Fossas singled out several pitchers for their performances. They included J.C. Sulbaran, Daniel Corcino, Kyle Lotzkar, Daniel Tuttle, and Ismael Guillon. The last four names on the list all could pitch in Dayton in 2011. Note that as of this writing, the Reds have not yet announced their affiliate coaching staffs for 2011, so Fossas is not certain of his assignment for next season.
Here is a closer look at some of the pitchers mentioned by Fossas in the interview:
Sulbaran has spent the last two seasons with the Dragons after being signed as a highly-touted high school draft pick in 2008. A native of Curacao, Sulbaran moved with his family to the Miami area during high school and gained attention in international competition with TEAM NETHERLANDS. Sulbaran spent the 2010 season in the Dragons starting rotation before suffering a season-ending broken hand in July. In 16 appearances, he posted a record of 4-6 with a 4.99 ERA. He will turn 21 years old in November and should be slated for Advanced-A Bakersfield in 2011.
Corcino, who has drawn some comparisons to former Dragon Johnny Cueto due to his 90+ mile per hour fastball, sub-six foot height, and Dominican origins, has enjoyed a tremendous instructional league camp. Corcino, another 20-year-old, began 2010 with Billings and made nine starts there, going 1-3, 3.40 and impressed Pioneer League managers enough that he was named as the # 11 prospect in the league by Baseball America. He was promoted to Dayton in August and started strongly with the Dragons. In his first three starts, he allowed a total of two runs (both in the same inning) and had a 1.08 ERA and a .150 opponents' batting average. But his command was not as sharp over his last three starts when he allowed 14 runs in 14.2 innings. His final numbers in Dayton included a 1-1 record with a 4.31 ERA. There would seem to be a good chance that Corcino would start the 2011 season in the Dayton rotation.
Lotzkar has battled injuries since his selection in the supplemental first round of the 2007 draft out of high school in Canada. Two full seasons have passed since Lotzkar broke his elbow in a game with the Dragons in 2008, but he is still only 20 years old. Lotzkar did not pitch at all in 2009, underwent surgery, and came back slowly in 2010 despite being sidetracked by an unrelated illness. Once he got back to form, he was almost unhittable. After five straight strong outings with the AZL Reds, he was promoted to Billings, and the results there were exceptional. He made four starts with the Mustangs, each lasting exactly five innings, and he allowed a grand total of one run for an ERA of 0.45. Opposing batters combined to hit .119 against him and he struck out 33 over 20 innings (he struck out 33 of the 70 batters he faced). The big question that must be answered for Lotzkar is an obvious one: Can he stay healthy? Dayton fans may get the first evidence in April of 2011.
Tuttle was the Reds fifth round draft pick in 2009 out of Randleman High School in North Carolina. He is also just 20 years old. Tuttle spent the 2011 season with Billings, going 5-3, 4.32 in 13 starts. Baseball America rated Tuttle as the 27th best prospect in the Reds organization entering the 2010 season.
Guillon is the youngest pitcher on this list at the tender age of 18. He was signed as a high-profile international free agent out of Venezuela in 2008 and would have been signed as a first baseball if he had not showed the ability to pitch. He missed all of 2009 due to arm surgery. In 2010, he started his professional career with the AZL Reds and was the top left-handed pitching prospect in the Arizona League. Baseball America rated him as the ninth best overall prospect in the league and third best pitching prospect. In 12 games, he was 3-3, 3.32 and posted some great secondary numbers. He struck out 73 in 57 innings. He allowed just 39 hits as opposing batters hit just .193 against him. His last start was his best when he worked six innings and allowed just one hit while striking out 11.
Thanks to Tony Fossas for taking time out of a busy day to talk.