Corley Sets Goals

Brad Corley

Brad Corley won't be forgetting a conversation he had with Gary Redus.

Pittsburgh's second-round draft selection in 2005, Corley received a little advice from the former Pirate and current roving minor-league outfield/base running instructor during this past season.

"He told me the goal isn't to get to Lynchburg," Corley said.

Spending all of last season with the Pirates' Class A Hickory affiliate, the power-hitting Corley hit .281 (150-for-534) with 32 doubles, 16 home runs and 100 RBIs for the Crawdads. And while some — including the 23-year-old outfielder — wondered why he never received a midseason promotion up to high Class A Lynchburg, Redus helped Corley understand his ultimate goal.

"The goal isn't to get to Lynchburg and it's not to get to (Class AA) Altoona. The goal is to get to Pittsburgh," Corley explained. "That's what I need to do. The Pirates want their players, especially their first- and second-year players to play a full season and be successful.

"They don't want to rush you, and I don't want to rush. I want do what I need to do and accomplish what I need before heading to the next level."

Drafted out of Mississippi State University after his junior year, Corley batted .315 with 20 doubles, five home runs and 40 RBI in 2005.

Corley was rated by news services as the SEC outfielder with the best arm and was named a first-team All-American in 2004. His freshman season he was a teammate of current Pirates starter Paul Maholm.

"There was a big transition for me last year," Corley said, concerning his first professional season with shortseason Class A Williamsport.

"Playing in the SEC, there are a lot of good players. But when you start playing against other professional players, you see how much smarter everyone is. The pitchers are even more smarter, not so much with their pitches but with their command.

"I had to learn to be more patient and learn to wait for the good pitch. And when that pitch came, I had to learn that you can't miss that pitch."

Patience is a virtue that Corley continues to battle. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound righthanded hitter registered only 18 walks while striking out 109 times during his 534 at-bats with the Crawdads.

"I had very few walks," Corley said. "I have to continue to work the count the right way and wait for that fastball, wanting to be able to drive through the ball."

He also approached last season with a new swing.

After batting .279 (74-for-265) with four homers and 35 RBIs in 68 games in the New York-Penn League with Williamsport, Corley was sent to the Pirates' Instructional League in Bradenton, Fla., to work on his swing with Jeff Manto. Pittsburgh's big-league hitting coach who served as the roving minor-league hitting instructor prior to 2006.

"He taught me to get to the ball quicker," Corley said. "He worked with my stride and got me to hit through the ball and drive it.

"In Williamsport, I was fouling off a lot of fastballs and breaking my bat. He just got me to get to the ball quicker through my approach and strike, so I could attack and drive it instead of fouling it off."

At the conclusion of this past season, Corley headed back to the Instructional League in October.

"Basically I worked on repetition," said Corley, who was also drafted in by the Rockies in the 16th round out of Louisville's Pleasure Ridge Park High School in 2002. "I just want to hit consistently. The big thing for me isn't home runs as much as RBIs. I want to be able to keep driving in runs.

"That's going to come with maturity in the game. I have to remain patient for that good pitch and take it."

After his first full season of professional baseball, Corley is also dealing with the length of his playing schedule.

"This is a learning process," he said. "This isn't like college, having a few days off then playing. I'm playing every day now and you don't have much other to do than play baseball.

"It's basically eat, sleep and play ball."

With spring training quickly approaching, Corley is going to remain patient through his preparation toward his upcoming season … no matter where he starts the year.

"I'll probably go to Lynchburg," he said. "Hopefully I'll do well enough and then head to Altoona at some point.

"But I know that I have to do what I need to in Lynchburg first. Then, hopefully I'll be in Altoona and keep working my way up."

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