We aren’t a full week into the minor league season and the Cincinnati Reds have already had some outstanding pitching performances at every level. For today we are going to focus in on some scouting notes from the performances of Robert Stephenson, Ismael Guillon and Daniel Corcino.
Five innings. One hit. One walk. Eleven strikeouts. Last season Stephenson dominated in Dayton and in Bakersfield, but he tired down the stretch and struggled in 16.2 innings in Pensacola where he had 13 walks and 18 strikeouts. After an offseason to recharge and a fresh start, Stephenson resembled the guy that dominated in Dayton and Bakersfield. He threw his fastball at 94-97 MPH and touched 98 on occasion. The velocity is where it usually is, mid 90’s and touching high 90’s.
Last season after returning from a tweaked hamstring Stephenson seemed to lose command of his fastball. He was still able to throw it for strikes, but he wasn’t able to hit his spots. In his first start of the season, the command was back. He mixed in the change up sparingly, but showed it enough that the hitters knew he could throw it that night, but the big pitch as usual was the curveball. He relied on the fastball and the curveball, mixing them both in very well to put hitters away. He showed control of the curveball most of the night, only letting a few get away from him. At times in 2013 the pitch seemed to almost become a slider, but it returned to form as a true curveball on Saturday night.
Ismael Guillon was an enigma in the 2013 season. He led the Midwest League in strikeouts and in walks. He had the stuff to get just about anyone in the league out, but he battled the strikezone nearly every time he took the mound. He returned to Dayton to begin 2014 and he looked like a completely different pitcher.
Guillon threw his fastball with better velocity than he showed most of the year in 2013, sitting 92-93 and touching 94 MPH often. More importantly than the velocity though, he showed fastball control. He threw 6 shutout innings and only in the 4th inning did he seem to show any signs of battling control issues, where he issued his only walk of the game, but he also recorded a strikeout and erased the walk with a double play to end the inning. He mixed in his curveball often and showed that he could throw it for strikes as well. While it is his third best pitch, it isn’t a weakness at this point in his career. The lefty used his change up, one of the best ones I have ever seen at the minor league level, less than his curveball, though that is generally what he has done in the past as well.
Much like Guillon, Daniel Corcino had big time struggles in 2013 as he battled control and stuff problems. After spending the 2013 season in Triple-A he was sent to Double-A Pensacola to begin his year. Things didn’t get off to a good start as he battled control against the first three hitters he faced, allowing a double on a fastball up in the zone and walking the next hitter. His slider was also a bit flat early against the first few batters when he did throw it.
After that he settled in though and began locating his pitches. In his second inning of work he only missed his spot once, with a fastball outside of the zone. He began mixing in a good looking slider with good bite on it and a solid change up. The right hander in the past has been known to throw across his body and while his arm action wasn’t violent or out of control so to speak, his overall mechanics were a bit violent. In his start on Friday his mechanics were under control most of the time, though there were a few pitches where he was off balance and coming across his body. It allowed him to keep better balance and have far more consistent mechanics. It may just be one start, but the calmed down mechanics and balance at least gave a taste of what Corcino could be once again.