Patrick Corbin Has Stronghold on Fifth Rotation Spot


Patrick Corbin continues to impress as he shut down the Seattle Mariners in Tuesday’s spring training match up in Peoria, Arizona. Corbin started the game, completing four innings of four hit ball while allowing just one run in what was his longest outing of the spring. The lefty didn’t surrender a walk for the first time in his four outings.

Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin (46) throws during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Hohokam Park. Image: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The 23 year old is battling both Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado for the fifth spot in the Diamondbacks rotation and with two weeks left to fill that role, Corbin is leading his competition pretty handily. He hasn’t allowed a run in eight of his ten innings of work and aside from his one inning of relief against Kansas City in which he surrendered three quick base runners before serving up a first pitch grand slam to Alex Gordon, he has been as efficient as anyone on the staff.

Many D’backs fans will remember a similar spring last season in which Corbin was relatively unknown heading into camp with names like Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs there. However, the upstate New York native stymied opposing hitters all spring with an impressive .178 opposing batting average in 21 innings pitched while striking out 20. As it turned out, the final rookie pitcher in camp wasn’t Bauer or Skaggs but Corbin.

When Josh Collmenter struggled mightily at his starting role last April, Corbin was the first of the three to see major league action and throughout 2012 pitched well completing 107 innings in all- more than three times what either Skaggs or Bauer saw.

Should we really be surprised that Corbin is leading the way once again in 2013? Sure, everyone seems to want and hope that Skaggs will be our guy as he is a first rounder from 2009 and listed in the top 10 for all of major league baseball in prospects to watch. Unfortunately, as of now, the 21 year old has struggled through each of his first two outings surrendering a combined nine runs in just 6.1 innings.

Delgado, on the other hand, was slated as the number five starter for the Atlanta Braves before getting packaged in the Upton trade. He saw nearly as much MLB time as Corbin with 92.2 innings in 2012 posting similar statistics overall although Corbin’s strikeout to walk ratio was much more encouraging (3.44 to just 1.81 for Delgado).

In his first stint with the D’backs, Delgado has seen action twice thus far with polarizing results. In his first spring start the right hander was smacked around for five runs on six hits in just a single inning of work but in his next appearance he was able to complete a pair of innings against the Texas Rangers while giving up just one run. The 23 year old Panama native is expected to see additional action in the next couple days.

If it’s a matter of who gives us the best chance to win right now in 2013 the obvious winner is Patrick Corbin for the fifth spot in the rotation. The team can only hope that all three of these pitchers will continue to improve and make this their hardest decision of the spring. With Delgado and Skaggs, the organization knows they have two pitchers who can compete at the major league level as well, providing quality starting pitching options within their system that other teams just do not have the luxury of.