With my area about to buried in over a foot of snow within the next 24 hours, I need something, anything to take my mind off Winter. Fortunately, in less than five days pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Spring Training for the Arizona Diamondbacks, a perfect time for me to think about green grass, sunshine and the fate of a young pitcher. In this case, it is lefty Patrick Corbin who has been rarely mentioned amid all of the D’backs’ moves this offseason. Still only 23, Corbin might have hit a bit of a crossroads at the early juncture of his career because of the wealth of pitching in the Arizona organization.
Not too long ago, I wrote a piece about the success of the 2009 draft for the D’backs. While Corbin was drafted that year, it was not by the Snakes, rather the Los Angeles Angels who selected him in the second round. He was traded to the desert (along with Joe Saunders) on July 25, 2010, a deal in which Tyler Skaggs was the player to be named later. Although less heralded than Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, Corbin was the first of the three to make it to the Major Leagues debuting on April 30th of last year. He made a total of 22 appearances in 2012, 17 of them starts and finished with a 6-8 record and a 4.54 ERA with one save. The numbers were not resounding but were not terrible either, showing that Corbin does have a place sooner, rather than later at the big league level. With much of the pitching staff for the D’backs set, it appears as though Corbin will be battling for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Skaggs and newly-acquired Randall Delgado. Skaggs has been rated the number one prospect in the D’back chain, 10th overall in Major League Baseball. I believe he will be given every opportunity to claim that spot. The bullpen appears set as the team already features Matt Reynolds and Tony Sipp from the left side. That will most likely send Corbin back to Triple A Reno where he should be one of the first pitchers called up in case an injury sidetracks a member of the staff.
I know clubs can never have enough good pitching. Corbin showed in a number of starts last season that he has the stuff to compete in The Show. There is not much for him to prove at Reno other than to show he can be patient. Could he be put on the trading block if the team struggles to score runs? That maybe getting a little ahead of ourselves but with Kevin Towers in charge, any player can be moved.
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