Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 12

Right-hander Daniel Corcino fast-tracked up the Cincinnati organization and even skipped a level before a solid AA season in 2012 brought him on some top MLB prospect lists. Unfortunately he peaked there after control issues were exploited by AAA hitters. He debuted with the Reds last year and improved command will get a return visit in 2015.

Daniel Corcino was once one of the highest rated pitching prospects in the Cincinnati system and even made it into some top-100 MLB prospect lists, but then he hit AAA. After a very forgettable 2013 at Louisville he returned down a level to Pensacola last season and wasn’t nearly as effective as he was during his first tour in 2012. It leaves one scratching their head a bit because he was fast-tracked and skipped high-A altogether before he posted a 3.01 ERA his first time with the Blue Wahoos and two years later it was more than a run higher.

There was one milestone he accomplished last season when he made his MLB debut with the Reds right before roster expansion. He got roughed up in a relief appearance in his second outing, but followed that up with three starts where he allowed two runs in each. Of course nineteen innings doesn’t reinstate the loftier spot he once held on this list, he gave glimpses of a legitimate MLB pitcher on the mound. He is no longer hailed as the next Johnny Cueto, but there’s reason to be excited as he prepares for another shot at International League hitters.

Throughout all the bouncing around he’s done at the top levels of the organization the past couple of years it’s easy to forget that he’s been younger than his competition. Now the right-hander is 24 years old and the Reds front office will see how well he’s done at improving control. His size (5’11”/210#) is one that would often get a prospect moved to the bullpen and his walk rate over four per nine innings may do that eventually. His frustrating 2013 season at Louisville saw him coming out of the bullpen at the very end of the season, but the way he was used at Pensacola last season indicates that Cincinnati has not given up on him as a starter.

He’s still on the 40-man roster and there’s been some turnover in the Reds rotation over the offseason, so a strong start at Louisville could get him another call sooner than expected. There are other candidates ahead of him who figure to get first crack at the openings, but none of them have extended periods of success at the MLB level and if they struggle Corcino could make a case to provide another option. Even if their opening day rotation surprises, there’s no one in the bullpen with rock solid security outside of the closer, so they might consider him there also if the need arises.

Corcino runs his fastball up into the low 90’s and has a slider and changeup that have both showed potential of being plus pitches. Though he’s a couple of years removed from his biggest minor league success, there’s still value in this prospect if he can improve command. AAA hitters are going to make him throw it over the plate, but he’s got the stuff to challenge them. If he’s doing that while behind in the count he’s probably not going to like the results, but there’s still some upside remaining. Everyone should quickly see what kind of progress he’s made after opening day. Experience gained during his cup of coffee in the big leagues last year should help as he prepares to climb back up the prospect list and reinsert his name for future Reds rotations.

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