The Cincinnati Reds and Dayton Dragons have announced the opening day roster for the High-A affiliate for 2024. It’s a prospect filled roster with a surprise or two mixed in. Here’s the full roster, and below will have some write ups about each position group.

# Pitchers B T Ht Wt
15 Kevin Abel R R 6’2 200
16 Pedro Alfonseca R R 6’0 178
24 Brock Bell R R 6’4 225
33 Ryan Cardona R R 6’0 211
6 Tanner Cooper R R 6’3 215
31 Arij Fransen R R 6’3 221
18 Myles Gayman R R 6’3 204
28 Johnathan Harmon R R 6’4 201
8 Bryce Hubbart L L 6’1 181
26 Brody Jessee R R 6’3 230
4 Rhett Lowder R R 6’2 205
22 Jared Lyons R R 6’1 217
10 Joseph Menefee L L 6’0 217
35 Luis Mey R R 6’2 219
29 Graham Osman L L 6’4 190
27 Javi Rivera R R 6’1 195
34 T.J. Sikkema L L 6’0 205
Catchers B T Ht Wt
21 Cade Hunter L R 6’2 200
32 Logan Tanner R R 6’0 215
Infielders B T Ht Wt
3 Victor Acosta S R 5’9 191
17 Leo Balcazar R R 5’9 194
23 Cam Collier L R 6’0 222
14 Yan Contreras R R 6’0 202
44 Ruben Ibarra R R 6’4 290
20 Jose Serrano R R 5’9 193
11 Sal Stewart R R 6’1 226
Outfielders B T Ht Wt
2 Jay Allen II R R 6’2 190
5 Carlos Jorge L R 5’8 176
7 Ethan O’Donnell L R 6’1 195
25 Hector Rodriguez R R 5’8 187

The Pitchers

The biggest surprise from this group has to be Rhett Lowder. The Reds 1st round draft pick in 2023, Lowder went 15-0 as a junior at Wake Forest and was considered the most polished pitcher in the draft. He didn’t pitch following the draft, but did join Dayton late in the season and traveled with the team. There was some thought that he may jump straight to Double-A and join Chattanooga, but that isn’t the case.

Javi Rivera returns to Dayton for 2024. Last season he made 10 appearances with the Dragons, but his final start came on June 8th before he went to the injured list with an elbow injury and didn’t pitch again.

Luis Mey could challenge the record for the fastest pitch thrown by a Dayton Dragon. If my memory serves me correctly that would be 102 MPH by both Hunter Greene as well as Aneurys Zabala. Last season with Daytona, Mey topped out at 103.2 MPH and topped 100 44 times in road games (we don’t have public data for their home games).

The Infielders

The infield is absolutely loaded. Newcomers Cam Collier, Victor Acosta, and Leo Balcazar join Yan Contreras, Jose Serrano, Ruben Ibarra, and Sal Stewart who saw time with the Dragons last year.

Cam Collier, Leo Balcazar, and Sal Stewart are all Top 10 Reds prospects. Acosta is the club’s #19 rated prospect. It’s Balcazar who is probably the biggest surprise here. Last season he got out to a strong start with Daytona, but in late April he tore his ACL just after he scored the winning run in a walk-off win. With only a month of games in Daytona it would make plenty of sense for him to return to the Tortugas, but the shortstop is up with Dayton to begin the year.

Cam Collier was one of the guys that I was told looked really good this spring out in Arizona. The 2022 1st round pick had a solid season in 2023 with Daytona, but when compared to the other 18-year-olds who happened to play in the same league, he was head and shoulders better than his same-age peers in the league.

The Outfielders

Three of the four outfielders on the roster are among the Reds Top 25 prospects and the other one crushed the ball in his professional debut. Carlos Jorge (#8), Hector Rodriguez (#13), and Jay Allen II (#20) are joined by Ethan O’Donnell out in the grass this season.

Listed as an outfielder on the roster is Carlos Jorge. Last season he played more second base than outfielder, but as the season went on he found more and more time in center. His season ended with Dayton after spending the first four months with Daytona.

Hector Rodriguez had a similar transition two years ago when he was an infielder who began to see more and more time in the outfield. Last year he really broke out at the plate in Daytona and earned his way up to Dayton in the second half.

Ethan O’Donnell was one of Kiley McDaniel’s pre-draft favorites last year. The ESPN analyst and former big league scout noted this offseason that he was still shocked that O’Donnell fell to the Reds in the 6th round. He made an impression in his debut, hitting .350/.447/.600 in 23 games with Daytona last year after being drafted.

Jay Allen II is back with Dayton. Last year is one he’d like to put behind him as he barely had a chance to be on the field after two separate injuries cost him all but 25 games in 2023 with the Dragons.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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14 Responses

  1. RedsGettingBetter

    Ethan O’Donnell has no a good spring training at major level however I don’t know how he performed at the minor league camp afterwards. If O’Donnell hit as he did at single-A and Jay Allen II has the so awaited breakout in his career staying healthy the things will be very interesting in this group of outfielders…Nice team…

  2. MBS

    I’m glad Lowder is starting in Dayton. I don’t think he’ll stay there too long, but it’s a good way to get his feet wet.

    That INF is “loaded” but so is the OF. I’m anxious to see what O’Donnell does after such a great start last year.

    • Doug Gray

      Offense has tons of potential. The pitching has tons to prove.

      • Matt McWax

        Should have the best offense in the league. Hector will dominate I think.

    • DaveCT

      As discussed, I’m psyched to see we are keeping Balcazar, Collier, Stewart and Acosta together on the dirt.

      I also tend to be interested in the underdogs, too, and Yan Contreras’ was the BA no. 29 prospect in 2021 largely due to his plus glove and plus arm at short. He’d been a twelfth round pick and signed for 248,000. He’s 22 now, still age appropriate for Hi-A, and is listed as 6’2″, 185. He hasn’t hit a lick in pro ball but you just never know who can get a jump start and stick around long enough to be a utility guy. He’s only had 50 pro games in three full seasons so who knows.

  3. DaveCT

    I’m not bothered at all by Rowder starting at Dayton and actually expected it it given the Reds practice of managing pitchers’ exposure to high stress innings. The assumption here is that Rowder’s 8-10 (or fewer) starts in A ball will be a better intro to pro baseball than starting at a AA which is considered to be the toughest jump to make in the minors. It will allow him to, most importantly, build innings and then take the next challenge come June.

  4. MK

    Doug, You need to put The Cuban Missile, on a Rehab appearance, on your top of the velo list with the other guys. That is at least what the scouts had on their gun behind home. They didn’t have trackman at that time.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t count him. He wasn’t really a Dragon.

  5. MK

    The first time I can remember there not being three catchers on the Dragons roster. Maybe this week’s signee Puerta will be there soon.

    • DaveCT

      Who will catch in the bullpen if not a third catcher?

  6. Optimist

    Agree with the comments on Lowder – 8-10 starts in Dayton, and if all goes well move up – set him up for 10-12 starts in AA and if he’s dominant throughout, he’s in contention for one of the two Sept. call up spots. Another surprise may be that Sikkema is on this roster – but he’s struggled in AA for 2 years so perhaps it’s also a short term review for him as well before deciding if he’s viable.

    Hope Hurtubise isn’t out too long, since he’d be the first MLB position callup. Then it’s Dunn/Hinds/3-4 of the Bats pitchers. Will be interesting to watch the trade deadline and the Sept. callups. They should be in position for the front office to make a series of moves, from depth, to goose a playoff/wildcard run.

    Finally, I guess this means Serwinowski is going to Daytona – A? Still very young, so NBD there, but he may a fast mover as well.

  7. Mauired

    Kind of surprised to see Sikemma in a ball with his experience.