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Numerous ex-Dragons players expected to be on Reds opening day roster

Cincinnati Reds National League Pennants at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum
Wikimedia Commons
Cincinnati Reds National League Pennants at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum

Opening day for the Cincinnati Reds happens this Thursday. The Reds play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. First pitch is at 4:10 p.m.

Like last season, experts predict a tough year for the team on the field. One silver lining exists for local baseball fans. As the team rebuilds, many young players who have starred for the Dayton Dragons in recent years will get a chance to play in the big leagues.

Around ten of the twenty six players on the Reds projected opening day roster spent time in Dayton with the Dragons early in their careers or on rehab assignments.

One of them is Hunter Greene. Greene, selected second overall in the MLB draft by the Reds in 2017, played with the Dragons in 2018. When he starts as the Reds pitcher on Thursday, he will be the youngest person to do so in decades — he’s just 23-years-old.

Before practice earlier this week, Greene spoke to the media about his young team.

"There's a lot of work to do,” Greene said. “We're still very young and starting our careers, but the work ethic we have, the hunger we have to go out there and prove ourselves and compete is there."

Another former Dragon who should feature prominently in the Reds lineup this year is Tyler Stephenson. He played with the Dragons in 2016 and 2017. Stephenson is a catcher, designated hitter and first baseman.

It’s his third season playing in the major leagues with the Reds.

"This is going to be my first go round at a true opening day,” Stephenson said to the media before practice this week. “In the 2021 season, there was still COVID and last year with the lockouts, so I've heard a lot about it. I'm excited to experience it for the first time and I know everyone in the clubhouse as well, we're all excited."

Dayton Dragons Executive Vice President Eric Deutsch told WYSO in an interview last week that since the team was promoted to a higher league in 2021, he expects more and more former Dragons players to make it to the big leagues in the coming years.

Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.

Chris Welter is an Environmental Reporter at WYSO through Report for America. In 2017, he completed the radio training program at WYSO's Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. Prior to joining the team at WYSO, he did boots-on-the-ground conservation work and policy research on land-use issues in southwest Ohio as a Miller Fellow with the Tecumseh Land Trust.
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