a chance for all fans to celebrate youth baseball. It included two days of baseball training by Dragons players and coaches at Fifth Third Field for kids; a visit by Dragons players and mascots to a Little League field; season-long parades and photo opportunities at Fifth Third Field for Little League teams; and the grand prize, an opportunity for two teams to play a game at the home of the Dragons.


Charitable Initiatives in 2018

For the 19th straight year, the Dragons utilized community non-profit groups to operate the concessions stands for every Dragons game at Fifth Third Field. With a percentage of each game's concessions revenue donated back to the non-profit groups who operate the stands, approximately $300,000 was raised in 2018 for those groups. Over the Dragons history, approximately $5.7 million has been donated to local non-profit groups. More than 40 non-profit organizations participate in the program.

The Dragons 50/50 Foundation raised money for the American Cancer Society in 2018. Over the three years of the 50/50 Foundation, it has generated $250,000 for the Dragons Foundation and charities.

The Dragons made donations and in-kind gifts totaling $43,000 to local non-profit and youth organizations.

The Dragons completed a Ticket Fundraising Program that raised $47,000 for local non-profit groups.

Dragons School Assembly Program and Speaker's Bureau

The Dragons School Assembly program visited more than 40 area elementary schools in 2018 with a 30-minute high-energy presentation. The Dragons Speaker's Bureau presented to 36 local service clubs, non-profits, and class rooms in 2018.


National Entertainment Acts at Fifth Third Field

The Dragons home schedule in 2018 featured 11 national entertainment acts. They included:

April 8: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

April 27: Russian Bar Trio

May 12: Jesse White Tumblers

May 18: Xpogo

June 9: BirdZerk!

June 10: ZOOperstars

July 12: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

July 14: Mutts Gone Nuts

July 26: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

August 24: Jesse White Tumblers

August 30: Team Zoom Canine Entertainment

There were two fireworks shows at Fifth Third Field in 2018: July 4, August 18.


Dragons in the Major Leagues

Former Dragons who Made Major League Baseball Debuts in 2018 (97 total since 2000)

Aristides Aquino

Alex Blandino

Joe Hudson

Tanner Rainey

Jesus Reyes

Zack Weiss

(All players debuted with Reds except Hudson, who debuted with Angels)



Aristides Aquino

Homer Bailey

Tucker Barnhart

Alex Blandino

Phillip Ervin

Amir Garrett

Billy Hamilton

Michael Lorenzen

Tyler Mahle

Devin Mesoraco

Wandy Peralta

Tanner Rainey

Jesus Reyes

Sal Romano

Jackson Stephens

Robert Stephenson

Joey Votto

Zack Weiss

Jesse Winker



Jay Bruce, Mets

Daniel Corcino, Dodgers

Zack Cozart, Angels

Johnny Cueto, Giants

Edwin Encarnacion, Indians

Todd Frazier, Mets

Didi Gregorius, Yankees

Joe Hudson, Angels

Ryan LaMarre, Twins/White Sox

Ben Lively, Phillies

Devin Mesoraco, Mets

Josh Ravin, Braves

Miguel Rojas, Marlins

Ronald Torreyes, Yankees

Justin Turner, Dodgers

Zach Vincej, Mariners


Dragons in the News (National and Regional Media)


New York Times story on Hunter Greene:

Getting His Bat Back



MLB Pipeline (Jonathan Mayo) video with Hunter Greene:

Greene Breaks Down Dayton Debut in Videos



Tom Archdeacon story on Hunter Greene (picked up by various national outlets):

Reds phenom Hunter Greene has all the tools, and plenty of heart



Baseball America story on Robert Murphy:



The Athletic story on Dragons prospect Jonathan India:

Reds top pick Jonathan India adapting to the pro baseball grind



Cincinnati Enquirer story on Joe Morgan appearance on Dragons TV:

Joe Morgan talks Big Red Machine during Hunter Greene's Dayton Dragons start



New York Times story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols: 

A Broadcaster Makes it to The Show at Last



FOX Sports Ohio (Reds TV) interview with Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Nichols Earns MLB Radio Call Up (video)



Cincinnati.com story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Muncie native calls Cincinnati Reds game on radio after 31 years in minor leagues



Sports Broadcast Journal story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Tom Nichols' 30 Colorful Minor League Seasons: Memorable Characters and Endless Roads



Sports Broadcast Journal Q&A with Tom Nichols:



Sports Radio PD story on Dragons broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Tom Nichols Waits 31 Years to Call First MLB Game



WLW story on call-up of Dragons Broadcaster Tom Nichols:

Outstanding: The Reds are Calling Up Tom Nichols!



Dragons behind-the-back catch selected as #6 on ESPN Sports Center "Plays of the Day":



Social Media

The Dragons continued to expand into social media in 2018. The Dragons Facebook page climbed to over 47,300 "likes" while the Dragons Twitter page jumped to over 15,400 followers and the Dragons Instagram page increased to 13,000 followers.


Dragons Broadcast Information in 2018

In 2018, 25 Dragons games were televised live on a major TV "over the air" station, Dayton's CW (Channel 26). All 138 regular season games and all post-season games were broadcast on radio on WONE 980 AM.



This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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