Not too long ago, Dominican Daniel Corcino was hailed as the second coming of fellow countryman Johnny Cueto rising through the Cincinnati Reds‘ minor leagues.
But not any more.
The 23-year-old Corcino still has a chance to develop into a quality big league starting pitcher, but as the careers of both Corcino and Cueto have unfolded, it’s clear that the Reds may never see another Johnny Cueto, or at least have to wait as long as they did for Cueto to emerge in the wake of former Reds’ great Mario Soto.
Corcino was promoted to the Reds this week from Double-A, where he had a 4.13 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 25 starts. Corcino is expected to get his first big-league bite as a reliever but has been a starter throughout his seven-year minor league career that included a flopped year in Triple-A in 2013 in which he was mercilessly pounded over 129 innings to the tune of a 5.86 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.
The backslide by Corcino attests to the fact that he’s not the second coming of Cueto, who tore through three seasons in the minors before he became a starter for the Reds in 2008. Cueto established one of the finest debut starts in major league history by becoming the only pitcher since 1914 to record a debut start of at least seven innings pitched without issuing a walk while striking out 10 or more batters and yielding only one hit.
Cueto’s development as a Reds’ starter didn’t come without a hitch, though, as he produced an untidy 4.61 ERA in 345-plus innings during his first two years. But he’s more than made up for the rocky start by recording the second lowest ERA (2.49) among all major league pitchers who have thrown at least 600 innings since 2011.
If Corcino can even become a third of the pitcher that Cueto became, the Reds would be extremely fortunate.