It seems like light years ago that Patrick Corbin was merely a contender for the fifth spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting rotation in 2013.
Embroiled in a three-man competition with the highly-touted Tyler Skaggs and recently-acquired Randall Delgado, Corbin seemed to start the spring as the forgotten man in the position battle.
That was partially because of a pretty average rookie campaign in 2012 during which Corbin shuttled between Double-A Mobile, Triple-A Reno and Arizona. The left-hander went just 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 22 games (17 starts) at the big league level.
Fast forward to 2013. After pitching impressively in spring training to win the fifth spot, Corbin has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. After Monday night's win in Colorado, he's 7-0 with a 1.44 ERA and is only the second starting pitcher in 98 years to open a season with nine straight starts of six or more innings and two or less runs allowed.
His manager, Kirk Gibson, believes Corbin's frequent travels in 2012 have been key to his success this season.
"In the end, Patrick just trusted his stuff," Gibson told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Tuesday. "Honestly, him being up and down last year really helped him when he came into spring training this year -- he was very focused and confident in his abilities."
But Gibson doesn't think Corbin, who ranks second in baseball with a 1.44 ERA, was content with just breaking spring training with the big club.
"Beyond just trying to win a position, he continued to develop his repertoire and his pitches," he said. "In the end, that's what we saw and in the end that's why we made that decision."
Corbin's success has taken many by surprise this season, but Gibson isn't included in that group. In fact, the skipper said that the young southpaw nearly cracked the Opening Day roster in 2011.
"Well, I liked Corbin two years ago," he said. "Actually coming out of spring training we had discussions about it, but we thought the best thing was for him to go to the Minor Leagues and continue to develop."