Teams don’t get into bidding wars in the international market over Dominican righthanders who are under six feet tall.
While the Reds spent $4.5 million combined on outfielders Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez in 2008, it’s fellow 2008 signee Daniel Corcino who has been the most impressive thus far for low Class A Dayton. A 5-foot-11, 165-pound righthy, Corcino struck out 11 and allowed only one hit in six shutout innings yesterday.
Since getting tagged for 12 runs (nine earned) over 7 2/3 innings in his first two starts, Corcino has silenced Midwest League hitters. Even after a rocky start, Corcino’s ERA is down to 2.83 in 41 1/3 innings with 48 strikeouts and 12 walks. Corcino’s not doing it with smoke and mirrors, either. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he can crank it up to 97 mph, backing it up with an above-average breaking ball. The Reds have a hitter-heavy farm system—Aroldis Chapman and Kyle Lotzkar were the only arms in their top 10 coming into the year—so the emergence of Corcinio has been a major boost for Cincinnati.
• Duran, 19, has been a mixed bag this season. In the first game of a doubleheader yesterday, Duran went 2-for-3 and hit his fourth home run of the year. The 6-foot-7 left fielder is showing plenty of power and some surprising ability to draw a walk given his supersized strike zone, with a .248/.350/.455 line and 16 walks in 117 plate appearances. In the second game of the doubleheader, Duran went 0-for-3 and struck out twice, giving him an alarming 45 whiffs (38 percent of his PAs) already. His outfield play has also been shaky with six errors in 29 games, a remarkable number of miscues for an outfielder.
• The stats that Rangers lefty Robbie Erlin is putting up are just plain silly. Erlin struck out nine, walked none and allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings yesterday for high Class A Myrtle Beach. He’s been so good that yesterday’s game raised his ERA to 2.22, and his 56-5 K-BB mark in 48 2/3 innings looks just as spiffy. Given Erlin’s polish and how little trouble low minors hitters have given him, he could move through the rest of the system quickly.
• Mets low Class A third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez already has 11 errors in 36 games. There’s no mystery there, though: If he’s going to be a big league regular, his bat is going to have to carry him. Yet Rodriguez, 19, is hitting just .208/.255/.429 for Savannah. Rodriguez was terrific yesterday though, going 2-for-4 with two home runs, his fourth dinger in the last week. With nine home runs already, Rodriguez is a legitimate slugger, it’s just a matter of getting more polish at the plate in time.
• When the Diamondbacks drafted Rey Navarro out of high school in Puerto Rico in 2007, he was a light-hitting shortstop with an advanced glove. Traded to the Royals for righthander Carlos Rosa last May, Navarro has moved to second base but his offense has been a revelation. After hitting .237/.260/.331 in 107 games a year ago with high Class A Wilmington, Navarro has returned to the Blue Rocks as a 21-year-old and is hitting .324/.378/.507 in 37 games. In a doubleheader yesterday, Navarro went 2-for-6 with a double and a home run, his second of the season. Considering how tough it is to hit in Wilmington, Navarro’s suddenly made himself an intriguing prospect, as if the Royals needed any more.
• Entering yesterday, Boston’s Lars Anderson was a first baseman without a home run. A doubleheader for Triple-A Pawtucket fixed that, as Anderson went deep once in each game. The lack of power showing up in games is still a concern for the 23-year-old lefthanded hitter, but he’s at least getting on base at a high rate, hitting .273/.405/.379.
• There have been no power questions about Paul Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks’ Double-A first baseman didn’t jack any out of the yard yesterday, but he did go 4-for-6 and picked up a pair of doubles. Goldschmidt, 23, has done a good job of closing up some of the holes in his swing to cut down on his strikeouts (27 in 172 plate appearances) and bring his slash stats up to .338/.465/.706 with 14 home runs.
• A supplemental first-round pick in 2010, Phillies lefthander Jesse Biddle had his best start of the year yesterday for low Class A Lakewood. Biddle, a 19-year-old who throws in the low 90s with a promising changeup, struck out eight in six shutout innings. Biddle, whose ERA now sits at 4.70 in 38 1/3 innings, has battled his command at times and he did walk four yesterday, giving him 22 free passes so far.
• Rays righthander Alex Cobb continues to be Mr. Steady for Triple-A Durham. Cobb, 23, hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his starts and has held opponents to one run or fewer in six of his seven outings. Pitching on MLB Network yesterday afternoon (featuring BA’s John Manuel on the color commentary), Cobb struck out seven, walked one and held a prospect-heavy Louisville (Reds) lineup to one run in seven innings. Season numbers: 1.31 ERA, 45 strikeouts, 10 walks in 41 1/3 innings. Not that the Rays are desperate for pitching, but if they need to bring Cobb back up to the big leagues, they can feel fairly comfortable about making the move.
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