Prospect of the Day: Patrick Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
When the Arizona Diamonbacks demoted Josh Collmenter, his replacement in the starting rotation wasn't Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs, but rather Patrick Corbin. Although he hasn't received as much attention as his organization-mates, Corbin is a fine prospect in his own right and deserves more notice than he's received. Let's fix that.
Patrick Corbin was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the second round in 2009, from Chipola Junior College in Florida. Considered projectable if inconsistent when drafted, he posted a 5.05 ERA in 12 starts for Orem in the Pioneer League after signing, giving up 59 hits in 46 innings but also posting a solid 46/11 K/BB. He began 2010 with nine starts with Cedar Rapids in the Low-A Midwest League, going 8-0, 3.86 with a 42/10 K/BB in 58 innings. This earned him a promotion to High-A Rancho Cucamonga in the California League, where he went 5-3, 3.88 in 11 starts with a 64/18 K/BB.
Corbin was included in the July 2010 Dan Haren trade, although he received less attention than Tyler Skaggs. He was brilliant after the trade, posting a 1.38 ERA with a 30/9 K/BB in 26 innings for Visalia. He spent all of 2011 with Double-A Mobile, giving up 172 hits while posting a 4.21 ERA in 26 starts but with a sharp 142/40 K/BB ratio in 160 innings. He made four starts for Mobile this season before his promotion, going 2-0, 1.67 with a 25/8 K/BB in 27 innings.
A lanky 6-3, 185 pound 22-year-old southpaw, Corbin threw in the upper 80s in college but is in the 88-94 range now, averaging a tick above 90. He relies on his slider as his main secondary pitch, but his changeup is respectable as well and he could use it more often than he does. He prefers to use his fastball frequently. Despite less-than-overwhelming velocity, the fastball-heavy approach works (at least against minor league hitters) due to his combination of good movement and reasonably sharp location within the zone. Although he throws across his body somewhat, he's never had a serious injury and has been very durable in pro ball.
Corbin doesn't have the superior ace potential of other Arizona prospects like Bauer, Skaggs, and Archie Bradley, but his ability to pound the strike zone makes him a good candidate for the back of the rotation. He won his first start against the Miami Marlins and further chances will certainly come.