PRESS RELEASE – The Dayton Dragons and Cincinnati Reds today jointly announced a four-year extension of their Player Development Contract. The agreement guarantees the affiliation between the Dragons and Reds through the 2016 baseball season.
The Dragons have served as the Reds’ Midwest League affiliate since the inception of the Dragons franchise prior to the 2000 season. To date, 57 Dragons players have advanced to the Major Leagues including 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto, 2012 N.L. All-Star Jay Bruce, and other current members of the Reds including Johnny Cueto, Ryan Hanigan, Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Homer Bailey, Logan Ondrusek, and Devin Mesoraco among others.
Of those players currently on the Reds active roster, 15 played in Dayton on their climb to the majors. In previous years, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Edwin Encarnacion, and Wily Mo Pena were among the players who passed through Dayton on their way to Cincinnati.
In 2011, former Dragons Heisey, Stubbs, and Ondrusek returned to Fifth Third Field by helicopter following a Reds game to participate in the Dragons celebration of breaking the all-time record for consecutive sold-out dates.
“On behalf of the Dayton Dragons Professional Baseball Team, we are pleased to announce the extension of our agreement with the Reds,” said Robert Murphy, Dragons President. “Our fans have made Fifth Third Field a tremendous atmosphere for young players to perform and develop. It is a credit to our fans when we frequently hear present day Reds players speak positively about their experience in Dayton.”
Fans at Fifth Third Field in Dayton have also seen 23 big league players play for the Dragons on Major League rehabilitation assignments. Those have included Votto, Stubbs, Bailey, as well as former World Series Most Valuable Player Jose Rijo among others.
“We are extremely excited about extending our relationship with the Dayton Dragons,” said Jeff Graupe, Reds Assistant Director of Player Development. “The Dragons staff and their outstanding fans have played an instrumental role in helping us develop our Minor League players both on and off the field.”
The next group of former Dragons awaiting the opportunity to reach the Major Leagues includes arguably the most well-known player in all of Minor League Baseball in 2012, former Dragons shortstop Billy Hamilton. Hamilton generated huge national attention this season when he broke the all-time stolen base record after notching 103 steals in Dayton in 2011.
Additionally, numerous former Reds legends have been part of Dragons baseball in coaching roles including Ken Griffey Sr., the right fielder on the Big Red Machine World Series champions of 1975-’76, and Tom Browning, who fired the only perfect game in Reds history.
“As the Reds continue what has been a great season, our fans can see many former Dragons now playing key roles in Cincinnati,” said Gary Mayse, Dragons Executive Vice President and General Manager. “With the extension of our PDC, we look forward to seeing many future Reds stars display their professional baseball skills at Fifth Third Field.”
The Dragons 2013 coaching staff, as assigned by the Reds, will be announced in the coming weeks.