Hunter Greene, the second overall draft pick in last year’s baseball draft, has been assigned to the Dayton Dragons to begin the Class A minor-league season.
The parent club Cincinnati Reds, who opened their season last week, released minor-league rosters on Monday.
“It’s a good group,” said Luis Bolivar, in his second season as the Dragons manager and who returned with the team from spring training at Goodyear, Ariz., on Sunday. “We have a couple older and experienced guys and that will help a lot, but mostly they’re young guys. We’re excited and we’re ready to go.”
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Greene, an 18-year-old pitcher who played at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., last season, was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 draft by both MLB.com and Baseball America. The Twins took shortstop Royce Lewis with the first overall pick and the Reds followed by choosing Greene.
The Dragons begin their Midwest League season at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Dragons’ home opener is 7 p.m. Saturday against the Hot Rods at Fifth Third Field. Greene will make his first start Monday, April 9, at home vs. Lake County, Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe told mlb.com.
Returning to the Dragons from last season are infielders John Sansone and Hector Vargas, outfielder Narciso Crook, catcher Morgan Lofstrom and pitchers Wendolyn Bautista, Sarkis Ohanian, Austin Orewiler and Cory Thompson.
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Crook, Bautista, Ohanian and Orewiler also played at Advanced-A Daytona last season. Crook led the Dragons in home runs in 2015 but missed much of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries.
“The best chance to get him some more playing time would be here,” said Bolivar.
Sansone and Vargas are the only returners who were on the Dragons’ roster for the Midwest League semifinals to end last season. That was the deepest the Dragons (71-69) advanced into the postseason since debuting in 2000 and was their first playoff appearance since 2011.
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Jose Siri, the Dragons infielder who had a Midwest League record 39-game hit steak last season, has been promoted to Daytona. He led Dayton in most offensive categories last season.
However, Siri injured a thumb ligament after hitting an outfield wall in his first spring training game. He hasn’t played since and likely is looking at an extended recovery.
An outstanding pitcher and shortstop, Greene, 6 feet 4 and 197 pounds, initially indicated he’d like to pursue both positions at the pro level prior to being drafted. Since being drafted the Reds envision him as a starting pitcher.
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A power pitcher, Greene reportedly was clocked at 102 mph when he was 16 years old. In high school last season he was 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. He had 43 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Greene also appeared in seven games with the Billings Mustangs rookie-level team after being drafted last year. As an infielder in seven games he had seven hits in 30 at-bats (.233). He started three games as a pitcher, allowing seven earned runs in a combined 4.1 innings with six strikeouts.
Greene is among eight of the Reds’ top 10 draft picks last June who will open the season at Dayton. Promotions, injuries and acquisitions all affect minor-league rosters at all levels and will continue to do so throughout the season.
“At the beginning (of spring training) I knew a few of the guys who were supposed to come here,” Bolivar said. “At the end it was a battle for the last few roster spots.”
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• The Dragons’ player breakdown is 10 from NCAA D-I programs; one each from NCAA D-III and junior college; seven who played high school ball last season; six originally signed as international free agents; and one acquired in a trade.
That’s 26 players; one will be inactive to begin the season.
• Returning as Dragons coaches are Daryle Ward (hitting) and Kevin Mahar (bench). Seth Etherton (pitching) was promoted from Billings. He swaps positions with Derrin Ebert, who returns to Billings after the last two seasons with the Dragons.
• There will be non-public workouts at Fifth Third Field on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Dragons will depart for Bowling Green at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
• The Dragons’ own the all-time, North America sellout steak of 1,246 consecutive games at Fifth Third Field for all pro sports. That’s every home game that has ever been played.
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Season opener: 7 p.m. Thu. at Bowling Green (Ky.)
Radio: WONE-AM (980)
Home opener: 7 p.m. Sat., vs. Bowling Green at Fifth Third Field
Manager: Luis Bolivar.
Coaches: Seth Etherton (pitching), Kevin Mahar (bench), Daryle Ward (hitting).
Pitchers: Luis Alecis (San Cristobal, Dominican Republic), Wendolyn Bautista* (San Cristobal, DR), Tyler Buffett (Albuquerque, N.M.), John Ghyzel (Centreville, Va.), Hunter Greene, Stevenson Ranch, Calif.), Tyler Mondile (Wenonah, N.J.), Packy Naughton (West Roxbury, Ma.), Ryan Nutof (South Elgin, Ill.), Sarkis Ohanian* (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Austin Orewiler* (Galveston, Texas), Connor Ryan (Homer Glen, Ill.), Mac Sceroler (Denahm Springs, La.), Cory Thompson* (Mauldin, S.C.).
Catchers: Hendrik Clementina (Willemstad, Curacao), Mark Kolozsvary (Taveras, Fla.), Morgan Lofstrom* (West Kelowna, Canada).
Infielders: Jeter Downs (Miami), Jose Garcia (Miami), Montrell Marshall (Snellville, Ga.), John Sansone* (New Castle, Pa.), Leandro Santana (La Romana, DR), Hector Vargas* (San Cristobal, DR).
Outfielders: Narciso Crook* (Trenton, N.J.), Stuart Fairchild (Seattle) Miles Gordon (Oakville, Canada), Andy Sugilio (Nizao, DR).
* Played for Dragons last season.
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