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Draft Prospects You Should Know: Riley Cornelio

This prep righty could merit second round consideration in this year’s MLB draft

Star mettle: Cornelio pitched well for the Gold Medal-winning 18-U USA squad in last year’s Pan American Games.

When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.

Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).

Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).

Riley Cornelio
Pine Creek H.S. (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Age 18
Bats Right
Throws Right


Baseball America 68
MLB 87
FanGraphs N/A

Cornelio is coming off of a solid summer and a strong performance for USA Baseball’s 18-and-Under National Team, which won gold in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships this fall (he was 1-0 in seven innings, with a 1.29 ERA as he allowed just five hits and two walks while striking out four). The righty is building enough momentum toward draft day that he might be the first Colorado prep arm since Roy Halladay to go in the first two rounds.

The 6´3´´ righthander attacks hitters with a fastball that reached 95 mph last year at the Perfect Game National Showcase, but generally runs around 93 mph Scouts particularly like his feel to spin his breaking ball. It can be slurvy at times, but it had big bite and spin when he stayed on top of it. He flashes a decent but inconsistent 82-85 mph changeup according to Baseball America, which has decent tumble and is thrown with good arm speed when at its best.

The TCU commit has a bit of an unorthodox, effort-filled delivery, including head whack with plunging action in the back of his arm stroke — all of which can be seen in the video below. With such a delivery, it’d be expected that Cornelio’s control would be lacking. However, MLB gives him a score of 50 (average) for control. His fastball and curveball are both graded at 55, while his changeup is 45.

Like most northern pitchers, Cornelio is more of a thrower than a pitcher, simply because he doesn’t pitch in as many games due to the colder weather. Thus, there’s a possibility he could improve his draft stock by pitching a couple years for the Horned Frogs. It’s conceivable a team like the White Sox could select him in the second round, but the better possibility may be to offer him over-slot cash if he were to fall in the third round.

Here’s a video of Cornelio pitching in the Perfect Game National Showcase last June, courtesy of our friends at 2080 Baseball:

In place of the long list of Draft Prospects You Should Know with story links that usually resides here, just click the “Draft Prospects You Should Know” on our page, below the main stories, to access a list of every player so far profiled.