In answering one of the questions facing the team as they steam toward Daniel Hudson’s next turn in the rotation, which the starter obviously will not be able to fill because he is recovering from a right shoulder impingement, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson announced Friday that long reliever Wade Miley will indeed make the start on Sunday, despite speculation to the contrary.
In addition, he also said that Josh Collmenter was not for sure going to get the ball on Monday against the Marlins, and that he may end up getting banished to the bullpen after struggling mightily during the early part of the season. He had a rough spring as well, and there was talk of him getting the boot even before then, so this news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
The question then, obviously, is who would be brought in to replace him. The free agent market for pitchers isn’t exactly teeming with possibilities, and it’s highly unlikely that the team is going to pursue a trade to replace the number five starter in their rotation. With those things in mind, the question then switches to which pitcher would be most likely to replace him in the rotation.
A cursory look at four candidates shows that two of them would unfortunately be unable to make the jump because they started games on Thursday. Barry Enright pitched on Thursday for Triple-A Reno, and Trevor Bauer did the same for Double-A Mobile, so even though either one of them would be great to insert into the rotation considering their hot starts to the season, neither one of them would be able to pitch on Monday when they are needed.
That leaves two other prime candidates, and it is going to be a tough call for the Diamondbacks to make. They can either choose Patrick Corbin, who is on their 40-man roster and is having a sparkling season, or they can call up Tyler Skaggs, who is the odds-on favorite according to some sources of baseball knowledge.
Both players came to the Diamondbacks came to the team via the Dan Haren trade with the Los Angeles Angels.
This season, Corbin has been lights out, going 2-0 and posting a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings pitched. He has also struck out 25 batters while only walking eight en route to a very respectable WHIP of 1.11. He looks as though he has improved quite a bit over a year ago, when he had a 4.21 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP en route to a 9-8 record with Mobile.
Meanwhile, Skaggs has been struggling a bit, going 0-2 with an ERA of 4.24 and a WHIP of 1.24 in his first four starts in Mobile. The one thing he definitely has going for him is his high strikeout rate, with 34 K’s equally a K/9 innings of over 13. He has also only walked five hitters, so his control has been precise.
While some experts think that Skaggs will be the guy, the smart money would be on Corbin at this point. He may not have the gaudy strikeout totals that Skaggs does, but he has been on the farm a bit longer, and that extra seasoning combined with his nice start to the season should be enough for the Diamondbacks to call him up.
Needless to say, they can’t really make a decision that would be outright wrong here, so Kevin Towers and company have a small bit of comfort in that knowledge.