For the second straight season, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be sending one of their prized southpaws to the All-Star Game.
On Saturday, Major League Baseball released its official All-Star selections, selecting pitcher Patrick Corbin and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to represent the Diamondbacks for the National League side.
Last season, the Diamondbacks’ lone All-Star representative was rookie Wade Miley.
Like Miley in 2012, Corbin’s selection to the team was unforeseen at the outset of the season. Miley was the last player to make the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster in his All-Star year, slated as the team’s long reliever. Corbin had to survive, and win, a No. 5 starter gauntlet during spring training — earning the spot over teammates Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado — just to make the major league roster.
When Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers reported to Salt River Fields, the 23-year-old Corbin was widely considered the underdog in the competition for the last spot in the starting rotation; Skaggs was seen as the favorite. But the left-hander maneuvered his way through the Cactus League, and April, May and June of the regular season, without losing a start.
Now he’ll be representing the team whose roster he fought to make in MLB’s exhibition of its best talent.
“I just wanted to get off to a hot start wherever I went (to start the season),” Corbin said when reflecting on his season’s journey thus far. “Fortunately I made the team out of spring training, got off to a good start and kept it going.”
Corbin was undefeated until his second to last start, on July 2, which was ironically at Citi Field — the site of this season’s Midsummer Classic. Also, until then, the Diamondbacks had lost just one of Corbin’s previous 16 starts.
The unexpected progression of Corbin’s season elicits memories of Miley’s emergence last season.
Despite only making the Diamondbacks’ 25-man roster because of an injury to reliever Takashi Saito, Miley was 6-1 with a 2.41 ERA by the end of May. And his first half wasn’t a bout of isolated magic. The southpaw finished the season as the runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year, with the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper taking the honors.
Corbin is on a similar trajectory, though he lost his rookie status last season, pitching 107 innings for the Diamondbacks in a handful of big league stints.
While he said he grew up watching All-Star Games, Corbin never imagined, even dreamed, he’d one day be playing in one.
“I never thought in a million years I’d be an All-Star, or even play professional baseball,” he said.
Indeed, he was projected by most to start his season in Reno and by none to be in New York at the season’s break, but on July 16, Patrick Corbin will be in his home state among baseball’s brightest stars.