Jul 08, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Just six years ago, Patrick Corbin was toeing the mound for the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team, harboring big dreams, but perhaps not imagining how quickly they would come true.
Now Corbin has emerged as the ace of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, and was rewarded with a spot in next Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Citi Field in Queens, home of the New York Mets.
That game will fall just three days shy of Corbin’s 24th birthday, and much has happened in the years since Corbin graduated from C-NS, having never lost a decision in two years on the varsity Northsars, going 140
Starting out at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, Corbin played two sports – baseball and basketball – but quickly gained attention on the diamond, and transferred to Chipola College, on the Florida panhandle.
Continuing to pitch well at Chipola, Corbin, as a tall (6-foot-3), capable left-hander, became a valuable prospect, and in June 2009 the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim selected him in the second round of the MLB Draft, so Corbin decided to forego a transfer to Southern Mississippi and turned pro.
During 2010, Corbin went 13-3 in two Class A stops (Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga). But the Angels, looking to reach the post-season in 2010, traded Corbin before he could move further up the ranks, sending him to Arizona in the Dan Haren deal.
Corbin spent the entire 2011 season in Class AA, with the Southern League’s Mobile Bay Bears, where he only went 9-8, but led the league in strikeouts (142) as the Bears won the league championship.
Invited to the Diamondbacks’ spring training camp in 2012, Corbin impressed, but still began the season back in Mobile. Then, on April 30, when Josh Collmenter was moved to Arizona’s bullpen, Corbin got called up to the major leagues, where he won his first start against the Miami Marlins.
Staying the rest of the 2012 season, Corbin finished with a 6-8 mark, a 4.54 earned run average and 86 strikeouts in 107 innings. In other words, it was a solid rookie season, but offered no hint as to how dominant Corbin would become in 2013.
Not expected to emerge as the Diamondbacks’ ace, Corbin quickly assumed that mantle this spring, winning his first nine decisions, all by June 2, and leading Arizona to the top of the National League West division standings. The highlight was a complete-game effort May 20 against Colorado, where Corbin allowed just three hits and struck out 10.
Following that 9-0 start, Corbin went without a decision for five consecutive outings, covering a full month, before taking his first loss last Tuesday – ironically, against the Mets at Citi Field. Then he bounced back Sunday, beating Colorado to improve to 10-1 just a day after his All-Star selection.
Having pitched 123 2/3 innings this season, Corbin has a 2.40 ERA, fifth in the National League, and has recorded 99 strikeouts against 31 walks allowed – a K/BB ratio of better than three to one.
And now Corbin gets to come back to Queens to potentially pitch in front of lots of friends and family, just as he did when he faced the New York Yankees (the team he grew up cheering for) on April 18 at Yankee Stadium.
One thing Corbin didn’t get at C-NS, though, was a state championship – something his younger sister, Kelly, earned as a senior playing for the softball Northstars last month.
The most remarkable part is that Corbin is one of two National League All-Stars with Central New York roots. Baldwinsville’s Jason Grilli, a career journeyman before he emerged as the top closer for the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates this spring, is making his All-Star debut, too.