Patrick Corbin is a post hype sleeper who is one of many pitchers to lose significant time to Tommy John surgery. He lost all of his 2014 season and half of 2015 to the recovery. Pre-surgery, he went 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2013 at only 24 years old. When he returned in the second half of 2015, he pitched very well but completely fell apart in 2016. In 2017, he had a bit of a bounce back with a 4.03 ERA but still a high WHIP of 1.42! I love that his ERA finished above four and his WHIP was so high. He will be overlooked in many leagues due to his final numbers and even may go un-drafted in shallow leagues. That would be a mistake.
I’ll stop talking about all the negatives and get to why I think you should draft him. He’s got one of the best sliders in the game, in fact, his slider ranks 9th in all of MLB sandwiched between Carlos Martinez and Carlos Carrasco! That’s good company. The bad news, his fastball is in the bottom three for qualified starters. OUCH Bro! However, he’s increased his slider usage (2nd most by % thrown in 2017) and decreased his fastball usage as well.
Let’s do a little digging into Corbin’s profile. In 2017 he turned in a career high Swstr % at 11% but it’s not as if he didn’t have solid SwStr rates previously (10.8% in 2015, 10.7% in 2013). Plus his velocity is back up near 93 mph which won’t blow anyone away but it’s another indicator that he’s fully healthy and the Tommy John surgery is behind him. Another aspect he’s been able to bring back is the ability to induce popups which were back up to 10%. That combined with a near elite 50% GB rate means the home runs should decrease. Home runs have been his Achilles heel but at under 30% FB rate, I’m expecting his HR/9 to drop for the 3rd straight year to around 1.1/9. Ok, so he’s getting ground balls and popups, increased his K rate by 3% and decreased his BB rate from 9% to a respectable 7%.
He’s clearly trending in the right direction and now three years removed from the surgery, and should have no restrictions on innings. Can we talk BABIP? In2017, his BABIP was .328, that’s pretty high. Here’s why: he was tied to the WHIPing Post a few too many time last season. Two of them he was BABIP’ed to death by the Brewers on the road and the Padres (of all teams) at home; the other two were road games against the Rockies and the Cubs where he gave up the gopher ball. Now I hate kicking out stats especially since he can’t avoid the Rockies at home because they are division foes but you’re likely benching him there and against the Cubs in Midsummer at Wrigley. Taking out those two games, his ratios for 2017 look like this: 3.35 ERA, 1.36 WHIP. Not too bad! Now the WHIP is high but again the BABIP should come down closer to league average couple that with a decrease in home runs and walk rate and now he’s looking like #3!
Here are my projections for 2018:
195 IP, 14 Wins, 3.62 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 184 Ks; he’s going around 250 overall and SP #70! That’s absolutely nuts especially since he did throw 189 IP in 2017 and could be a candidate to be a 200 inning horse and a #3 on your fantasy team. I’ll have to mention the humidor which would certainly help reduce home runs but no one knows if that’s actually happening this year. If it does go in, it’s only going to help Corbin.