No. 11 prospect Corona catching up quickly in Fall League

November 2nd, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In his first Arizona Fall League game on Oct. 2, Astros outfielder injured a finger diving back into first base on a pickoff play. It looked like his AFL experience with the Mesa Solar Sox might be over before it really got started.

Some players may have headed home, especially after a long and successful year. The Astros' No. 11 prospect had played 117 games and turned in a 20-30 season, so it’s not like he was sent to Arizona to make up for lost playing time. But once Corona got the good news that his finger wasn’t broken, he decided he wanted to stick around.

“They asked if I wanted to go home, but I opted to stay here, to recover here after they gave me the diagnosis of what was going on with my finger,” Corona said via translator Annalee Ramirez. “I decided to recover here, waited it out and came back to play.”

The 23-year old returned to action on Oct. 23 and went 1-for-10 in his first three games back. While the rest of the Fall League participants were three-plus weeks into play, Corona had some catching up to do.

“It was a little bit challenging to adjust my eye to the pitches being thrown here, to the way the game is being played here,” he said. “But they are small adjustments that can be made, that are quick fixes.”

If Wednesday night was any indication, he’s made them. Corona went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored as the Solar Sox blanked the Scottsdale Scorpions, 7-0.

His opposite-field double with the bases loaded off of Phillies reliever Andrew Baker in the sixth doubled Mesa’s lead from two to four. Corona had worked the count in his favor to 3-1, and he expected the right-hander to go with his upper-90s fastball next.

“He threw a few breaking balls that were coming out of the zone, they weren’t hitting where they needed to,” Corona said. “I knew he had a good fastball, so that’s what I was looking for. It came and I hit it.”

Corona picked up a single in the third and another one in the fifth. The 23-year-old also made a tremendous sliding catch after a long run in foul territory in the bottom of the eighth. It was the kind of performance Corona wanted to provide coming into the campaign.

Acquired from the Mets for Jake Marisnick in December 2019, Corona had to wait to make his Astros organizational debut until 2021 because of the pandemic, then didn’t stand out during his full-season debut in 2021. But he’s gotten continuously better over the past two years. He broke out in 2022, hitting 19 homers and stealing 28 bases across two levels of A ball, then upping his power-speed to 22 homers and 32 steals this season, mostly with Double-A Corpus Christi. Now back in the swing of things, he’s optimistic he can continue to show off his skills through the end of the Fall League, proving that staying put was a wise decision.

“I always hope to leave an impact wherever I go, whether it’s with my at-bats, out in the field with my defense,” Corona said. “That’s the goal, to leave an impact so people know who I am.”