Time for a change: Corbin expands arsenal

March 6th, 2021

JUPITER, Fla. -- is known for throwing his slider. This season, though, the southpaw could be adding to his arsenal with a changeup.

“If I walked into camp unaware of Patrick Corbin and his repertoire and all that type of thing, I would have just assumed that the changeup was a normal part of it -- and it’s very, very good,” pitching coach Jim Hickey said. “It's going to be a very effective pitch, and it's something that he could use a lot more.”

Corbin delivered a slider for 40.3 percent of his pitches last season, followed by his sinker (29.8%), fastball (22.3%), changeup (5.6%) and curveball (2.1%). He tossed the changeup for 60 pitches -- all to right-handers -- and yielded a .240 opponents' batting average with it.

When Corbin made his Spring Training debut on Saturday against the Marlins in a rain-shortened 5-3 win, he incorporated that pitch into his two-inning outing. He caught Brian Anderson swinging at it for a third strike in the first.

“Everyone knows I’m throwing a slider,” Corbin said after the game. “To have something else available to maybe keep them off that pitch or maybe something to show them less is kind of what we’re thinking there. It’ll be something I’ll continue to work with, and hopefully it’s a pitch that I do throw more often this season.”

Corbin threw 33 pitches (20 for strikes) in his first appearance since Sept. 24, 2020. He fanned three and allowed one run off two hits. The 31-year-old noted he was trying to work on his cutter, his slider “felt pretty good” and he was pleased with his location, including in-and-away fastballs.

“You know his stuff's always good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We felt like he was using a cutter a little bit. … He's always had that good change and that dirty slider, and they kind of work in combination. He feeds the ball both sides of the plate. So yeah, he's a guy with good stuff.”

After posting a 14-7 record in 2019, Corbin went 2-7 with a 4.66 ERA last season. While there are ways he can deepen his pitching options, he knows his effectiveness comes back to his slider. As he enters his ninth Major League season, he “always [tries] to make sure my slider’s there.” It’s not about replacing his go-to pitch, it’s about supplementing it.

“He knows exactly who he is, and he knows that he’s got to perfect the slider,” manager Dave Martinez said. “That’s his out pitch. If he can develop that changeup along with that good slider he has, that’s just another pitch that hitters have to worry about.”