The man the Chicago Cubs are acquiring from the New York Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano, per ESPN, could easily become a fan favorite in the Windy City. Corey Black is a 21-year-old pitcher who throws a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and also possesses a quality curveball, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Black stands just 5'11" and weighs 175 pounds, but the velocity he generates is what you would expect from a larger, more powerfully built presence on the mound. Per Mike Axisa of River Rave Blues, Black hit triple digits on the speed gun during 2012.
The soon-to-be 22 year old (August 4) has likely dealt with the stigma about his height as a potential major league pitcher throughout his career. Add in that he has also had to recover from Tommy John surgery (almost two years ago) and Black has already faced and overcome some adversity.
That may be why the profile of his Twitter account says: "proving everyone wrong since day one."
That's the kind of feisty attitude Cubs fans should be able to appreciate.
Black was drafted in the fourth round by the Yankees in the 2012 MLB Draft and he shot through the lower levels of the Bombers' system. In 2012 alone, Black went through rookie ball, the low-A level and last pitched for high-A Tampa when the trade was completed. He's been a starter in the Yankees system, but as Sherman points out, his long-term projection seems to be as a reliever.
His combined stat line in the Yankees organization is decent. He posted a 5-10 record with a 3.79 ERA and 138 strikeouts and only 45 walks in 135.1 innings pitched.
Axisa points out that "the fastball gives Black end-game potential as a reliever." Which is something the Cubs desperately need, but he also says that his off-speed pitches need some work.
At just 21 years old, he has some time. The swiftness with which Black was ascending through the Yankees' system would imply that he is progressing properly.
If Black develops into a consistent bullpen performer—ideally, a successful Cubs closer—his big arm and small stature will endear him to the Wrigley faithful.
With prospects like Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Junior Lake, Mike Olt and now Black, it is hard to find a team with a more exciting set of young prospects.
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