Daniel Corcino and Wilkien De La Rosa combined for the first no-hitter in team history last night when Pensacola won 6-0 over visiting Mobile. Corcino tossed a gem with nine strikeouts in eight innings while walking three. He finished strong, fanning five of the final six batters faced. De La Rosa did not allow a fair ball in the ninth when he recorded a walk and three strikeouts while facing four BayBears. The win improved Corcino’s record to 3-4 and brought his ERA down to 3.34. De La Rosa has allowed only three earned runs in 27 appearances since his promotion to the Wahoos this year and has an ERA of 1.25. The fish are now at .500 on the season at 34-34.
Offensively Pensacola clung to a 1-0 lead until they scored two in the seventh and three more in the eighth. They got things started on an RBI single by Juan Guzman bringing in Didi Gregorius who had tripled earlier in the inning. Their insurance runs came on David Vidal’s first home run as an AA player scoring Gregorius again. In the eight the lineup batted around when they rallied for the final three. Gregorius fand P.J. Phillips had two hits each.
Corcino entered this season as the top rated pitching prospect in the Cincinnati system. The Dominican’s stature and game has caused comparisons to current Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The performance last night will likely encourage those comparisons more. He’s now held opponents to three earned runs or fewer in twelve of his thirteen starts this season. He threw 110 pitches before he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. It was his longest outing of the year.
The 21 year-old right-hander skipped high-A this season after going 11-7 with a 3.42 ERA/1.163 WHIP at Dayton in 2011. After the promotion of Tony Cingrani and Kyle Lotzkar he was getting more competition from his rotation for “top prospect” considerations. The performance last night made a statement that he still belongs on the top of the list.
After his skip it’s not surprising that he faced new challenges related to command while facing more disciplined hitters at the higher level. He started out with a K/BB ratio of 23/15 over his first six games. In his final seven outings he’s improved that to 46/16 over 39 innings. Last year at Dayton he struck out 156 while waking only 34 in 139+ innings.
Cincinnati has made considerable investment to stock their farm system with strong arms at the lower levels. Another top-rated pitching prospect, Robert Stephenson was their first selection in last year’s draft. He is at extended spring training in Goodyear, AZ and is expected to have his professional debut at Billings after the Pioneer League season starts this week. Recently they invested another top pick in right-hander Nick Travieso out of Florida. Two recent first-rounders, Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Granda,l ascended up the Cincinnati organization before having advancement blocked by other position players. That won’t happen with their last two because room can always be found for a good pitcher.
One reason why the Reds are in first place right now is because thus far all of their games have been started by the five pitchers in their original rotation at the start of the season. The depth in their organization was reduced earlier this month when veteran Jeff Francis left Louisville. It seems unreasonable to expect any MLB team to go through a 162 game schedule and rely on only five players for all of their starts.
The current Pensacola rotation should provide depth at the top minor league level in the near future and provide additional options for both 2013 and long term. Corcino, Lotzkar, Cingrani, and Tim Crabbe all have ERA’s below four. J.C. Sulburan has a low-4 ERA and is another one of the higher-rated pitchers in the organization. In addition to them, Pedro Villarreal has a 3.14 ERA for the Bats since his promotion earlier this season. A team can never have too much good pitching.
Other News from the Farm:
Louisville scored four in the second and another four in the fourth while cruising to a home win over Rochester. Felix Perez got three more hits while driving in two and scoring twice. Joey Gathright, Mike Costanzo, and Bill Rhinehart added two hits each including Costanzo’s fifth homer. In his second rehab start Scott Rolen went 1-3 with a three-run home run. Corky Miller went 1-2 with a walk, sac fly, and four RBI. On the mound Tim Gustafson made a quality start allowing three runs on seven hits in seven innings for his second win as a Bat. The Rochester loser was former Red Matt Maloney who is 0-3 with a 8.06 ERA.
Bakersfield went ahead with a three run seventh and held on for a 7-6 win over visiting Lake Elsinore. Theo Bowe had four hits to raise his average to .386 with the Blaze. Billy Hamilton, Tucker Barnhart, and Kutis Muller added two hits each including Barnhart’s third home run. Chad Rogers had a short start and did not allow a run in three innings. Kyle McMyne blew a save and hung around to pick up the win. Brooks Pinckard retired the side in the ninth to pick up his first save.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:
Had it not been for the Pensacola no-hitter, Hamilton’s feat would have been the highlight of the day because he stole five bases. He had two double-steal innings, swiping both second and third after leading off the first with a walk and the seventh with a single. He also stole second after a bunt single in the third. He now has 80 steals in 66 games. Speed was the name of the game last night for the Blaze because teammate Bowe swiped another three. He’s got 23 thefts in the 33 games since his promotion from Dayton and now has 35 overall this season.
Dayton prevented an overall sweep by the Reds organization on the day when they dropped an 11-2 decision at Lake County. The Captains scored five in third and never looked back. Joe Terry had three hits for the Dragons and Juan Perez added two more. Dayton pitching was victimized by their team’s four errors. Starter Tanner Robles took the loss when he allowed six runs in five innings, but only two of them were earned.