Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, and Zack Godley were the Diamondbacks starters who drew the heaviest adoration during fantasy baseball draft season, but Patrick Corbin has out-pitched all three -- and just about every other starter in MLB.
Corbin struck out eight batters and allowed just one walk and one hit over nine scoreless innings in the Diamondbacks’ 1-0 victory over the Giants on Tuesday night, earning his first career shutout and notching his first complete game since 2013, when he was named a National League All-Star at age 23. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game before Brandon Belt hit a check-swing single to the left side of the over-shifted Arizona infield.
Corbin, who was the 63rd starting pitcher off the board in the average Yahoo draft this spring, now boasts a 3-0 record, 1.65 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and 37/5 K/BB ratio through 27 1/3 innings (four starts) this season. He’s trusting his highly-rated slider more than he ever has in the past and it’s yielding tremendous results. Of his 18 swing-and-misses on Tuesday versus San Francisco, 12 of them came on the slidepiece. For the season, roughly one-third of his swing-and-miss pitches have been sliders. Corbin has almost entirely abandoned his changeup, which has been his worst pitch since he made his major league debut back in 2012.
This is a big summer for Corbin, who can become a free agent five days after the 2018 World Series. It’s a free agent class that could potentially include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel, A.J. Pollock, and Brian Dozier.
Corbin, who will turn 29 years old in July, is younger than all of the pitchers on that list.
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Realmuto Rips It In Season Debut
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto hurt his back late in spring training and fell in some fantasy drafts that were conducted just before the start of the regular season, but the dynamic 27-year-old showed Tuesday in his 2018 debut why he can still be a top-three guy at baseball’s shallowest position, even with the 16-game absence.
Realmuto was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday afternoon and went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and a single, totaling four total RBI, in the Marlins’ surprising 9-1 rout of Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees on Tuesday night in the Bronx. Realmuto also played all nine innings behind the plate, guiding Jarlin Garcia, Tayron Guerrero, Drew Steckenrider, and Kyle Barraclough through eight scoreless innings before Brad Ziegler surrendered a solo homer to Miguel Andujar in the bottom of the ninth. (Fantasy owners seeking waiver-wire saves might want to make note of Ziegler’s early-season struggles, relative to the dominant early-season numbers of Steckenrider and Barraclough).
Realmuto batted .290/.337/.440 with 28 home runs, 113 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and 128 runs scored in 278 games between the 2016-2017 seasons. Sure, he’s on a Marlins team that got ripped apart this winter, but there’s already talk here in mid-April about a contender moving to acquire him.
Getting out of the poor hitting environment in Miami would boost Realmuto’s fantasy stock even further.
Taijuan Diagnosed With UCL Injury
Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker quietly had a breakout year in 2017, delivering a 3.49 ERA and 146 strikeouts over 28 starts covering 157 1/3 innings. And he was off to a decent start here in 2018, boasting a 3.46 ERA through three outings. But it’s going to be a while before he pitches again.
Walker was placed on the disabled list Monday with discomfort in his forearm and an MRI taken Tuesday showed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. He’ll head to New York for a second opinion on Wednesday, but this sort of thing often leads to Tommy John elbow surgery.
The primary candidates to replace Walker in the Diamondbacks’ rotation are Braden Shipley and Matt Koch. Shipley holds a 5.40 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 61/43 K/BB ratio in 95 career innings (14 starts, nine relief appearances) at the major league level, but the former No. 15 overall pick has posted a 1.56 ERA and 14 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings (three starts) this season with Triple-A Reno. Koch has primarily worked as a reliever in the bigs, but he tossed six scoreless innings in his first start of the year at Reno. NL-only fantasy leaguers may want to pay attention to whom the Diamondbacks choose to call up when they next need a fifth starter this Friday.
National League Quick Hits: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted Tuesday that Justin Turner (wrist) has yet to swing a bat … Johnny Cueto (ankle) returned from the disabled list Tuesday and struck out 11 batters over seven scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks, dropping his season ERA to 0.45 … Chad Bettis lowered his season ERA to 1.44 following 7 1/3 shutout innings in Tuesday's victory over the Pirates … Anthony Rendon (toe) remained out of the Nationals' lineup Tuesday against the Mets … Kenley Jansen blew his second save of the season on Tuesday night against the Padres … Jake Lamb (shoulder) is scheduled to play third base in an extended spring training game on Wednesday … Trea Turner went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and a steal in the Nationals' win over the Mets on Tuesday … Eric Thames hit his sixth homer to account for both Brewers runs in a 2-0 win over the Reds on Tuesday … Eugenio Suarez (thumb) has begun taking groundballs and gripping a bat with his left hand … Scott Schebler (elbow) could be activated from the disabled list as early as Wednesday … Evan Longoria was scratched from the Giants' lineup Tuesday due to a lingering ankle injury and is expected to miss at least a couple of games … Rockies closer Wade Davis had a perfect ninth inning Tuesday versus the Pirates to notch his eighth save of the season … Josh Hader picked up his second two-inning save Tuesday in the Brewers’ defeat of the Reds … Jason Vargas (hand) is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start on Sunday … Bud Norris recorded five outs to nail down a save in the Cardinals' victory over the Cubs on Tuesday … Travis d'Arnaud underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Tuesday morning … Ben Zobrist was scratched from the Cubs' starting lineup on Tuesday due to back tightness … Nationals placed outfielder Brian Goodwin on the 10-day disabled list with a left wrist contusion … Devin Mesoraco left Tuesday's game against the Brewers with a bruised right wrist … Phillies setup man Tommy Hunter (hamstring) began a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A Clearwater … Luiz Gohara (ankle) allowed five runs -- one earned -- over 3 1/3 innings Tuesday in his first rehab start with Double-A Mississippi … Brewers left-hander Boone Logan (triceps) is expected to resume throwing off a mound later this week … Aaron Blair, a former supplemental first-round pick of the Braves, underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday … Dodgers acquired right-hander Ariel Hernandez from the Reds for reliever Zach Neal and first base prospect Ibandel Isabel.
American League Quick Hits: Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday that he has considered dropping Giancarlo Stanton down the lineup … Mookie Betts belted three solo homers and drew two walks as the Red Sox routed the Angels on Tuesday night in Anaheim … Shohei Ohtani was removed after two innings Tuesday night against the Red Sox after developing a blister on his pitching hand …Rays placed infielder Matt Duffy on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain … Xander Bogaerts (ankle) hit on the field Tuesday evening at Angel Stadium … … Byron Buxton was scratched from the Twins' lineup Tuesday against the Indians because of a migraine and might also sit out Wednesday … Lance McCullers turned in his best start of the year on Tuesday night against the Mariners, allowing just one hit over seven innings of one-run ball while striking out 11 … Miguel Cabrera left Tuesday night's game against the Orioles with lower back tightness but is expected to play Wednesday … Jurickson Profar has been diagnosed with a mild concussion … Trevor Cahill worked seven innings of scoreless ball, striking out eight, in his regular-season debut Tuesday as the Athletics beat the White Sox … Yankees placed setup man Tommy Kahnle on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 16, with right shoulder tendonitis … Victor Martinez swatted a two-run home run for his first longball of the season in Tuesday's win over the Orioles … Matt Moore picked up his first win after holding the Rays to just an unearned run over seven innings on Tuesday … Ben Gamel (oblique) is scheduled to play one more rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday night … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday that top prospect Gleyber Torres is dealing with mid-back tightness … Ryon Healy (ankle) is expected to begin a rehab assignment within the next couple of days … Yankees reliever Luis Cessa has been diagnosed with an oblique strain and will be placed on the 10-day disabled list … Daniel Norris will make a spot start in Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader against the Royals … Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that Steven Wright (knee) is nearing a minor league rehab assignment … Matt Shoemaker (forearm) hopes to resume throwing in a week or two … Athletics designated outfielder Trayce Thompson for assignment.