Monday, March 03, 2014

Patrick Corbin named Arizona opening day starter

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson announced today on the twitter machine that lefty Patrick Corbin will be the team's opening day starting pitcher. Arizona's opener is, amazingly, less than three weeks away - they have a two-game set with the Dodgers in Australia on March 22 and 23.

The 24-year-old Corbin was acquired back in 2010 in the deal for Dan Haren - which I wrote about at the time and entirely missed the boat on Corbin. At the time I called the deal a steal for the Diamondbacks, because I didn't think Corbin and fellow minor-leaguer Rafael Rodriguez would make up the difference between Haren and Joe Saunders. As it was, that didn't look crazy a year ago - Haren was excellent for the rest of 2010 and again 2011 for the Angels before starting to break down in 2012, while Saunders didn't do anything of note for Arizona. But Corbin has shown signs of blossoming into a front-line starting pitcher.

After an uneven 2012 debut in 107 innings, Corbin won his first nine decisions in 2013. While won-loss record can be misleading, it wasn't in this case - the lefty gave up two runs in six innings in his 2013 debut against Milwaukee. After that, his ERA didn't get back above 3.00 until September 17. His last three starts really inflated his season ERA - he gave up 15 runs on 23 hits in 11 1/3 innings. Any fatigue would have been understandable, as Corbin surpassed 200 innings for the first time. His excellent strikeout, walk, and home run rates indicate that it was no fluke - his 3.41 actual ERA was in-line with his 3.48 xFIP.

Even if Corbin doesn't take that step forward to become a true ace, the pride of Clay, NY has made his 2010 acquisition look astute and his doubters (me) look foolish.

View The Dunne Deal's 2014 Opening Day Starting Pitcher Tracker

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