Prior to the 2013 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks were projected to have one of the better starting rotations in the National League. With well established names Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, newly acquired Brandon Mccarthy, and Rookie of the Year runner-up Wade Miley, Arizona put themselves in position to keep themselves in every ballgame with a solid core of starting pitching.
The one giant question mark though was who would be the 5th starter. The two best choices in spring training was the #10 rated prospect in all of baseball, Tyler Skaggs, and reigning 5th starter Patrick Corbin. Corbin, a former 2nd round pick, was used mostly as a starting pitcher last season, while also making a few appearances from the bullpen. He didn’t really impress, as he possessed a mediocre 4.54 ERA while striking out an average of 7 batters per 9 innings. One thing that was impressive was his control at such a young age, walking only 25 hitters in 107 innings.
So it was the experience and control that gave Corbin the upper hand over the young pitching phenom Skaggs, as he found himself in the 5th starter spot to open the 2013 season. Boy oh boy does the Arizona coaching staff look like geniuses. In the midst of lackluster performances thus far by their “well established” pitchers, young Patrick has taken the league by storm. The 23 year old is a perfect 9-0 in 11 starts so far into this young season, and those 9 wins are good for best in the entire league. 5 of those wins came in the month of May, netting him the NL Pitcher of the Month award.
While his walk rate has gone up, he has shown great poise on the mound. You can attribute that to his newly developed “knuckle curve” pitch that has has started recently throwing. He has been throwing it a lot, getting hitters to induce poor contact, thus getting more outs. It also doesn’t hurt that he gets 5.36 runs per game by his offense, which is 5th best in the league. With the Diamondbacks high powered offense in full force, look for this seasons biggest pitching surprise to flirt with 20 wins by seasons end.