Before 2009: Corona was signed out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old in 2003. Just 17 years old at the time, Corona debuted in the organization in 2004 with the Yankees affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .261 in 36 games.
Moved slowly through the system, Corona would spent parts of the next two and a half seasons advancing no higher than High-A Tampa. But in the last week of July 2007, Corona earned his first promotion to Double-A Trenton, hitting .221 in limited action and earning a championship ring.
Corona returned to Trenton in 2008, where he spent the entire season. He played 129 games, including 30 at shortstop. There, it became clear he was better suited as a second baseman, as he made nine errors at shortstop and just three at second base, despite playing 99 more games at that position.
He also put together a strong season from an offensive standpoint, hitting .274 with three home runs, 39 RBI and 24 stolen bases. His combination of slick fielding, consistent hitting and speed caught the eye of the Seattle Mariners, who selected him in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft prior to the start of the 2009 season.
2009: Corona entered 2009 spring training with a legitimate chance to make the Seattle Mariners out of camp. Of course, if he didn’t, he’d have to be offered back to the Yankees organization.
He didn’t make it. He was offered back. They gladly took him back.
“It’s a little tough (to have to come back to Double-A), but you have to live with the bad things,” Corona said prior to the start of the season.
“I think it’s a great thing that they gave me the opportunity to spend most of spring training over there. But I come back to Double-A and hope to move forward and to try to do my best. (Facing more experienced pitchers) was a good thing. I think I proved I can play over there. Every day, you learn a lot, and in that last month I learned a lot.”
At the Double-A level, Corona put together a nice season. In 85 games, he hit .287 with three home runs and 26 RBI. And while his numbers might not show it, he seemed to develop a little more power to the right side of the field. Corona also walked (56) more times than he struck out (50), and was pretty consistent throughout the season.
Corona was called up to Triple-A Scranton twice this year, once in May and once in August. Neither one went particularly well. Overall, his Triple-A numbers (.200, 3 HR, 14 RBI) aren’t particularly good, but he did seem to improve in his second stint.
After 2009: Corona is still just 23 years old, and has more value than people likely realize. He profiles very, very similarly to Ramiro Pena, and you see where Pena started the season this year. Thing is, Pena has proven he can play everywhere, whereas Corona is pretty much limited to second base.
Reeginald would go a long way towards finally sticking in the big leagues if he could display some more versatility…but the question is, where will that big league opportunity come?
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com