| Seasons | 2002 | Teams | Dayton Dragons |
2002 East: | Dayton | Fort Wayne | Lansing | Michigan | South Bend | West Michigan |

2002 Scouting Report

Dayton Dragons

Major Change

2002 Teams
Cedar Rapids
Fort Wayne
Kane County
Quad City
South Bend
West Michigan
  • Dayton, Ohio.
  • Affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds.

This page profiles the 2002 Dayton Dragons, a Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Midwest League.

  • Manager: Donnie Scott.
  • Coaches: Ted Power (pitching), Brian Conley.

End of Season Profile

It was an interesting summer in Dayton. The Reds ran dozens of players through town, so manager Donnie Scott had a different squad each month. The team had developed some power by the season's end, had excellent starting pitching all season, featured a capable closer, and played adequate defense. The Dragons had a bunch of very good baserunners.

Dayton's best starting pitchers, Andy Boutwell and Bobby Basham, were only with the team a few weeks apiece; Basham was a little erratic, but his best starts were spectacular. Daylan Childress, the best starter who stayed the season, is a solid pitcher but not a talent to anchor a rotation. While Nate Cotton was the MWL's best closer this season, the rest of the bullpen was generally undependable.

Outfielder Noochie Varner, the Dragons' star player, was traded to Detroit (and West Michigan) just as the season ended. First baseman Randy Ruiz and outfielder Chris Williamson, while not as spectacular as Varner, were nearly as productive, while third baseman Edwin Encarnacion promises to mature into an interesting ballplayer.

The Dragons used 22 position players and 27 pitchers. Shortstop Gary Patchett pitched one inning for the Dragons and is included in both counts.

Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics on this page are through the end of the season.

MWL Fan's Guide

Season Summary

  • Second Half: 41-29, .586 (2nd place, 1.0 behind; playoff qualifier)
  • First Half: 32-38, .457 (5th place, 10.0 behind)
  • Pitching: 73-67, 3.74, 45 saves, 1103 strikeouts
  • Hitting: .261, 663 runs, 100 HR, 151 steals (71% success)
  • Defense: 158 errors (1.13 per game); .692 defensive efficiency
  • April: 13-13 (.500)
  • May: 10-18 (.357)
  • June: 20-7 (.741)
  • July: 14-15 (.483)
  • August & September: 16-14 (.533)
  • Playoff Round One: 0-2 (.000)

Leading Players

  • Best Player on the Team: Outfielder Noochie Varner

  • Best Starting Pitcher: Bobby Basham (1.41, 6-4, 97 strikeouts) or Andy Boutwell (1.46, 6-0, 98 strikeouts)
  • Bullpen Stopper: Nate Cotton (1.96, 2-5, 34 saves, 65 strikeouts)
  • Strikeout Pitchers: Bobby Basham, Andy Boutwell, Chris Gruler, Nate Cotton, Joe Powers, Chris Keelin
  • Control Pitchers: Bobby Basham, Steve Kelly, Nate Cotton, Chris Keelin

  • Best Hitter: Noochie Varner (.310, 10 HR, 69 RBI)
  • Home Run Leader: Chris Williamson (22)
  • High Batting Average: Noochie Varner (.310), Randy Ruiz (.302)
  • High On Base Percentage: none
  • High Slugging Percentage: Noochie Varner (.467), Randy Ruiz (.474), Chris Williamson (.495), Edwin Encarnacion (.458)
  • Notable Baserunners: Noochie Varner, Randy Ruiz, Edwin Encarnacion, Will Bergolla, Domonique Lewis, Amaurys Nina, Omar Hurtado
  • Notable Batting Eye: none notable

July Profile

While the Dragons remain in first place, they're no longer alone at the top. Methinks we'll find out whether these guys are serious about the half-pennant long before the month ends. While Dayton's core players are fairly strong, there's something unsettled about this team as the Reds constantly move players in and out of town. The batters still swing at 'most everything; the defense is adequate.

Outfielder Noochie Varner and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion are extremely valuable players; Varner's gifted with strong leadoff talents, while Encarnacion offers a full slate of offensive skills. Outfielder Chris Williamson is a strong power source. Most of the Dayton hitters do something well.

Starter Bobby Basham's been spectacular since arriving in Dayton, and Nate Cotton's the MWL's best closer. Many other pitchers have done well for the Dragons, but Cincy's constant player-shuffling makes evaluation difficult.

The Dragons have scored 504 runs; their opponents have scored 463 runs.

June Profile

The Dragons staged a spectacular turnaround in June; their 20 wins included a 13 game winning streak. They accomplished this by adding some power to the offense, and shuffling the pitching staff. The Reds took some of Donnie Scott's best talent; he rearranged things, and it worked well.

Notable Midseason Losses: Pitchers Andy Boutwell & Steve Kelly.

Worth Watching: Starting Pitcher Heath McMurray.

May Profile

May was painful in Dayton. The Dragons look like a decent team, but they've been playing miserable baseball.

The Dayton offense is built on speed--and it hasn't paid off well. (This contrasts with last season; see my comments about that team. It's safe to say I find the talent distribution in the Reds system a little odd.) The pitching's an interesting set of players; the starters are very strong, but the bullpen's not a place you want to visit. The team's defense is about average for this league.

Starters Andy Boutwell, Brad Salmon, and Justin Gillman are a formidable group--as good, three deep, as Midwest League staffs ever get. Nathan Cotton, who's been a usually-effective closer, is a control pitcher; Justin Carter's done well as a spot starter. The rest of the 'pen is, well, dangerous.

Outfielder Noochie Varner--often the left fielder, but with a center fielder's skills at the plate and in the field--is your classic free-swinging, high average swifty; he's got a little power. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is a more-rounded talent. Unfortunately, the rest of the hitters are less-talented versions of Varner; no power, good baserunning skills, no patience at the plate. This formula produces low-scoring games.

April Profile

Ignore the league-leading team batting average: The Dragons are a thoroughly average team. My guess is one of the starting pitchers--Steve Kelly, Brad Salmon, Justin Gillman, or Daylan Childress--will have a breakout season. Noochie Varner's a well-rounded offensive threat. Dayton's team plays fine defense.

Question: Does Cincy deliberately draft players who won't take walks? Or do they train them?

Pre-Season Profile


This will be Donnie Scott's eighth season managing in professional baseball; until he joined Dayton last summer, he'd worked with rookie teams. Scott's a fairly conservative manager in most respects. He lets good baserunners run; if his team doesn't have good baserunning skills, he looks pretty conventional. He's been very successful.

First Round Draft Selection

  • none

Team Age Information

  • Average Team Age: 22.3
  • Pitchers: 22.1
  • Hitters: 22.5
  • Oldest Player on the Team: Pitcher Kyle Stanton (born February 19, 1977)
  • Youngest Player on the Team: Pitcher Justin Gillman (born June 27, 1983)

The average player in the Midwest League this season is 21.6 years old. Average ages were calculated from the opening day roster; age as of July 1, 2002.

This website has more information about team ages.

Where they played last season

This is a brief portrait of how the team was put together. These summaries are based on the team's opening day roster and will not be revised to reflect roster changes.

At heart, the 2002 Dragons are based on last year's Billings squad, with contributions from other Cincy farm clubs.

Team        League             W/L   Place    Hitters Pitchers
Mudville    California (A+)    74/66  4(10)      3       2
Dayton      Midwest (A)        82/57  4(14)      6       2
Billings    Pioneer (R+)       46/29  3(8)       8       7
Reds        Gulf Coast (R)     36/22  3(14)      0       4

Since the Reds like to make mid-season player moves, many players are counted twice in this table. One of these players played Independent ball last season, while another played in another organization.




The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

This website is a private project and has no official relation with or sanction from the Midwest League or Minor League Baseball.
The opinions expressed on this page are mine, and are worth about that.

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