Corey Black: An Interview with the Chicago Cubs’ Pitching Prospect
Right-handed pitcher Corey Black is one of the up-and-rising prospects in baseball. With his ongoing development and steady production, he finds himself knocking on the door of the major leagues for a team with one of the most promising futures—the Chicago Cubs.
Now 23, Black was selected by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. The California native dominated the small conference, going 11-2 with a 1.53 ERA in 2012.
Despite a strong showing in the early going in the minors with the Yankees, Black was traded in 2013 along with significant financial considerations to the Cubs for aging star Alfonso Soriano. The hurler showed why he was so coveted, as he went 4-0 with a 2.88 ERA in five starts in high Single-A following the deal.
Now 23, Black is pitching, and pitching well, in Double-A. He has the arsenal to be a starter in the majors but could also be a valuable piece in the bullpen, at least to start his career. As the Cubs continue to make significant strides towards relevance, don’t be surprised to see him making contributions in the Windy City as the summer days grow longer.
I was able to interview Black in the winter of 2014. Continue reading for more on this exciting pitching prospect, and check him out on Twitter to keep up with him as the season progresses.
Corey Black Interview:
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: I grew up an Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. fan. I loved the athleticism from both athletes, and of course the power. Growing up as a position player only, I strived to be as good as them.
Can you think of a particular moment in your past when you thought professional baseball could be in the cards for you?: Probably when I was 14. I played with 18-year-olds that had just made the Aflac All-American team, and I was holding my own with these amazing players.
Can you describe what the draft process was like for you?: It was stressful for me. I had been told so much going into the draft, I was expecting too much. All in all, it all worked out for me.
What pitches do you throw and which do you think you need to work on the most?: Fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. I love the way all of my pitches have progressed. Of all my pitches I think I need to work on my slider because last year with the Yankees, we tried changing my slider to a cutter, and then back to a slider, so it was inconsistent until the very end of last year.
You throw very hard, especially for someone who is considered “smaller” for a pitcher. Do you get a lot of surprised reactions from hitters/coaches/scouts?: Not as much anymore because everybody has a scouting report. So everyone knows who is who no matter the size.
What was it like finding out you had been traded to the Cubs in exchange for a star like Alfonso Soriano?: It was crazy! I had never ever thought of myself being traded straight up for someone I grew up watching. It goes to show the Cubs really like me and I am doing everything I can to make it to the big club and help out.
Who has been your most influential coach or manager?: My most influential coach was my coach in college my junior year (Faulkner University). Coach McCarthy taught me that it is just a game, to have fun and don’t be so tense because you could be doing much worse like sitting behind a desk.
What are some differences you have noticed between the Chicago and New York franchises?: Not much. Both are historic franchises and both do things the right way. One thing is that the Cubs are a little more laid back and let you play a little bit more.