DAYTON, OHIO—The Dayton Dragons, in partnership with the Cincinnati Reds, today announced a 31-player roster. A final Opening Day roster of 30 players will be established prior to the Dragons High-A Central League season-opening game on Tuesday, May 4 at the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, Michigan. The Dragons 2021
DAYTON, OHIO—The Dayton Dragons, in partnership with the Cincinnati Reds, today announced a 31-player roster. A final Opening Day roster of 30 players will be established prior to the Dragons High-A Central League season-opening game on Tuesday, May 4 at the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, Michigan. The Dragons 2021 Opening Night game is set for 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11 against the Lansing Lugnuts at Day Air Ballpark.
The Dragons roster is headlined by Reds top-10 prospect Michael Siani, a center fielder who spent the entire 2019 season with the Dragons when the club was classified as Low-A. Siani moves up a level on the Reds developmental ladder in 2021 (the 2020 season was canceled) and with the Dragons move up to the High-A classification, Siani returns to Dayton.
The Dragons roster includes three of the top 15 players in _Baseball America_’s ranking of top Reds prospects. Along with Siani at #10, Dragons fans will see right-handed starting pitcher Lyon Richardson, the #13 prospect, and right-handed starter Noah Davis, ranked #15. The Dayton roster also features 11 players who have previous experience with the Dragons including many of the top Dayton players from 2019.
Additionally, the Dragons roster features two players who were signed by the Reds out of Federal Service academies. Outfield prospect Jacob Hurtubise was signed out of West Point, where he was an All-American with Army in 2019, and pitcher Jake Gilbert, who played four seasons at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Dragons 2021 Season-Opening Roster
Starting Pitchers: Graham Ashcraft, Noah Davis, *Lyon Richardson, *Eduardo Salazar, *Ricky Salinas.
Relief Pitchers: *Eddy Demurias, Tyler Garbee, Jake Gilbert, Sam Hellinger, J.C. Keys, Karsen Lindell, Francis Peguero, Jacques Pucheu, Broxton Roxby, Johnnie Schneider, Spencer Stockton.
Catchers: James Free, Jose Tello, Eric Yang.
Infielders: *Miguel Hernandez, *Juan Martinez, Quincy McAfee, *Brian Rey, Victor Ruiz, *Bren Spillane, Francisco Urbaez, *Jonathan Willems.
Outfielders: *Mariel Bautista, Quin Cotton, Jacob Hurtubise, *Michael Siani.
*Player has previously played for the Dragons
Siani, a former high school star from the Philadelphia area who was a two-time member of the U.S. national team as a teenager, is listed by Baseball America as the “Best Athlete” and “Best Defensive Outfielder” in the Cincinnati Reds organization. In the fall of 2017, he led the USA Baseball 18 & Under national team to a perfect 9-0 record in World Cup play and was selected to the all-tournament team. He spent the entire 2019 season with the Dragons and made huge improvements as he gained experience. Siani’s year was highlighted by a tremendous leaping/lunging catch in center field that made the night’s ESPN Plays of the Day. It was one of the greatest defensive plays ever seen at Day Air Ballpark. Siani finished the 2019 season with 45 stolen bases, the third highest single-season total in Dragons history.
Among other returning Dragons players from the 2019 season are starting pitchers Lyon Richardson, Ricky Salinas, and Eduardo Salazar; starting shortstop Miguel Hernandez, starting third baseman Juan Martinez, starting second baseman/outfielder Brian Rey, starting left fielder Mariel Bautista, and starting first baseman Bren Spillane. Second baseman Jonathan Willems, who spent part of the 2019 season with the Dragons, also returns. Rey broke the Dragons club record in 2019 for most runs batted in for a single game with eight, breaking a record previously held by Joey Votto and Adam Dunn. Spillane won the Big Ten Triple Crown in 2018 at the University of Illinois and is a big power threat.
Richardson and Noah Davis are both among the top pitching prospects in the Reds organization. Richardson, who will be the Dragons opening night starter on Tuesday at Great Lakes, was the Reds second round draft pick in 2018 out of Jensen Beach High School in Florida. He led all Dragons pitchers in 2019 in starts and innings (26 starts, 112.2 innings). As one of the youngest starting pitchers in the league at age 19, he posted a respectable 4.15 earned run average and had a good walk-to-strikeout ratio of 33-106.
Davis was on the mound for some big games in college and high school. As a freshman at UC Santa Barbara in 2016, he was the team’s #2 starting pitcher behind ace Shane Bieber, the 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner with the Cleveland Indians. Davis helped UCSB to its first-ever trip to the College World Series as the team finished the year as the #7 team in the nation. Davis was the starting pitcher for their second game of the 2016 College World Series as his team beat powerful Miami. Davis allowed just one run on two hits over six innings in that game. At Huntington Beach High School, Davis was a California All-State selection and pitched his team to a state championship.
Flame-throwing starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft was the Reds sixth round draft pick in 2019 out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Ashcraft pitched in a Major League game for the Reds in spring training this season and fired a 100 mph fastball with his first pitch.
The Dragons roster also features a strong group of catchers. Eric Yang was a teammate of Noah Davis at UC Santa Barbara, helping his team to the Big West Conference championship and a trip to the NCAA Regional. He had a huge season in 2019 when he was selected 2nd Team All-American (Baseball America_), Big West Conference Player of the Year, and a finalist for the Buster Posey Award as college baseball’s best catcher. After signing with the Reds, Yang went to Billings, made the all-star team, and hit a home run in the all-star game. He played in 51 games for the Mustangs, batting .290 with four home runs and a .420 slugging percentage. He was selected by _Baseball America as the #19 prospect in the Pioneer League, the second highest ranking among catchers.
James Free played at the University of the Pacific. He had a huge freshman season in 2017 when he posted an OPS of over 1.000 while leading the conference in both home runs (14) and RBI (54) and batting .343 in 52 games. Those numbers earned him NCAA Freshman All-American honors. As a junior in 2019, he hit .335 with eight home runs in 49 games with a .541 slugging percentage. A third catcher on the roster, Jose Tello, batted .311 with an OPS of .888 in his most recent season in 2019 at the Rookie level in the Reds organization.
All Dragons games can be heard on WONE 980 AM and are streamed via daytondragons.com and wone.com. The Dragons will televise 25 games on Dayton’s CW (Channel 26) including all Saturday and Sunday home games.