Despite that, he finished 6-5, 4.96 for the Catfish and 2-4, 8.24 at Vero Beach in 2006. Acceptable numbers but they didn't impress anyone either.
However, Wade is one who has followed the game closely and is familiar with the great players who have gone before him. Then the mystical Sandy Koufax appeared as he does in the Spring at Dodgertown and, finding Stults working in the bullpen, stopped to offer some tips.
He was demonstrating how he threw his curve to the privileged few that were on hand at that time -- including Wade.
Unlike Gary Sheffield who said, upon the cusp of breaking the Dodger home run record held by Snider, "Who's Duke Snider?" Wade knew who Koufax was and how important the contact and the instructions were.
"You should see the size of his hands!" he exclaimed later. "He has the huge hands so when he wraps it around the ball, it disappears. Some of the guys tried the grip but couldn't do it. I'm fortunate that I have fairly large hands so I was able to do it. And it's helped, believe me."
In 2006 he allowed a one-out double in the first inning, then retired the next 26 hitters in a row, striking out 11 of them on June 7 in Columbus. And he notched a 6-5 record and 94 strikeouts in 94.1 innings before being moved to Vero Beach in the final weeks.
Still working on perfecting his curve ball, he was tagged with a 2-4. 8.24 earned run average over his eight relief games for the Vero Dodgers.
Then in 2007, things started to fall in place for the 24-year-old righthander. He outclassed the California League hitters, posting a perfect 7-0 record and a career-best 2.45 ERA over 25 games out of the bullpen, striking out over a batter an inning and saving six games.
Swiftly moved up to Double-A Jacksonville and again used exclusively out of the pen, he had a 1.36 earned run average over 14 appearances and again fanned a hitter an inning. He held opposition hitter to a tiny 2.45 at Inland Empire and cut that to .182 with the Suns.
He finished the season with a combined 2.09 earned run average, fourth in the Dodger system. He was third in hits allowed (6.55 per nine innings), seventh in walks allowed (1.39) and third in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings) with 1.01 per game. He struck out 9.09 each nine innings he worked.
What made the difference? Was it the impromptu visit by the greatest pitcher in Dodger history? Had all the tumblers finally clicked into place with his mechanics? If one knew what turns a minor league journeyman into a solid prospect, he could be living in Southern France during the cold winter months.
But it seems to have happened and that is the important thing. He was placed on the Dodgers 40-man roster. He'll be 26 early in the 2008 season and could well be pitching at AAA Las Vegas.
Cory Nathaniel Wade br tr 6-2 175 Born- May 28, 1983 in Indianapolis, Indiana Obtained- Selected in the 10th round of the 2004 draft year team w-l era gm gs in h bb so ave 2004 GCL 2-1 3.03 11 2 32.2 12 1 26 .228 Ogden 1-2 5.14 8 0 14.0 24 4 19 .364 2005 Col 0-2 4.05 12 0 20.0 29 10 14 .341 Ogden 2-3 4.35 16 11 72.1 81 5 19 .291 2006 Col 6-5 4.96 23 14 94.1 101 11 94 .269 VBch 2-4 8.24 7 7 39.1 52 11 32 .317 2007 IEmp 7-0 2.45 25 2 6.0 50 17 67 .207 Jack 0-1 1.36 17 0 33.0 22 11 33 .136