corey black daytonaAlthough C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson get the bulk of the pitching prospect hype at AA Tennessee, you probably already know that there are several other quality pitching prospects on the staff, much of which was promoted from that killer Daytona staff that helped the Cubs win the Florida State League last year.

One of those pitching prospects is Corey Black, the young righty the Cubs received in exchange for Alfonso Soriano (and a bunch of cash) last year. At just 22, Black is nearly two and a half years younger than the average player in the Southern League, and he’s had an excellent start to his 2014 season. In fact, his recent no-hit performance (six innings), together with eight strikeouts, was good enough to net him Pitcher of the Week honors in the Southern League.

Black is an interesting prospect, one whom the Yankees were loathe to give up in the Soriano deal, but his future remains cloudy. Thanks to his smaller size, and some control issues, many talent evaluators say Black’s future is in the bullpen (although they are usually complimentary in so saying, indicating that Black could be a very good reliever down the road). The Cubs will allow him to keep starting as long as he can do so effectively, and he is sporting a 2.65 ERA over 17 innings so far this year. Indeed, his no-hit performance last week was actually his second no-hit performance already this season (he gave up no hits over five innings back on April 11).

(Interestingly, for his career, Black has dominated left-handed hitting far more than right-handed hitting, which I suspect is a testament to a very effective changeup.)

Before we go too crazy on Black just yet, I should point out some caveats to his 2014 numbers thus far. Although he’s struck out 16 over those 17 innings (nice), he’s also walked 12 (not so nice). His BABIP against is a scant .146, so these no-hit performances are probably not quite sustainable. Given some of those peripherals, it won’t surprise you to learn that, while the ERA is tiny, his FIP is a much higher 4.55.

None of that is to raise any red flags on Black, or undercut his success so far this year. Instead, it’s mostly just offered up as a reminder that it’s only been 17 innings this year. The results have been mixed, and Black remains an interesting pitching prospect to watch. Coming into the season, he showed up on several top Cubs prospects lists, ranking 9th to Keith Law, 15th to Baseball America, and 16th to MLB.com.

And, hey, he’s got a little hardware, which is always nice.

  • Funn Dave

    Hi all,

    I’m considering subscribing to milb.tv but I’ve got a couple questions that I’m hoping someone can answer:

    Does anyone know the approximate ratio of night games to day games?

    I’m guessing I don’t have to worry about blackouts?

    The website says milb.tv offers “some” playoff games. What does that entail, exactly?

    Thanks in advance. Also, Brett or Luke, have you considered putting a link on Bleacher Nation to subscribe to milb.tv or mlb.tv, similar to the one you have to Amazon? Idk how the site does financially, but I’m sure people would subscribe through here if it was offered.

    • baldtaxguy

      You can probably just check the Kane County, Tennessee and Iowa schedules to get your day to night ratios. There were a few more day games last week that surprised me, but you just need to check the schedules. Of course, if you are following other teams, do similar.

      I’ve seen no indication of blackouts, just rainouts.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Mainly just the Iowa and Tennessee.

        In general, those teams play at night except on travel days. And when Iowa is out West, you get some very late night games as well.

        • Funn Dave

          Thanks, fellas. That’s what I wanted to hear–more night games = more games that I can actually watch. Subscribing for a month today, just to see what it’s like.

  • Rebuilding

    Glad to see Black pitching well. Everything I’ve seen suggests he will be a bullpen arm, but maybe he can develop a 3rd pitch that’s effective.

  • AA Correspondant

    Looking forward to seeing him pitch again tonight. Although the forecast is looking a litle iffy for tonight with rain….I’m hoping he can send the boys into a well deserved off day on a winning note. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far from Corey on the mound. He has a presence on the mound that some of the other starters just dont seem to have (yet)……He has a swagger (not cocky…but confident) about him that says…”Listen here motherf’er….im in charge here so dig in and take your shot.”. I like that. This is the guy who looks the most like a pro on the mound (so far) and i expect that he’ll be a very bright spot on the Smokies this season. Matt Loosen has also been very good so far this year. These guy have flown under the radar, but so far, they both have impressed me quite a bit.

  • SenorGato

    I really like Black. Not so much as a starter, but I think he’s one of a couple guys who can become top notch relievers.

  • JasonP

    As far as non-predictive facts go, this one completely qualifies; but the last time the Cubs drafted 4th overall they selected Kerry Wood.

  • Greenroom

    Another gem from C. Black tonight:6 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K’s, 1 ER. He is rolling.

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