Patterson with the Washington Nationals
|Born: August 13, 1979|
|September 18, 2000, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 2011, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||431|
Donald Corey Patterson (born August 13, 1979) is an American former professional baseball center fielder. Currently, he is the head coach of the Brookhaven Bucks in the Sunbelt Baseball League. He is the older brother of outfielder Eric Patterson, and the son of former NFL defensive back Don Patterson.
Patterson attended Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, and helped Harrison win the Georgia state championship as a senior in 1998. That year, he had a batting average of .528 with 81 runs scored, 22 home runs, 61 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 38 games. Patterson was named to the Baseball America and USA Today first-team All-America teams, and was selected by USA Baseball as its Amateur Player of the Year and as the Baseball Coaches Association's co-national high school Player of the Year. Patterson was also named a Baseball America second-team selection after his junior season.
Patterson was selected by the Chicago Cubs as the third overall pick in the 1998 Major League Baseball draft. He made his professional debut in 1999 with the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class-A Midwest League, and was selected as that league's "Prospect of the Year" after leading the league in slugging percentage (.592), extra base hits (72) and triples (17). He also batted .320 with 20 homers and 79 RBI, and was named to the league's all-star team both at mid-season and postseason. Baseball America named Patterson the league's top prospect. After the 1999 season, he played in the Arizona Fall League and was that league's youngest player. He batted .368 with 4 home runs, 24 RBI, and 8 stolen bases in 35 games, and was named to the league's all-star team.
In 2000, Patterson was promoted to the Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx of the Southern League. He was named to the league's mid-season and postseason all-star team, and was named the league's top prospect by Baseball America. Patterson batted .268 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI, finishing second in the league in home runs.
After playing in the 2000 Southern League playoffs, Patterson was called up from the minors to play for the Cubs. He made his Major League debut on September 18, 2000, against the Milwaukee Brewers. The next day Patterson recorded his first Major League hit, a home run off Juan Acevedo. He finished the 2000 season with seven hits in 42 at bats, and two home runs.
Patterson did not start playing a full season until 2002, when he finished with a .253 batting average. In 2003, he batted .298 with 55 RBI in only 83 games before injuring his knee while running to first on a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Patterson played 157 games in 2004, with a .266 batting average, 24 home runs, and 72 RBI in 631 at-bats. His on-base plus slugging of .771, while only average, is his best of the six seasons in which he played more than 83 games. He had the lowest range factor (2.18) among all starting Major League center fielders in 2004.
In the 2005 season Patterson did not do well. On July 7, he was sent down to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. The demotion came after the Cubs had lost a season-high eight games in a row. Published reports indicated that center fielder Félix Pie, the Cubs' top prospect, was slated to be called up from Double-A West Tenn in July when Patterson was sent down.
Patterson was back up with the Major League team on August 9, after his one-month stint in Triple-A Iowa.
Patterson was traded by the Cubs to the Orioles on January 9, 2006, for Class-A Minor league players Nate Spears and Carlos Perez. On February 10, 2007 Patterson signed a 1-year deal worth $4.3 million to avoid arbitration. In his first of two years with the Orioles, he batted .276 with 16 home runs and 53 RBI. He also stole 45 bases, which ranked third in the American League. Patterson's contract was not renewed after the 2007 season.
On March 3, 2008, the Cincinnati Reds signed Patterson to a minor league contract. At the end of Spring training, he was added to the 40-man roster.Dusty Baker, manager of the Reds and Patterson's manager in Chicago, was instrumental in signing Patterson. Baker often voiced his opinion on Patterson saying he thought Patterson is still a developing player.
Patterson was invited to the Reds' spring training camp, and he started the 2008 season in center field for Cincinnati. Platooning with utility man Ryan Freel, Patterson began the season well. Gradually his average deteriorated, culminating in an 0-8 performance during Cincinnati's 18-inning loss to San Diego on May 25. The following day top outfield prospect Jay Bruce was called up from the Triple-A Louisville Bats to start in center field, demoting Patterson to the Reds' bench. On May 28, Patterson accepted a reassignment to Triple-A Louisville. The demotion lasted only one week, however, when Patterson was recalled to replace Ryan Freel, who went to the disabled list with a strained right hamstring on June 4. Patterson ended the season with a .205 batting average and .238 OBP.
On December 18, 2008, Patterson signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Washington Nationals.
Due to Josh Willingham being placed on the bereavement list, Patterson had his contract purchased from the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs on June 13, 2009. He hit .302, with six home runs and 23 RBIs in a 39 games with the Chiefs, but hit only .133 with 2 stolen bases in 5 games for the Nationals. He was reassigned to Triple-A on June 20, 2009. He was released by the Nationals on July 29, 2009.
Patterson signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on August 1, 2009. Patterson hit well with the AAA affiliate Nashville Sound, batting .331 with a .963 OPS over 29 games and 124 at-bats. However, he struggled with the parent club, where his BA, OBP, and SLG were all .071 over 11 games and 14 at-bats.
Patterson signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners on December 9, 2009. However, he opted out of his contract on March 31, 2010 after being informed he had not made the Major League team.
On April 21, 2010, Corey agreed to re-join the Orioles on a 1-year minor league deal. He was promoted to the Orioles on May 12, 2010
On July 9, 2010, Patterson hit his first career grand slam against the Texas Rangers. It was a remarkable feat as Patterson faced the season's eventual saves leader and rookie of the year in the hard throwing Neftalí Feliz, with a 2-2 count and two outs in the top of the 9th inning representing the tying run. Patterson drilled his pitch over the right field fence to tie the game at 6. Jake Fox hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th for the game winner.
On December 21, 2010, Patterson signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays. He began the season on the Major League roster, but on the disabled list because of a head injury. Patterson made his regular season debut as a Blue Jay on April 11, 2011 against the Seattle Mariners, hitting a home run and finishing the night 2-4 with 2 RBI
On January 30, 2012, Patterson signed a minor league contract to return to the Brewers organization. He played 117 games for Nashville Sounds, the AAA team of the Brewers, batting .251 with 39 RBI in 390 plate appearances. For the first season since his Major League debut, he did not play in the Major Leagues.
Patterson signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees on June 21, 2013. He elected free agency on November 4, 2013.