The Dayton Dragons finished the 2011 season with the best record in their league and the best record in the Reds system. In the first half of the season, the Dragons finished at 35-35 and out of the playoff race. The second half though was an entirely different story as something just seemed to click for Dayton. The Dragons went a half season franchise best 48-22 and won the division by 9 games. Overall the Dragons led the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed.
The Dragons went into the playoffs as the team who should have been the favorite as the best second half team in the league by a wide margin, but somehow did not have home field advantage while playing a wild card team from the first half due to some quirky rules of the Midwest League. The team opened at home in a three game series and took the first game of the series after a rain out on the initial date. Game two looked like it was going to be the clincher for the Dragons who held a one run lead with 2 outs in the 9th inning before the Lansing Lugnuts hit a two run walk off HR to steal the middle game of the series. The Dragons came up one run short in game three of the series to lose in the first round. However the season has to be seen as nothing but a success for both the team and for the players.
Other team notes
- Set the new All Time Pro Sports Consecutive Sell Out Record which now sits at 844 games.
- Ballpark Digest named the Dayton Dragons the minor league Organization of the Year.
- The pitching staff broke the Midwest League record for most strikeouts in a single season with 1292 on the year.
- Set the franchise record for most wins in a season.
Top Position Prospect
I expect plenty of people to disagree with me on this, but I am willing to accept that. With all due respect to Billy Hamilton and Ronald Torreyes, I still think that Yorman Rodriguez is the best position prospect on the team. For an 18 year old, he held his own in the league and was trending upward before injuring his shoulder in July and wound up missing the rest of the season. He has all of the tools and despite some questions about his attitude, I believe he can be a special type of player. There is a large gap between where he is at now and where he could be one day, but he played the entire season at age 18 and flashed enough to really catch my eye.
Top Pitching Prospect
The Dragons had a bunch of dominating pitchers on their staff. While a lot of guys put up very good to great numbers, Daniel Corcino really stood out in terms of stuff from the rest of the group. He has drawn comparisons to Johnny Cueto for a few years now and this season he really began showing the promise to live up to the comparisons. The right hander went 11-7 with a 3.42 ERA in 139.1 innings pitched. He struck out 156 batters and walked just 34 on the season. His 156 strikeouts would have set a franchise record if his teammate Josh Smith hadn’t also broken and set the record with 166.
Among the League Leaders (must qualify)
- Donald Lutz – 7th in Average: .301
- Dominic D’Anna – 7th in OBP: .386
- David Vidal – 7th in SLG: .498
- Donald Lutz – 9th in SLG: .492
- Billy Hamilton – 1st in runs: 99
- Donald Lutz – 3rd in runs: 85
- David Vidal – 3rd in runs: 85
- David Vidal – 1st in doubles: 37
- Billy Hamilton – 4th in triples: 9
- Donald Lutz – 4th in HR: 20
- David Vidal – 4th in HR: 20
- David Vidal – 5th in RBI: 85
- Donald Lutz – 10th in RBI: 75
- Billy Hamilton – 1st in steals: 103
- Jefry Sierra – 10th in steals: 30
- Josh Smith – 1st in wins: 14
- Daniel Corcino – 6th in wins: 11
- Josh Smith – 10th in ERA: 2.97
- Drew Hayes – 1st in saves: 22
- Josh Smith – 7th in innings: 142.1
- Daniel Corcino – 9th in innings: 139.1
- Josh Smith – 1st in strikeouts: 166
- Daniel Corcino – 2nd in strikeouts: 158
- Daniel Renken – 4th in strikeouts: 141
- Josh Smith – 3rd in WHIP: 1.09
- Daniel Corcino – 8th in WHIP: 1.16