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D-backs’ GM says Patrick Corbin is the staff’s ace

LISTEN: Kevin Towers, D-backs' General Manager

Patrick Corbin has certainly pitched like the ace of the Arizona Diamondbacks over the season’s first two months. In fact, he’s been arguably the best and most consistent starting pitcher in the majors.

D-backs general manager Kevin Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Wednesday that Corbin has unequivocally earned the title of staff ace with his impressive performance in 2013.

“I’d have to say that’s Patrick Corbin, the way he’s thrown the ball,” Towers said. “He’s probably one of the premier pitchers, not just in the National League, but in baseball right now. I think every start we’ve won and that’s kind of the sign of a true ace.”

The 23-year-old left-hander boasts a 7-0 record with a sterling 1.44 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. His ERA ranks second in MLB behind Los Angeles Dodgers hurler Clayton Kershaw (1.35). He’s also thrown six-plus innings, giving up two runs or less, in nine straight starts.

Corbin has also gone toe-to-toe with some of the league’s top aces, and has often gotten the better of the duels.

“He’s beaten Kershaw,” Towers stated. “He’s beaten some of the aces with other clubs and he’s holding his velocity and is just one of those guys when every fifth day when he takes the rubber we feel real good.”

The D-backs have found that reliable arm in Corbin this season, and Towers listed numerous reasons why he feels his young left-hander has been able to sustain his success.

“A) He’s got youth on his side,” Towers explained. “B) Baseball is relatively new to him. He was kind of a basketball player in high school, hasn’t thrown a lot of innings. He’s got incredible confidence, a good head, believes in his stuff, believes in himself. I think he’s at a point now where he feels he belongs.”

Corbin has looked every bit the part of an ace after enduring some trying times last season.

In 2012, Corbin went 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 22 games. He often showed glimpses of brilliance, but at times struggled with his command. In 107 innings pitched, Corbin walked 25 batters. The D-backs’ southpaw also had trouble against left-handed hitters. But this season he’s limited lefties to a .106 average, a stark contrast to the .325 average they posted against him a year ago.

While all young pitchers go through growing pains, Towers thinks Corbin has come to understand that he’s here to stay.

“A lot of times the rookie players are just in survival mode and trying to be good enough just to stay in the big leagues and I think now he’s at a point to where I don’t think he has any fear of failure. If anything he maybe has a little fear of success,” Towers said.