Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
It’s still just March, yet another injury has struck a top pitcher. This time it’s to Arizona Diamondbacks’ ace Patrick Corbin.
Corbin, the D-Backs’ top pitcher, had been complaining of some “forearm stiffness”, which is never a good sign when dealing with pitchers.
Fantasy baseball owners will need to head to the waiver wire to find a replacement, as it’s likely a season-ending injury.
Corbin’s pain was real, and an MRI confirmed the worst, revealing a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). Most often this kind of injury requires Tommy John surgery, but D-Backs’ beat writer Nick Piecoro says he’ll still seek a second opinion to decide if it’s possible to rehab the injury:
Unfortunately for Corbin, surgery is usually recommended. He can certainly get advice from his teammate Daniel Hudson, who had to undergo a second elbow reconstruction after having Tommy John in July of 2012. He hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since.
Corbin was 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA and 178 K last season, his second in the league, and was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time.
Fantasy owners who took him in the middle rounds of their drafts have a couple in-house options to choose from.
Randall Delgado (100 percent available on ESPN.com) will take over Corbin’s rotation spot. Delgado was part of last off-season’s trade that sent Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves. He finished the year with a 5-7 record and a forgettable 4.26 ERA.
Because Delgado is out of minor-league options, he should be given a lengthy leash, but the available pitcher with the most upside is rookie Archie Bradley.
Bradley (5.6 percent owned), who I featured in February as one of my top fantasy sleepers this season, is widely considered to be the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. With Delgado blocking him, Bradley may not get called up for a month or so, but for his sheer upside, he becomes a near must-add in all but the shallowest of formats
The 21-year-old compiled a 14-5 record with a 1.84 ERA and 162 K while splitting time between High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile in 2013.