Corey Black Profile

facebooktwitterreddit

Feb 20, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees Corey Black (87) during photo day at Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Alfonso Soriano has been traded before. The first time almost ten years ago, but then, unlike this season, he wasn’t the main guy. In fact, news outlets ran thousands of headlines that didn’t even mention his name. Of course, back then he was just the young up and comer who happened to be traded for Mega-Star Alex Rodriguez. Since, however, he’s hit almost as many home runs as Alex, stolen more bases, and got his own 100 million dollar contract. So maybe we should look at the other side of this Alfonso Soriano trade,a guy who could have just as great a future as Soriano’s present – Right handed pitcher Corey Black

Just 21 and armed with a fastball that can touch 100 MPH on a bad day, Black is not your ordinary fourth round pick. The pitch is arguably one of the best in the minors, averaging 94-96 with late life and enabling Corey to strike out over 10 batters per nine innings in A+ ball.  To complement his heater, the young righthander features a changeup and a pair of breaking pitches – curveball and slider. While his fastball has gotten him this far, and may even carry him to AA, his secondary pitches will need serious refinement if he is to one day pitch in the majors.

His changeup is ahead of his other off speed touch, with straight dropping action and a decent change in velocity from the fastball. The curve and slider are still very much raw, but they are progressing. Mid 70’s, with 12-6 break, the curve is ahead of the slider, and could develop into a major league average pitch in several years. The slider, by contrast, is undeveloped. Its tight but it lacks consistency or solid break and likely has a ceiling as a below average pitch.

Black’s command can be spotty at times, accounting for his 4.7 BB/9 and a 4.10 ERA in A+ ball, although it has improved to 3.9 BB/9 since he joined the Cubs. The primary 0bstacle, however, between him and a future as a major league starter is his size. standing 5’11 and a lean 175 pounds, Black is incredibly small for a major league pitcher. Righthanders lacking a sizeable frame often struggle with durability and break down over time; just ask Tim Lincecum, who once threw 98 MPH and now averages just a tick over 90.

The Cubs will probably give Black every chance in the world to become a starter, but ultimately his size, command, and lack of secondary offerings will force him into the pen. A 100 MPH heater, a solid changeup, and the occasional curve, though, could be the arsenal of a one of the best relievers in baseball come late 2015.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow@Gradingthecurve on Twitter and and Like Grading On The Curve’s Facebook page to keep up with the latest prospect news, rumors, and opinion.