Cory Spangenberg was the club's first-round selection (10th overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He played one year at the Virginia Military Institute before transferring to Indian River State College.
Spangenberg was a standout high school player, leading Abington Heights to the PIAA State Championship. His senior year he hit .479 with a slugging percentage of 1.000.
The most challenging part of the transition from college to professional baseball for many players is the daily work required to be a professional, and Spangenberg is no different.
"The hardest part is really the grind of it every day. You're out here every day eight or nine hours and just getting used to that. I would say that's probably the biggest change. "
Although a difficult transition, the coaches are really excited to work with Spangenberg. Chris Prieto, the hitting coach, was thrilled to work with Spangenberg's raw potential.
"Right now, it's fun to watch his approach, and he's got a lot going for him," Prieto said. "He's got a solid foundation to become a really good hitter, and we're in the stage of just watching him, watch what he does great and from what I see so far, its little adjustments here and there probably throughout his career that he's going to have to make, but he's got a pretty good knowledge of what he's doing and he's fun to work with."
Spangenberg is not known as a power hitter, but he and Prieto are not worried about that right now.
Spangenberg said, "That [homeruns] will come with time, but right now I'm just trying to get on base any way I can. With singles and doubles, and that will come later."
Prieto agrees, adding, "Power is something that shows up eventually. If you have a good swing, a good approach, the power will kind of show up at some point. You know, you don't really particularly teach power, you just, maybe let it happen to guys, and some guys get it and some guys don't. But I definitely wouldn't want to tell him to try to start hitting homers."
Spangenberg is an extra valuable asset because he can play multiple positions. In the past, he has played shortstop and second, and the Emeralds considering placing him in center field – a spot he may see time at in the future. Spangenberg is content playing the keystone.
"I like second base. It's the position I feel most comfortable with, so for right now it's perfect," Spangenberg said.
The team definitely benefited from his presence, going 21-4 during his time in the Northwest League. The second baseman from Indian River State was batting .386 and led the Northwest League in four categories: doubles (10), on-base percentage (.556), runs scored (19) and base on balls (31).
His consistent hitting led to a promotion on Monday night, pushing him to Low-A Fort Wayne where he hopes to continue his quick rise through the Padres minor league system.