Projecting Dayton Roster

Many Reds prospects will look to begin their first full professional season at low-A in 2013. Several pitchers are coming off good seasons in the Pioneer League and if some of last year's Billings hitters can maintain good offense closer to sea level there should be a lot more for fans at Dayton to cheer about in 2013.

Predicting the opening day roster for a low-A team is a real roll of the dice, but it's getting within a few weeks of opening day and this is the lowest level expected to be made up entirely of prospects already in the system. They will get some players from Billings who started last year's short season strong before a sweep in the final series knocked them out of the Pioneer League playoffs. Dayton is coming off a year with the worst record in the Midwest League, but there's good reason to think the Dragons can hang up more W's as Cincinnati deepens organizational talent.

Rotation: Ismael Guillon, Andrew Cisco, Sal Romano, Jonathan Moscot, Wes Mugarian

The rotation immediately grabs interest with some of the Reds top young arms. Guillon kept a low-two ERA in the Pioneer League last season and also in four starts with the Dragons. He has Tommy John surgery behind him and that physical issue voided his original contract with the Reds. However, because he's on a second contract, they now have to use a spot on their 40-man roster to protect against the Rule 5 draft and when he returns to the minors it will use up one of his options. Since they can't afford to be as patient with him as they would normally prefer he could be in for a fast track in his first full professional season.

Like Guillon, Cisco is another pitcher whose debut was postponed by TJ surgery. The Reds were cautious with him in his first season and he would have had the second lowest ERA in the Pioneer League had he thrown a few more innings to qualify.

Romano is an early round, college-bound talent that the Reds picked up with a late round selection and over-slot bonus. He led the Mustangs in innings pitched and though his five-plus ERA might not look impressive, it narrowly missed being one of the lowest ten among all qualifiers in the Pioneer League.

Moscot was a fourth-rounder in last year's draft who kept a sub-three ERA in ten starts at Billings. The Reds selected Mugarian in the next round who split most of his action between the Dayton rotation and bullpen.

Amir Garrett is a high potential lefty that would be considered, but he's now playing basketball at St. John's and obligated to finish collegiate requirements this spring, likely postponing his action until the short-season. Last year's first pick Nick Travieso debuted with eight games in the Arizona League and the nineteen year-old will probably wait until the short season and begin his year at Billings.

Bullpen: Dan Langfield, Mo Wiley, Sean Lucas, Jimmy Moran, El'Hajj Muhammad, Carlos Gonzalez, Alejandro Chacin

Langfield was a third rounder last year who impressed at Billings. Most of his appearances were out of the pen but he started five times late in the season and he might swap spots with Mugarian. Wiley and southpaw Lucas formed an effective lefty-righty closing duo for the Mustangs and both kept ERA's under 2.5. Moran had a low ERA out of their bullpen too before he was promoted to single A.

There probably weren't a lot of expectations that El'Hajj Muhammad would still be around for this season when the Reds drafted him in the 49th round in 2010. He and Gonzalez are coming off seasons with low-three ernies in the Midwest League. 20 year-old Venezuelan Chacin made it stateside last year with a low-three at Billings.

Catchers: Yovan Gonzalez, Fray Sosa

Gonzalez was strong defensively while handling most of the Dayton catching duties last year and Cincinnati might prefer moving him up a level, but they could consider giving him another season in low-A to improve at the plate. Sosa has only about 100 AB in the rookie leagues over the past two seasons, but he's hit well (.282/.362 OB) and is ready for more action. Joe Hudson is a sixth round selection who has yet to debut professionally and will likely wait until the short season.

Infielders: Robert Maddox, Brandon Dailey, Junior Arias, Zachary Vincej, Carlos Sanchez, Taylor Wrenn

Maddox showed good power against younger competition in the Pioneer League last season (13 HR in under 200 AB) and they will look to see if he can do the same against Midwest League pitching. Sanchez hit .308 with 8 dingers for Billings in his second season after moving up from the Dominican League.

The Reds tried to skip Dailey over Billings last season but he struggled offensively to start the season. He made the most after a demotion and cracked .300 with the Mustangs, appearing ready for another shot in single A. Vincej looks like a sleeper in last year's draft. He debuted like an award-winning college shortstop instead of a 37th rounder, hitting .336/.393 OB. Cincinnati used late-round selections on Wrenn in both 2010 and 2012. He hit .274/.359 AVG/OB in the Pioneer League and was promoted for three single A games.

The hot corner is a bit up in the air. Arias got most of the action there last season, but struggled both at the plate and in the field. The Reds also invested second round selections the last two years in Tanner Rahier and Gabriel Rosa. Those two are still teenagers and could use some more seasoning in the rookie leagues leaving Arias another chance to improve.

Outfield: Jesse Winker, Jonathan Reynoso, Jeff Gelalich, Beau Amarol, Daniel Pigott

Winker and Gelalich were supplemental first round selections last year. Winker debuted as an 18 year-old in the Pioneer League and hit .338/.443 OB. The Reds also picked up Gelalich's UCLA teammate Amarol in the seventh round and he hit .295/.355 with 20 stolen bases for the Mustangs. Pigott was yet another 2012 pick that surpassed the .300 mark at Billings.

Dominican Leauger Reynoso is an exciting prospect that hit .311 with 30 steals in his stateside debut last year in the Arizona League. The Reds will probably want to give him a full season to work on plate discipline.

The Pioneer League is infamous for having high-altitude venues inflate the offensive stats. On the other hand a strong pitching performance there makes a young player look more legit. The staff looks solid and there are plenty of candidates to provide good offense to the Dragons' effort in 2013. Talent depth in the higher levels will make it tougher to advance and the lower levels should keep higher performing players for more of the season. There is good reason to think that fans will have more to cheer about at Fifth Third Field in 2013.

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