Minor League Prospect Notes, June 18, 2012
**Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect Daniel Corcino threw eight hitless innings on Saturday night, leading the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos to victory over Mobile. He fanned nine and walked three, pushing his season mark to 3-4, 3.34 ERA with a 69/31 K/BB in 70 innings with 60 hits allowed. The 21-year-old right-hander pitched in the Low-A Midwest League last year (3.42 ERA with 156/34 K/BB in 139 innings), so the fact that he's skipped a level and continues to pitch well in Double-A this spring is a good sign for his future. Corcino is "short" and stocky for a right-hander at 5-11, 205, and he got just a $25,000 bonus when he signed in 2008. He has a live arm, however, with a 92-95 MPH fastball and a steadily improving slider and changeup.
**Houston Astros pitching prospect Nick Tropeano threw seven shutout innings for Low-A Lexington yesterday, giving up three hits and five walks, fanning seven. On the season, he is now 5-4, 2.99 ERA with a 91/23 K/BB in 81 innings, 75 hits allowed. The former Stony Brook Seawolves ace was a fifth-round pick in 2011 despite a non-blistering fastball at 88-93 MPH and a so-so slider. Both pitches play up due to his spectacular changeup, and despite Sunday's five walks, he generally shows excellent command. It's no surprise that he's dominating Low-A, but we'll have to see if more experienced hitters at higher levels are as easy for him to trick. If I were the Astros, I would move him up to High-A as soon as a spot is available.
**Kansas City Royals pitching prospect Mike Montgomery had another spotty outing for Triple-A Omaha on Sunday. He gave up six hits, three walks, and four runs in six innings of work, taking the loss against Nashville. He is now 3-3, 4.79 with a 46/37 K/BB in 73 innings with 76 hits allowed. Scouting reports from Pacific Coast League observers indicate that Montgomery has made little progress this year. He still flashes mid-90s velocity readings, but his command remains very inconsistent, his velocity waivers when his mechanics are off, and his breaking pitches have regressed. Statistically, this shows up as a sharp decline in his strikeout rate, his K/9 dropping from 7.71 last year to 5.65 this season.
**Keep an eye on Los Angeles Angels pitching prospect Ariel Pena, currently sitting with a 3.01 ERA and a 74/28 K/BB ratio in 78 innings for Double-A Arkansas in the Texas League, with 70 hits allowed. He does not get as much attention as he deserves, but his performance has been solid this year and he has plenty of stuff, including a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a nasty slider. He's still refining his changeup and his command, but he is adapting well to Double-A and building on what he did in the California League last year, where he fanned 180 (but walked 81) in 152 innings. The 6-3, 190 pound right-hander was signed without much fanfare out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, but he has one of the best arms in the Angels system and is showing better control this year.