Before Corey Taylor was a star reliever for Texas Tech, he was a freshman at Cisco College (Texas) trying to earn his way into Division I.
He's accustomed to the adversity that manifests itself in the daily grind toward improvement, and he thinks that will help him progress through the Mets' farm system.
For now, the Mets' seventh-round pick in 2015 is in Brooklyn, pitching for the Cyclones at MCU Park -- a venue he exaggerates is "as big as Cisco." The central Texas town, that is, not the college.
Taylor, 22, has made two appearances for the Single-A Short Season Cyclones. In two innings, he has allowed one hit and struck out two.
"I like what I see so far," pitching coach Dave LaRoche said last week.
At 6-1 and 250 pounds, Taylor said he throws a fastball, slider and changeup. His fastball, he said, sits around 92-93 mph.
"Coming out of the pen, that's all you need," he said. "I just pound the strike zone."
The development of that mentality -- and a switch to full-time reliever -- helped Taylor progress over his three seasons at Texas Tech.
As a sophomore, Taylor posted a 7.18 ERA while starting seven of his 18 appearances. He walked 23 batters in 52 2/3 innings, and opponents hit .316 against him.
Taylor's ERA fell to 2.61 in 21 games (six starts) as a junior.
As a senior, all but one of his appearances was out of the bullpen. He allowed 49 baserunners -- 13 by walk -- in 57 1/3 innings. His ERA dropped to 0.31.
"I just learned to locate the fastball both sides of the plate, throw everything for a strike, pound the zone and just have confidence in my ability," Taylor said.
That assuredness already has left an impression on the Cyclones' coaching staff.
"He seems pretty confident," LaRoche said. "He's got good enough stuff."
As Taylor works on improving his arsenal while living out of the team hotel, he'll hark back to his time at Cisco.
"At junior college, I stayed in basically an army bunk," Taylor said. "My dorm, you could touch wall to wall. The living arrangements are not that big of a deal to me. As long as I have a bed to sleep in, I get up to play baseball."