On September 28th, Fox Sports Arizona tweeted the following about Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin:
Did we just watch Patrick Corbin’s last pitches in a D-backs uniform? We hope not 🙁 pic.twitter.com/X3OWsjuJMM
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) September 29, 2018
While the Diamondbacks pray Corbin stays, every other team in Major League Baseball salivates through the window while dangling massive checks freshly signed in black ink. The 29 year-old is coming off of a career year, and now he heads to free agency where there will be no shortage of teams ready to empty their pockets to sign him. I mean, look at this filth (side note these jerseys will never not be sweet):
Patrick Corbin’s Friday night:
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 4, 2018
The Minnesota Twins have been linked to Corbin, as well as several of the top free agents available this offseason, and the assumption is that they will be active in trying to improve the roster. The addition of Corbin would go a long way towards this Twins team getting back into the conversation in the American League. But is it feasible for the Twins? Would Corbin be successful in the American League? It’s time to find out:
Corbin has had injuries in the past. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2014. Every pitcher that has Tommy John (all of them, right?) goes through a rough patch after the surgery, as they rebuild their arm strength. Corbin conquered his post-Tommy John struggles by moving to the bullpen and changing up his pitching repertoire. Outside of TJ surgery, which every pitcher now gets by the age of 28 I’m pretty sure, Corbin has been relatively healthy throughout his career beyond some random ailments (dead arm phase at the beginning of the season last year and getting hit by a ball in an April start) that every player goes through.
Corbin is the prototypical left-handed starter. He possesses great secondary stuff to compliment his fastball. His slider is absolute filth and 195 strikeouts on that pitch alone last year is proof of that.
Who needs fastballs these days?
Patrick Corbin’s slider is about to get him paid. He’ll be one of the first marquee free agent starters for whom secondary stuff comes first. How fitting for today’s MLB.
— David Adler (@_dadler) October 17, 2018
Here is a great example of his ability to undress and embarrass right-handed hitters down and in:
Patrick Corbin’s Slider was doing work again last night. Here he fans Javier Baez en route to a 7K evening. pic.twitter.com/9TSrsvBlmZ
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) September 18, 2018
I mean, even a great hitter like Anthony Rizzo had no chance to hit this (being left-handed didn’t help):
Patrick Corbin, Filthy 84mph Slider. ?[Note: Rizzo chokes up to “just put the ball in play” with two strikes. ?? Maybe it’s just not that easy?] pic.twitter.com/DSGhvGd8LL
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 18, 2018
As with any pitcher who goes through Tommy John surgery (all of them), a drop in fastball velocity is to be expected. Corbin sits more at 91-93 MPH these days but his uncanny ability to locate with all of his movement means he still misses bats on the regular. Plus, the intangibles and fundamentals are there. His very easy windup doesn’t change when he throws the slider and when you can surprise hitters with a pitch this disgusting…. you make cool people look not-cool.
Patrick Corbin, 92mph Fastball and 83mph Slider, Overlay/Slow. pic.twitter.com/tuKOV02z8Y
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2018
Patrick Corbin, 81mph Slider & 92mph Fastball, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/brUboQwl0X
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 23, 2018
Patrick Corbin, 91mph Fastball (foul) and 83mph Slider (swinging K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/vw3Ue9AFk0
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 2, 2018
Corbin’s changeup has been a work in progress over the years. Early in his career, he threw it between 80-83 MPH. He beefed it up to 85-87 MPH in 2016 but then tamed it back down in 2017, lobbing it in around 83 MPH again. The ability to change speeds like this has helped the changeup compliment Corbin’s slider but it’s definitely more of a setup pitch than anything else. Corbin dominated hitters when ahead in the count, holding them to a .141 batting average last year in those situations. Have I sold you yet?
And as for the dreaded NL to AL switch? Corbin pitched to a 7-5 record and 3.47 ERA at Chase Field, one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball. His road numbers were 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA. Safe to say I think he would be just fine at Comerica Park, Guaranteed Rate Field, Kauffman Stadium and Progressive Field. Corbin, last year, went 5-4 with a 3.07 ERA against teams with a record of .500 or better so he can handle big games too.
Will Pohlad write the check?
They fucking better.
We have seen how this story ends. The Twins in the past have promised to “go get people” and they end up with Livan Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson, Kevin Correia (yeah, yeah, yeah he had one good-ish year) Mike Pelfrey, Phil Hugues (I am aware he also had one good year) Tim Stauffer, RICKY NOLASCO (the bane of my existence), need I go on?
Up until this deal I hope the Twins strike with Corbin, the biggest deal the Twins have EVER given to a pitcher was the $55 million deal Ervin Santana signed with the team as a free agent. Falvey and Levine have a real shot here to grab a guy that will pan out. If you want people (like me) to follow this team past May, GO GET YOUR GUY. Reverse the trends of the past. Spend money. Don’t do what we expect you to do. GIVE ME A REASON TO BELIEVE! If I have to watch another Pelfrey-type grind it out for 5 innings every 5th day I’m going to grind out my eyeballs.
Needless to say, WHATEVER THE PRICE (and it’ll be a lot) the Twins need to back up the truck and slot Corbin into their rotation with Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi. You can never have too much pitching, so go get Rocco Baldelli another starter to work with!
Seth Toupal – Follow @sethtoups
Minnesota Sports Fan