With eight teams remaining in this year’s MLB Playoffs, seven former Dayton Dragons are set to participate in this year’s competition. This is despite the Dragons’ parent club Cincinnati not coming close to making the playoffs this season.
Chris Denorfia (Chicago Cubs)
Longtime fans of the Dragons might not remember Denorfia’s time in Dayton as it was brief. He played in three games for Dayton and did not earn a base hit while in Dayton. He has spent parts of 10 seasons in the Big Leagues; two years with the Reds.
In his first year with the Chicago Cubs, he played in 103 games and hit .269. The Cubs face the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Divisional Series.
Travis Wood (Chicago Cubs)
Wood spent the entire 2006 season in Dayton and compiled an impressive 10-5 record with a 3.66 earned run average in 27 starts in Dayton. He eventually climbed the Reds minor league ladder, making it to Cincinnati in 2010 to help the Reds to their first division title in 15 years. He has been with the Chicago Cubs ever since. He remained a starter his first three years in Chicago. This year has been arguably his most successful season in Chicago, as he has spent most of the season in the bullpen. He was 5-4 with a 3.84 ERA in the regular season.
Matt Belisle (St. Louis Cardinals)
Belisle, like Denorfia, had a very brief stint with the Dragons. Belisle pitched in two games for the Dragons in 2006, not allowing any earned runs in four innings. Belisle was in Dayton after spending the entire 2005 season with the Reds.
After spending parts of five seasons with the Reds, he spent six seasons in Colorado as a relief pitcher. Belisle became a setup pitcher for the Cardinals this season. In 34 appearances, Belisle had a 2.67 ERA.
Chris Heisey (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Heisey spent most of the 2007 year with Dayton, playing in 104 games and batting .289 for the season. Much like Wood who was with the Dragons a year prior, Heisey was called up to Cincinnati in 2010 and helped Cincinnati win the division.
With Heisey struggling most of the year at the major league level, Heisey spent much of the season in the minors. Don’t expect the embattled center field to get much playing time with the Dodgers during the postaseason. He only hit .182 with the Dodgers this season.
Drew Stubbs (Texas Rangers)
Much like Heisey’s 2015 season, Stubbs has also had a very forgettable season. Despite having a bounce back season in 2014 in Colorado, Stubbs’ time in Texas has not gone well. Stubbs has been mostly relegated as a late-inning defensive specialist as he only has two hits in 21 at bats. Stubbs is coming off a year where he hit .289 for the Rockies last year.
Stubbs had a solid season with the Dragons in 2007 when he hit .270 in 129 games. He later returned to Dayton for a rehab appearance in 2011. He played in three games in his brief appearance then. In four seasons with Cincinnati, he hit .241.
This is the third time Stubbs is on a postseason roster.
Johnny Cueto (Kansas City)
It has been odd seeing Cueto in royal blue, right? What has been an even odder sight has been watching Cueto struggle. Since being dealt from the Reds in July, Cueto is 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA. He started the season 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA. While in Cincinnati, Cueto was 92-63 with a 3.21 ERA. Cueto, who has yet to win a game in the postseason in two starts, is slated to start for the Royals in Game 2 versus the Astros.
In 2006, Cueto spent half the season with the Dragons before getting promoted to Sarasota. Cueto was dominant in Dayton with an 8-1 record with a 2.59 ERA.
Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto)
Despite being in the majors for 11 seasons, Encarnacion has not played in a playoff game before this season. Encarnacion has helped lead the Toronto Blue Jays to their first division title since 1993. He hit 39 home runs this season, and had 111 runs batted in. Encarnacion was among three players traded to Toronto for Scott Rolen.
Encarnacion has become one of baseball’s best power hitters in the last four years. He has had at least 38 home runs and 98 RBIs every year since 2012. Those numbers pale in comparison to his five seasons with Cincinnati. His best year in Cincinnati was in 2007 when he hit 16 home runs and 76 RBIs.
While in Dayton, he spent nine games in 2001 and 136 games in 2002 with the Dragons. In 2002, Encarnacion hit 17 home runs and 73 RBIs.