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Minor Matters: Jonathan Cornelius Adjusting to Double-A

July 31, 2013 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Jonathan Cornelius is making rapid progress through the St. Louis Cardinals' system.
Jonathan Cornelius pitched very well in the FSL, earning a promotion to Double-A.

As a 24th round pick (2011), lefty Jonathan Cornelius naturally doesn’t get much attention, but the Florida Tech product has moved rapidly through the St. Louis Cardinals’ system, earning a promotion to Double-A last month.

He was a mid-season All-Star in the New York Penn League in his first season, averaging over a strikeout per inning, and last season he was even better in full-season ball, pitching in a swingman role and showing nice groundball tendencies.

This year, Cornelius was promoted to High-A and (again in a swingman role) he was superb, earning the call to Double-A at the beginning of June. He’s found life much more difficult in the Texas League and his control hasn’t been as sharp as he’s shown over the last year and a half.

However, Cornelius appears to be getting it. He’s thrown quality starts in three of his last four outings, and while the other start was as ugly as ugly can get, he’s heading in the right direction.

Yes, he’s already 25, but we expect Cornelius to start appearing on the Cardinals’ prospect lists this offseason and with the rate he’s moved through the system, he could be knocking on the door of the big leagues in about a year’s time, probably as a middle or long reliever.

Farm Seedlings

  • As if the Dodgers’ outfield situation wasn’t crowded enough, Nick Buss is having a tremendous first season at Triple-A. LA’s eighth rounder in 2008 out of USC has moved slowly, so at the age of 26, there’s not a ton of upside here. However, he’s flashing stupendous extra-base pop this season with 19 doubles, 10 triples (tied for second in the PCL) and 15 homers, good for 80 RBI in 99 games. Buss also has speed. It’s helped him to a career-best 920 OPS and a starting spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game a couple of weeks ago. Buss is not on the Dodgers’ roster, which limits his chances of a September promotion, but he deserves one. Check out this video for a look at Buss in action about a month ago.
  • Ben Paulsen is also enjoying a breakthrough year in his first taste of Triple-A, but he’s struggled lately after a hot first half of the month. Colorado’s third rounder in 2009, the first baseman was a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star last year when he hit .255 in 120 games. This year, Paulsen has been flirting with .300 through 345 at-bats while compiling an impressive extra-base line (28 doubles, 10 triples, 11 homers) en route to a career-best 880 OPS. The 25-year-old deserves consideration for a spot on the 40-man roster after this season, at the very least.

Now it’s your turn. Which hitters have caught your eye in the PCL? Let us know in the comments below.

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