Reds prospects hone skills in winter leagues

Corcino, Rodriguez, Soto staying sharp while looking to take next step

Reds prospects hone skills in winter leagues
CINCINNATI -- Participating in winter ball is a way for players to keep their skills sharp in the offseason, getting a head start at potentially impressing at Spring Training with an added mix of paying homage to hometown pride in their countries.

A few members of the Reds' 40-man roster played this winter in various leagues with mixed results.

Winter ball regular seasons have wound down, and the postseason is under way.

Right-hander Daniel Corcino, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 4 prospect in the Reds' organization, made five starts for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Corcino, who has drawn comparisons to Reds rotation ace Johnny Cueto, went 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA, allowing 23 hits, walking six and striking out 10 in 20 2/3 innings. He has not participated in postseason play after wrapping up in December.

Corcino, 22, spent all of the 2012 season at Double-A Pensacola and was 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA in 26 starts.

In the Venezuelan league, infielder Henry Rodriguez batted .288 with one home run and 20 RBIs in 44 games with Aguilas del Zulia. During the postseason, the 22-year-old Rodriguez was batting .296 after he went 3-for-5 with two RBIs on Wednesday vs. Cardenales de Lara.

In 2012, MLB.com ranked Rodriguez as Cincinnati's No. 15 prospect.

A September callup last season for his first taste of the Major Leagues, Rodriguez appeared in 12 games for the Reds and batted .214 (3-for-14) with two RBIs. A switch-hitter who can play second base and third base, he will be in camp hoping to compete for a bench spot.

In Puerto Rico, first baseman Neftali Soto batted .218 with four homers and eight RBIs in 36 games with Santurce. He had gone hitless in 10 at-bats during his team's postseason this month.

Soto, who is the Reds organization's No. 8 prospect, batted .245 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs last season for Triple-A Louisville.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.