Cory Brownsten is right where he belongs. The Lockport, New York native will board an airplane with his destination set for Orlando, Florida – home of the Atlanta Braves training complex. He will spend the next few weeks in the MLB fall instructional league and prepare for the 2011 baseball season.
Fans of the Monroe Community College Tribunes, Webster Yankees and University of Pittsburgh Panthers knew it was just of matter of when Brownsten would arrive at this point. Now, time will tell where the young catcher will go from here.
The Braves chose Brownsten in the 15th round with the 464th pick of the draft and sent the catcher to the Rookie Gulf Coast League. Like every other stop along the way, Brownsten proved himself worthy. This time he needed to show a little patience.
“Cory needed to wait his turn when he first got there,” said MCC coach, Mike Kelly. “They platooned him with a few other catchers, but I imagine he took it in stride, looked at the lineup every day, and just got himself ready for his next chance. That’s the kind of kid he is. He doesn’t have any distractions. Baseball is all he wants to do.”
That attitude has served Brownsten well. He earned All-Big East honors with Pittsburgh hitting .395 with 17 extra-base hits, including three home runs and 48 RBI. The right-handed hitter walked 16 times, stole three bases in six attempts and finished with a slugging percentage of .530. In his sophomore season with the Tribunes, Brownsten earned Junior College D2 Defensive-Player-of-the-Year honors to go with a Gold Glove. He garnered first-team All-American, All-District and All-Region hitting .390 with seven home runs, 50 RBI and a slugging percentage of .615. MCC finished the 2008 season third in the nation. In 27 games with the 2008 Webster Yankees, he hit .272, seven extra-base hits and 19 RBI.
The experience helped Brownsten adapt to professional baseball. In 34 Gulf Coast League games, he hit .287 with two home runs and 14 RBI.
“You’re not going to face any bad pitchers in professional baseball,” said Brownsten. “It’s like you are seeing a number one starter for a college team every night.”
Brownsten’s work earned him a late season call-up as he played one game with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League. He went 3-4 with a team-high five RBI to close out the camapign.
“Yeah, that was my best game of the year,” added Brownsten.
He will look to continue his ways when he heads to Orlando where for six weeks he will get a chance to compete against players from Double A and Triple A.
“I’m not surprised he’s doing well,” said Webster Yankee head coach, Dave Brust. “He’s exactly where he wants to be. His ability to play catcher will keep him in pro ball for a long time.”