From the Dragons:
There were four catchers with the Dragons on Tuesday. Joining Esquer were Jake Long, who played in seven games with the Dragons in 2007; Jason Bour, who joined the Reds organization out of George Mason University last summer and batted .287 at Billings in his professional debut; and Devin Mesoraco, the Reds top draft pick last June and the youngest of the group at age 18. Two or three of the four catchers will be with the Dragons when they arrive in Dayton this weekend. Last seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Dragons starting catcher, Eddy Rodriguez, is expected to open the season with the Advanced-A Sarasota Reds.
Including the four catchers, there were 17 position players working out with the Dragons Tuesday as camp nears completion. The others were first basemen Mike McKennon and Kyle Maunus; middle infielders Zach Cozart, Brett Bartles, Angel Cabrera, Jake Kahaulelio, and Todd Frazier, third baseman Brandon Waring; and outfielders Brandon Menchaca, Justin Reed, Denis Phipps, Michael Jones, and Keltavious Jones. Cozart left the game Tuesday after being hit by a pitch on the wrist or forearm area. Traditionally, 13-14 of the 25 players on the opening day roster are position players, so the Reds will have some decisions to make in the next few days in terms of finalizing the Dragons roster.
The position players I’m looking forward to seeing are Mesoraco, Frazier, and Waring. I have no idea if Mesoraco will be in Dayton or held back for extended ST and a trip to Billings.
On the Reds crowded SS picture:
The deepest position in the Reds organization is shortstop and the Dragons will have one of the best of the bunch in 2008 in Todd Frazier. With former Dragon Paul Janish in Triple-A, highly-regarded Jose Castro in Double-A, and DragonsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢07 starter Chris Valaika apparently headed to Sarasota, the road ahead of Frazier is crowded. Additionally, Zach Cozart, who is coming back from an injury and may not be ready for opening day, was drafted as a shortstop by the Reds last June after being selected by Baseball America as the top defensive infielder in all of college baseball in 2007. And the youngest of the Reds shortstop prospects, 19-year-old Neftali Soto, was a third round draft pick last June.
Valaika needs to pick it up in High A, he was very disappointing after being promoted last year. Frazier may jump over him in the pecking order this year. I’m looking forward to seeing Soto, but it sounds like he might be sent to extended ST and a trip to Billings later in the summer.