One thing teams can’t get enough of is left-handed pitching. The Arizona Diamondbacks have a formidable duo of southpaws at the top of their rotation, Patrick Corbin and Wade Miley. Corbin had a breakout season with the snakes in 2013, becoming a first-time All-Star in the process.
The Diamondbacks play in Chase Field, which can be terrible for pitchers. Corbin is able to counter the home run-friendly park thanks in large part to the excellent sinker he possesses. His sinker averages around 92 mph. The rest of his repertoire includes a 92 mph fastball, a slider and a changeup. His changeup is effective because it only averages about 81 mph, effectively allowing him to change speeds.
In 2012, Corbin made his MLB debut, pitching 107 innings with a 4.54 ERA. It wasn’t until last season, however, that Corbin really made a name for himself.
An All-Star in 2013, Corbin pitched to a 3.41 ERA in 208.1 innings for the Diamondbacks. His peripheral numbers weren’t great, but they were certainly decent. He had a modest 7.69 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. The keys to Corbin’s success, however, were his 46.7 ground ball percentage and 0.82 HR/9. He was helped out by a slightly lucky .283 BABIP against him, but his 3.43 FIP suggests that his performance was hardly luck-based.
Due to his decent peripherals and his FIP being extremely similar to his ERA, there aren’t really any numbers suggesting a regression from Corbin in 2014. His sinker is clearly effective at inducing ground balls, so he is able to avoid giving up many home runs despite his hitter-friendly home ballpark. He doesn’t even hurt himself by walking more hitters than the average pitcher.
If his ERA does spike a bit, it likely won’t be by much. If it does inflate to around 3.80 or 3.90, it will likely be due to a slightly higher HR/9. These are things that can fluctuate on a yearly basis.