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Dragons on Deck: Tejay Antone

January 21, 2020

Position:  Right-Handed Starting PitcherAntone was the Cincinnati Reds third round selection in the 2014 draft out of Weatherford College in Texas. He played at TCU before transferring to Weatherford.

Position:  Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Antone was the Cincinnati Reds third round selection in the 2014 draft out of Weatherford College in Texas. He played at TCU before transferring to Weatherford.

2019 Season:  In his first full season back on the mound after missing all of 2017 and part of 2018 due to Tommy John elbow surgery, Antone had a strong year. His season was rewarded when the Reds placed him on their 40-man roster in the fall, a validation of his high regard within the organization. Antone spent the first half of the 2019 season with Double-A Chattanooga and made 13 starts, going 7-4 with an earned run average of 3.38. At the end of the first half, he ranked second in the Southern League in wins, fourth in innings pitched, eighth in ERA, and eighth in opponents batting average (.227). He showed excellent control with only 22 walks in 74.2 innings. That success earned him a promotion to Triple-A Louisville to start the second half, where he made another 13 starts, going 4-8 with a 4.65 ERA. His overall numbers for the year included a record of 11-12 with a 4.00 ERA. His 11 victories on the season tied Packy Naughton for most in the entire Reds farm system. 
With the Dragons:  Antone spent the entire 2015 season with the Dragons under the tutelage of pitching coach Tom Browning. That season's Dayton starting rotation was one of the deepest in team history with four starting pitchers ranking in the top-10 in the Midwest League in earned run average, led by Tyler Mahle's 2.43 mark. Antone posted a 2.91 ERA in 26 starts and walked only 33 batters in 158 innings, a tremendous ratio. His best start with the Dragons was also his most frustrating, on July 23 in Dayton against West Michigan. In that game, Antone carried a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning, holding a 1-0 lead while allowing just one walk with eight strikeouts. Through eight innings, the Whitecaps had not advanced a runner past first base in the entire game. Antone recorded two quick outs to start the ninth and was one out away from a complete game shutout, an achievement that no Dragons pitcher had recorded since 2008. Antone was within a pitch of finishing what would have been the best performance by a Dayton pitcher in seven years, but West Michigan's Michael Gerber spoiled his night when he connected on a two-out, game-tying solo home run. Antone's pitch count was high enough that Gerber's home run not only ended his bid for a shutout, but it ended his night. The game eventually went 13 innings before the Dragons won, 2-1, on a walk-off RBI single by Narciso Crook.
Outlook:  Antone will go to spring training with the Reds, and while he would not be a favorite to earn a spot on the opening day roster, his position on the Reds 40-man roster would put him in line for a possible call-up at some point during the season. A return to Louisville to start the year would seem likely.
Fun Facts:  Antone's father, Tony, was a freshman back-up quarterback on the 1975 national championship team with the University of Oklahoma under head coach Barry Switzer. The Sooners ran the wishbone during that era and completed only 22 passes all season, defeating Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Tony Antone was a two-time letter winner on the gridiron and also played baseball at Oklahoma.