Corcino following in footsteps of mentor Cueto

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Reds pitching prospect Daniel Corcino has often drawn comparisons to a younger Johnny Cueto. Corcino -- who is Dominican, like Cueto -- doesn't mind because he considers the Reds' ace one of his mentors.

"I watch how he pitches, and always, he's teaching me what to do," Corcino said. "He said when you're young that you need to learn from a veteran guy. He taught me how to pitch in [different] counts. He said it's different in the Minor Leagues when they'll swing at any pitch. Up there, you have to focus so much with every pitch you throw."

A 22-year-old right-hander, Corcino is rated by as the fourth-best 2013 prospect in the Reds' organization. He was 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA in 26 starts last season at Double-A Pensacola. In 143 1/3 innings, he walked 65 and struck out 126 batters.

In three spring games, Corcino has a 6.75 ERA with three runs allowed in four innings of work. He pitched one perfect inning vs. the D-backs on Monday but gave up two runs and four walks in his previous outing against Arizona.

"The comparison is he's like a young Johnny Cueto. Cueto was more refined and throwing strikes in the strike zone at Double-A," Reds manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday.

Cueto debuted in the Majors in 2008 after only 10 Double-A starts and four Triple-A starts under his belt. But there are similar stats. Corcino is 28-28 with a 3.57 ERA in 112 Minor League games with 26 homers and 161 walks allowed and 400 strikeouts. Cueto was 32-23 with a 3.26 ERA in 91 games with 27 homers and 114 walks with 439 strikeouts.

This is Corcino's second big league camp, and he's been one of the several young pitchers who benefit from the extended time learning from instructor Mario Soto. Several Reds pitchers have developed their changeup under the guidance of Soto.

"My changeup is much better now from working with Mario Soto," Corcino said. "Everything, my mechanics and changeup, will be better this season."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for 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.