The Dayton Dragons wrapped up the first half of the Midwest League season with an 8-0 loss to West Michigan on Sunday.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Cincinnati Reds’ Single-A affiliate.
1. After losing their last four games, the Dragons finished with a record 31-37.
Dayton finished the first half in sixth place in the Eastern division, 15.5 games behind leader Bowling Green.
This marks a major departure from last season when the Dragons streaked through the first half and had clinched a wildcard berth when it was over.
2. Speaking of streaks, those have marked 2018 for Dayton.
The Dragons opened the season on a three-game losing streak.
Then they won their next nine only to lose eight in a row.
After that came a six-game winning streak.
Things leveled off to a certain extent after that, but there were still losing streaks of seven and eight games along with a five-game winning streak.
3. Home sweet home?
The Dragons were a league-worst 9-23 on the road in the first half.
They posted a 22-14 mark in front of the fans at Fifth Third Field, however, and that might not come as much of a surprise for a roster that is pretty young.
Speaking of youth...
4. Jeter has notable name and game.
Many of the preseason headlines were devoted to Hunter Greene, the 18-year-old pitching phenom with the triple-digit fastball who was the No. 2 pick in last year’s MLB draft.
However, the best teenager on the team so far has been Jeter Downs.
The infielder leads the team in hits (68) and stolen bases (18) while sharing the team lead in doubles (15) with Montrell Marshall.
RedsMinorLeagues.com notes Downs, who turns 20 on July 27, has already put up some impressive power numbers compared to previous teenage Dragons.
5. What about Greene, anyway?
Hunter Greene made 12 starts in the first half and finished with a 5.53 ERA. That is the best it has been since he gave up seven runs in less than an inning during his third start.
Green has allowed six runs and seven walks over 23.3 innings in his last five starts. He has struck out 27 while walking seven and allowing 20 hits.
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He has gradually worked up his pitch count, throwing 86 his last time out, and shown that while he is raw, Reds fans have a lot to be excited about.
6. Catcher impresses.
One of Greene’s batterymates, Hendrick Clementina has been the team’s best hitter so far.
A catcher acquired in the Tony Cingrani trade, Clementina is has a team-best .971 OPS and also leads the club in batting (.316), homers (nine) and RBIs (35).
He is one of five teams to make the all-star team, joining outfielder Marshall, outfield Stuart Fairchild and pitchers Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel.
7. Final verdict.
Was this a successful first half for the Dragons?
In record, obviously not.
The Dragons had the worst on-base percentage in the Midwest League and finished 12th in runs scored. They also had the worst team ERA in the league.
Development is the name of the game at this level, though, and a handful of the guys in Green look like keepers.
That includes Greene, who appears to be on the right track after a rocky run in late April and early May.
Was last season’s postseason appearance a freak occurrence? That remains to be seen, but at least fans at Fifth Third Field were more likely to see a win than a loss.