The Future is here!!
The game on April 1, 2017 will mark the second Reds "Futures Game" at Fifth Third Field, as the Reds major league club that will open their season in the National League two days later meets a select group of the top Reds prospects from Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. The first Reds Futures Game, played on April 4, 2009, was the first of its kind in baseball and received national media attention. Baseball America published an article titled Dayton, Reds hit on Home Run Idea as columnist Will Lingo called the event "a brilliant idea…we could all be the beneficiaries."
The Reds defeated the Futures team, 9-6, in 2009 in a game that featured five home runs including shots by Edwin Encarnacion for the big league club and a three-run homer by then-prospect Todd Frazier, playing for the Futures Team, that landed on the roof of the concessions building in left field. Soon-to-be all-star Johnny Cueto was the starting pitcher for the Reds. The Futures Team also included Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, and Juan Francisco among others.
The Reds 2017 roster is certain to include many former Dragons. The current Reds roster includes former Dragons Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, Homer Bailey, Tucker Barnhart, Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson, Jesse Winker, Amir Garrett, Sal Romano, and Nick Travieso as well as former Dragons Cozart and Mesoraco, who played for the Reds Futures team in Dayton in the 2009 exhibition game. Some of the younger players among this group could play for the Futures Team on April 1 if they are optioned to the Minor Leagues before that date.
Former Dragons who are currently rated among the top prospects in the Reds organization include infielders Nick Senzel, Shed Long, and Gavin LaValley; outfielders Aristides Aquino and Phillip Ervin; catcher Chris Okey; and pitchers Tyler Mahle, Jackson Stephens, Ismael Guillon, and Ariel Hernandez.