LOS ANGELES -- The last time I tried introducing a new waiver claim pitcher from the Reds, he (Ryan Dennick) was designated for assignment within a few hours to make room for another acquisition. But for know, let's take that chance again with the newest member of the Dodgers' 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Daniel Corcino.
Upon the Dodgers claiming Corcino on Friday, one of the first reactions from the folks at Red Reporter was this:
@truebluela Enjoy Li'l Cueto, guys.— Red Reporter (@redreporter) April 17, 2015
Though it seems some of the luster has faded since Corcino was compared to Reds ace and soon to be very rich man Johnny Cueto.
Corcino, from Azua in the Dominican Republic, signed with the Reds as an amateur free agent in 2008. In 2011 he put up a 3.42 ERA in the Midwest League at age 20, with 156 strikeouts and only 34 walks in 139⅓ innings. He followed that up with a jump to Double-A and a 3.01 ERA in 2012, with 126 strikeouts and 65 walks in 143⅓ innings. In June 2012 he threw the first eight innings of a combined no-hitter for Pensacola.
After 2011 his fastball was rated by Baseball America the best in the Reds system, and after 2012 his slider was tabbed best in the organization. He was the Reds' No. 4 prospect heading into 2013, and the No. 94 prospect in baseball.
But then he put up a 5.86 ERA in Triple-A in 2013, with nearly as many walks (73) as strikeouts (90). He fell to the No. 13 Reds prospect by Baseball America heading into 2014, then didn't even make the top 30 coming into this season.
But after nearly a full season back at Double-A in 2014, where he put up a 4.25 ERA and an 18-percent strikeout rate, up from 15.1 percent in 2013, Corcino got the call to the majors for the first time by the Reds.
Corcino made his major league debut on his 24th birthday, last August 26, and pitched a perfect inning of relief, striking out his first two hitters.
He appeared in five games for the Reds, including three starts, and put up a 4.34 ERA, with nine runs allowed on 13 hits, with 10 walks and 15 strikeouts in 18⅔ innings. He even got a hit in his first major league at-bat, a single against Kyle Lohse on Sept. 12.
One of the differences between last season's cup of coffee in the majors and Corcino's lofty prospect status as Lil' Cueto is fastball velocity. Corcino's four-seam fastball averaged just 89.98 mph in the majors in 2014, per Brooks Baseball, compared to averaging 94.34 mph in 2012, presumably culled from spring training data since he didn't pitch in the majors that year.
The right-hander began the 2015 season back in Double-A, pitching in relief. Corcino threw one inning in one game before he was designated for assignment by Cincinnati on April 13. Soon to be ex-Reds manager his epic and misguided rant, explained the move to reporters from the Reds' perspective, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:, a few days before
"The development has slowed. It doesn't mean he's not a big league pitcher or won't sometime be a very good one. It's just that the progress he had made through 2011, had slowed down a bit," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I think he can pitch in the big leagues but to be really good on a good team, he's going to have to continue to mature. And we have to protect the guys we feel are closer to helping us here. I think we had some guys ahead of him on the depth chart. That was a decision that we had to make that we felt was best for the club."
Corcino is using his third and final option year in 2015, having used options in both 2013 and 2014 with the Reds.
The Dodgers will start him out in the bullpen with Double-A Tulsa, though he might eventually start as well.
"We plan on supporting Daniel and his development in multiple ways," said Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler. "The first is letting him get settled and evaluating him before establishing his longer-term role."