Top 20 Volcanoes players of all time: #9 Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia played for the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies over his 13-year MLB career (Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports).

At #9 on the Keizertimes list of the top 20 Volcanoes players of all time is Kevin Correia, a right-handed pitcher from San Diego, CA. who played in the big leagues for 13 seasons.

After high school, Correia attended Grossmont Junior College, then transferred to Cal Poly for his final three seasons of college ball. Correia’s 11 wins for Cal Poly in 2002 is tied for fourth all-time in a season at the school.

Correia was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. He debuted with the Volcanoes that summer and posted a 2-2 record with a 4.54 ERA in 37.2 innings. He was promoted to Double-A the following season where he went 6-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts.

Later on in the 2003 season, Correia was moved up from Double-A to Triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies. In three starts, he was 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and to go along with his 23 strikeouts.

Because the Giants were struggling with injuries and depth in their pitching rotation, Correia got his call to the big leagues on July 10, 2003, making him the first player from the 2002 draft class to reach the MLB.

Correia experienced immediate success with the Giants, going 3-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 10 games — seven of which were starts. But after struggling in spring training in 2004, Correia was sent back down to Triple-A.

Correia split time between the Triple-A and the big leagues during the 2004 and 2005 seasons before getting the opportunity to play his first full MLB season in 2006. He was used exclusively out of the bullpen and posted a 2-0 record with a 3.49 ERA in 48 appearances.

After spending the first four months of the 2007 season in the bullpen, Correia got moved up to the starting rotation. In seven starts, Correia posted a 1.80 ERA over 40 innings.

However, his success as a starter at the conclusion of the 2007 season did not translate to the following year as Correia went 3-8 with a 6.05 ERA over 110 innings in 2008. The Giants elected not to re-sign Correia at the end of the season, making him a free agent.

Before the beginning of the 2009 season, Correia signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. He made the opening day roster, but struggled early in the season as his ERA rose above 5.00. However, when San Diego pitching coach Darren Balsley made tweaks to Correia’s delivery, the young righty started making some significant strides in his development.

After injuries sidelined the Padres two top starters Jake Peavy and Chris Young, Correia became the ace of the staff. He finished the season with his first winning record (12-11), which led the team, and had the lowest ERA on the squad among starting pitchers (3.91). He also threw a career-high of 198 innings.

On Sept. 25 2009, Correia threw his first complete-game shutout against the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving up six hits and striking out seven. In the offseason, Correia re-signed with the Padres, a one-year, $3 million deal.

Early into the 2010 season, Correia experienced immense heartbreak when his 21-year old brother passed away after a hiking accident on May 8, 2010.

“I would quit baseball right now to have him back. Nothing will be able to compare to that,” Correia said about his brother in an 2010 interview.

Despite the grief he experienced, Correia threw 145 innings and won 10 games, but the Padres just missed out on clinching the National League (NL) West division title.

In 2011, Correia became a free agent and inked a two-year, $8 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was announced as the team’s opening day starter.

For the first two months of the season, Correia led all of MLB in wins with eight. The following month, he was selected to his first ever all-star game after having 11 starts where he gave up two earned runs or fewer. Correia ended the season with a team-high in wins (12).

For the third time in his career, Correia ended the season with a 12-11 record in 2012 — he also lowered his ERA to 4.21.

On Aug. 19, 2012, Correia made history by making a relief appearance in the Pirates 6-3, 19 inning marathon win against the St. Louis Cardinals, then turning around the following day and making the start for Pittsburgh. It was the first time since 1981 that a Pirates pitcher was tasked to pitch in relief, then start the next day.

Correia signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013 as a free agent, making it the first time he would be pitching in the American League (AL). It was a $10 million deal over two years.

Although it was a poor season for the Twins, who finished 30 games below .500, Correia was able to earn his spot as the ace of the staff. At age 32, he was the oldest starter on the Twins roster, but he still led the team in wins (9), starts (31) and innings pitched (185.1).

In 2014, Correia fell to #4 in the rotation as he saw his ERA raise to 4.94. After going 5-13, the Twins traded Correia to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 9, 2014. He was primarily used in a bullpen role for the Dodgers for the final two months of the season.

The 2015 season was Correia’s last in the big leagues as he bounced between three organizations in a short period of time. Correia initially signed with the Seattle Mariners, but he was released after he failed to make the opening day roster.

Correia was then picked up by the team that drafted him, the Giants, but was only in the organization for less than two months after making six appearances with the Sacramento River Cats in Triple-A.

On June 8, 2015, Correia signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. He made five appearances with the Phillies and posted a 6.56 ERA and an 0-3 record. Correia was released on July 7, 2015.

Correia finished his career with 76 MLB wins and a 4.62 ERA. He pitched a total of 1428.2 innings and struck out 906 batters. 

In 2017, Correia was inducted into the Cal Poly Hall of Fame.