DAYTON, OHIO—The Dayton Dragons organization is already hard at work in preparation for their 23rd season in the Midwest League. The Dragons 2023 home opening night at Day Air Ballpark in the heart of the Water Street District is set for Tuesday, April 11 when the Dragons host the Great Lakes Loons. Here is a summary of some of the player and team notes from the first six weeks of the off-season.
The Dragons finished the 2022 season with the highest per game attendance average in all Minor League Baseball, leading all levels (120 teams) for the first time in franchise history. The Dragons averaged 7,935 per home date over 56 total dates.
Schedule Announced for 2023
The Dragons have announced their 2023 home schedule with game times. The game time format for home dates will follow the same pattern as in 2022. All Tuesday-Friday games will start at 7:05 p.m. at Day Air Ballpark. All Saturday games will also start at 7:05 p.m. except for Saturdays in April (April 15 and April 29), which will begin at 1:05 p.m. All Sunday games throughout the season will start at 1:05 p.m. The Dragons will not play on Mondays in 2023.
The complete 2023 schedule is here: https://www.milb.com/dayton/team/schedules
Numerous honors for Elly De La Cruz
Awards and honors for Dragons 2022 shortstop Elly De La Cruz continue to pile up. Since the end of the season, De La Cruz has been named by Baseball America as the shortstop on the 2022 Minor League All-Star Team (one player selected per position across all levels of the minor leagues); the Reds Minor League Player of the Year; and one of three finalists for the Minor League Player of the Year (also across all levels of the minors). He was also picked by MLB.com as the “First Team” shortstop on the Prospect Team of the Year across all Minor League Baseball.
On October 15, De La Cruz opened his winter league season with a huge opening night performance for Licey of the Dominican Winter League. He went 4 for 5 with a double, triple, and four runs batted in.
In 2022, De La Cruz became the first player in Dragons history and first Midwest League player since 1999 (Corey Patterson, Lansing) to hit at least .300 with at least 20 home runs and at least 25 stolen bases. Including his time this summer with Chattanooga after he was promoted from the Dragons in late-July, De La Cruz became the first player anywhere in Minor League Baseball to hit at least 25 home runs, steal at least 40 bases, and hit at least .300 in a season since George Springer in 2013.
As reported at RedsMinorLeagues.com, De La Cruz became the first Reds player since 1984 to win the Reds Minor League Triple Crown (leading the organization in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in). In fact, De La Cruz became just the third player to do so in recorded history, joining Champ Summers in 1978 and Alan Knicely in 1984. Summers was 32 years old when he won the Reds Minor League Triple Crown in ’78, and Knicely was 29 when he did it in ’84. De La Cruz was 20 years old this season, one of the youngest players in each of the two leagues he played in.
More Dragons in the Major Leagues
Late in the 2022 season, two more former Dragons reached the Major Leagues, bringing the total of Dragons in the big leagues to 131. Michael Siani, the Dragons all-time career leader in runs scored, made his Major League debut with the Reds on September 22 and eventually appeared in nine games with Cincinnati before the end of their season. Siani spent two full seasons with the Dragons in 2019 and 2021. Right-handed starting pitcher Noah Davis, who spent most of the 2021 season with the Dragons before being traded to Colorado in exchange for big league pitcher Mychal Givens, made his MLB debut with the Rockies on October 5.
Dragons in the Arizona Fall League
Seven former Dragons are playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, an invitation-only league that features many of baseball’s top prospects. All are with the Glendale Desert Dogs. From the 2022 Dragons, outfielder Rece Hinds, shortstop Noelvi Marte, and pitchers Christian Roa, Jake Gozzo, Vin Timpanelli, and Sam Benschoter are on the Glendale roster. Shortstop Matt McLain, a member of the 2021 Dragons after being selected in the first round of the draft earlier that summer, is also with Glendale.
Of those seven, Benschoter has turned in the top performance so far, tossing eight scoreless innings. Benschoter looks like a great non-drafted free agent signing in 2021 out of Michigan State. His fastball averaged 95-96 mph in his most recent outing with Glendale. Hinds has hit two home runs in 10 games to tie for fifth most in the league.
Interestingly, Marte, who is ranked right behind De La Cruz as the Reds #2 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com, has played third base exclusively with Glendale after playing every defensive inning at shortstop in 2021-22, covering 204 games. Marte was one of the key pieces in the trade that sent all-star starting pitcher Luis Castillo to Seattle and appeared in 30 games with the Dragons after joining the Reds system, batting .292. McLain has played exclusively shortstop with Glendale. The Reds are truly loaded with shortstop prospects and will have to consider some positional changes. The natural position is shortstop for De La Cruz, Marte, McLain, big league shortstop (and former Dragon) Jose Barrero, and the next prospect coming through the pipeline, Edwin Arroyo, who also came to the Reds in the Castillo deal. Arroyo is ranked as the Reds #3 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com and could be with the Dragons in 2023.
Another Honor for Abbott
Andrew Abbott, whose red-hot start for the Dragons in 2022 earned him the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Month award for April as well as a quick promotion to Chattanooga, had a strong finish to the year. Abbott was selected as the Southern League Pitcher of the Month for September when he fired 16 scoreless innings.
The Dragons are taking deposits for 2023 season tickets now. New season ticket features for 2023 include the “Dragons Family Club” and “Dragons Business Club” with free food, new gifts, free events, and no price increase from 2022.
Members of both clubs receive a free 10% gift card to spend in the ballpark on concessions or merchandise (value of the card is equal to 10% of the value of the season ticket package).
Both clubs also include invitations to three free events:
- Family Club members will receive a family movie night, a team meet-and-greet, and an end-of-season party.
- Business Club members will have a networking event, business expo, and an end-of-the season party.
Both clubs also have great added values, a ticket exchange program, fun gifts, discounts in the team store, season ticket holder-only perks and benefits, great entertainment, and a personal customer service representative. Each plan will also receive an Ely De La Cruz bobblehead with every seat purchased.
All 2023 season ticket plans also include all the same benefits from past seasons, including our season ticket exchange program (should you ever miss a game, just exchange for a game later in the season, with no loss in value).
Call the Dragons at (937) 228-2287 or email [email protected] for more information, or visit the Dragons website at daytondragons.com/seasontickets.
Group Outings and Hospitality
The Dragons are also scheduling group outings for the 2023 season. Group ticket rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Stadium recognition and special food and beverage options are available.
Hospitality areas include luxury suites, the Drone Express Dragons Lair, and party decks. Please note that as of November 19, the Dragons are 74% sold out of luxury suites; 52% sold out of ticket inventory in the Dragons Lair; and 34% sold out of 2023 party deck dates. The Dragons expect to be sold out of hospitality inventory before April 1, 2023.
For more information on Dragons group outings and hospitality, email [email protected].
More Information:_ The Dayton Dragons are the affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play a 66-game home schedule at beautiful Day Air Ballpark_ in the heart of the Water Street District. Deposits on 2023 season tickets are being accepted now. For information about season tickets including the new Business Club and Family Club, contact the Dragons by calling at (937) 228-2287, emailing at [email protected], or go to daytondragons.com. Information is also available regarding group tickets, lawn tickets, sponsorship opportunities or booking a Dragons speaker.