Friend of the Nation Tom Nichols continues his preview of what he thinks the Dragons roster will look like coming out of spring training. Today he looks at first base:
Robert Maddox was drafted in the 18th round last June by the Reds and bypassed his senior season at OU (Ohio University) to turn professional. He was assigned to the Reds Arizona League affiliate in Goodyear and enjoyed a solid first season of pro ball, capped off with his selection as the designated hitter on the AZL full-season all-star team. With the AZL Reds, Maddox led the league in RBI with 46, 11 more than any other player in the circuit. He also tied for the league lead in home runs with seven (he added another in the two-game AZL playoffs), finished second in extra base hits, and tied for fourth in doubles while batting .283. He hit .338 with men in scoring position. Impressively for a power hitter, Maddox struck out just 30 times in 198 at-bats. Maddox split his time almost evenly between first base and designated hitter and showed a need for improvement defensively, committing 10 errors in 27 games in the field.
Jaren Matthews was selected in the 32nd round by the Reds last June and, like Maddox, was assigned to the AZL Reds in Goodyear. Matthews split his time equally between first base and the outfield (playing both left field and right field). He logged exactly 100 at-bats, about half as many as Maddox, but tied with Maddox for the league lead in home runs with seven. Matthews had a two-game stretch in July in which he hit four homers over five at-bats. For the year, he batted .290 and drove in 22 runs, putting him on a pace that would have rivaled Maddox for the league lead in RBI over the same number of at-bats. He hit .345 with men in scoring position. Unlike Maddox, he did struggle at times to make contact, striking out 38 times in those 100 at-bats. Matthews is said to be an athletic player who can help in the outfield when not playing first base.
Dominic D’Anna DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Anna was selected by the Reds in the 31st round of the 2010 draft. He was initially assigned to the AZL Reds, where he got off to a sizzling debut to his professional career. After his first eight games, he was batting .536. After 19 games with the AZL Reds, he was promoted to Billings with his average standing at .406. DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Anna hit fourth in the batting order in all 19 games he played in and his average never dropped below the .400 mark for a single day. With Billings, DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Anna hit .254 in 18 games and then was promoted to Dayton. His combined totals in short-season ball, covering 37 games, included a batting average of .333. He did not hit a home run and drove in 22 runs. He posted a solid walk-strikeout ratio, drawing 22 free passes with just 18 KÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. By the time he reached Dayton on August 16, DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Anna had been playing almost non-stop since February and he showed the effects of fatigue, batting just .154 with the Dragons in 17 games. With three clubs in his professional debut season, DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Anna appeared in 54 games and hit a combined .279 with no homers and 29 RBI in 190 at-bats. DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Anna would hope to show some power as he continues making the adjustment to the wood bat.
Three left handed first baseman. Not the best situation you could hope for, but Matthews played half his time in the outfield, so that could be where he ends up. Be interesting to see how this shakes out as all three have shown signs of being productive at the plate.
Nichols also lists Donald Lutz, but I don’t see him making this team.