With Spring Training just around the corner, season preview season is upon us. We will be saturated with player previews, team previews, division previews, league previews, fantasy previews, sneak previews, geek previews, bleak previews, rosy previews, cozy previews, uncomfortable previews, convertible previews, inflatable previews, debatable previews, and just about any other kind of preview you can imagine over the next month or so. Just yesterday, Cliff Corcoran at SI.com released his preview of the NL Central for the upcoming season. It's a good refresher to get you up to date with the goings on around the division, but the most interesting part to me was that he named Daniel Corcino "The Big Prospect" to watch for the Reds:
A small, righthanded starter, the 21-year-old Corcino isn't the Reds' best prospect, but the men above him on the list are either too far away to get invites to major league camp or have already made their major league debuts. Corcino cracked 100 innings for the first time last year while posting a 4.59 K/BB ratio in A-ball, a product of excellent control as well as the ability to miss bats. Corcino gets his fastball into the mid-90s, but not without considerable effort, given his 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame, which makes some wonder if he'll end up in the bullpen, as his ability to hold up under a starter's workload with that approach is in doubt.
I don't know about you, but all that just sounds so familiar to me. Not the best prospect, but with a mid-90s fastball and excellent control. He's a small guy, though, so he may end up in the bullpen. I could swear Corcoran lifted this whole scouting report from an '07 season preview regarding Johnny Cueto.
This comparison is definitely not a new one, I mean, come on. It's obvious, right? A small, Dominican righty with that pitching profile and those results is always going to be compared to Johnny Cueto. Especially in the Reds system. I mean, their names are even really similar. Johnny Cueto/Danny Corcino. But then I decided to take a quick look at their stats to see how they matched up. And woah, it kinda blew my hair back. Check it:
Check out those FIP profiles. They are nearly identical! Corcino had a slightly better K/BB ratio, but their ground ball/fly ball ratio was exactly the same. Corcino gave up significantly more hits, which led to more earned runs. But given the FIP numbers, I would bet there is a decent amount of BABIP wonk splarking the numbers a bit. It's also worth noting that Cueto split his age 20 season between Dayton and Sarasota, while Corcino spent the entirety of the season in Dayton. I would guess that the Reds were a bit more aggressive with Cueto back then because of the dreadful paucity of quality arms in the higher echelons of the organization. But the reason isn't all that relevant, I suppose. I mean, just look at those numbers. It's like history repeating itself.
So what does this mean for Corcino? Honestly, not much. But it's not nothing, either. It takes a ton of talent to succeed like this at any level of professional baseball, and that's why Corcino is seen as a consensus top five prospect in the system right now. But does that mean that he will be the next Johnny Cueto, slicing up three levels next year and beginning 2013 in the Reds rotation and slicing up the Diamondbacks in his big league debut and slicing up the league by the time he is 26?
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