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Corbin Carroll continues rise up D-backs farm system rankings

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Arizona’s swiss-army-knife is generating buzz as the team’s top prospect

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Workouts Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A new prospect has reached the top of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system rankings.

Outfielder Corbin Carroll, 20, has been on a steady rise since his pro debut in 2019 and has garnered recognition as the club’s top prospect heading into 2021. Baseball America ranked him as its No. 1 prospect ahead of notable outfielders Kristian Robinson and Alek Thomas. Prospects Live also ranked Carroll above Robinson in its 2021 Arizona Diamondbacks Top Prospects Rankings.

While it may generate some controversy, Carroll is worthy of earning the top spot in the system. His array of tools and elite skill set have shined since being selected 16th overall by Arizona in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Carroll generates plenty of hard contact to all fields in his balanced left-handed swing and polished approach. He barrels the ball consistently while having an advanced understanding of the strike zone. His offensive skills translated to a .299/.409/.487 line over two levels with AZL D-backs and Short-Season Hillsboro in 2019.

Don’t be fooled by his 5-foot-10 and 170-pound frame, Carroll showcased more strength and in-game power at the D-backs’ alternate site and instructional league last season. He drew rave reviews from Diamondbacks farm director Josh Barfield.

“The kid can flat out hit, he’s a special talent,” he said. “He’s one of those guys with his work ethic and skills that don’t come around very often.”

Carroll’s offensive skills may not even be his best tools at this point. His speed grades out as high as 70 to go along with plus defense in center field, giving him a safe floor while he continues to tap into more power at the plate. His strong arm and defensive instincts make him a complete package, and it’s begun to take notice.

It’s still a close race between who is the top prospect in the D-backs farm system, and you can make an argument for Robinson, Carroll or Thomas. Robinson was viewed as a top-tier prospect since 2019 with a sky-high ceiling, and much hasn’t changed. Very few prospects in baseball have Robinson’s potential and raw power at the plate, but strikeouts and hit tool concerns have raised some questions. Robinson struck out at a 29 percent clip at Kane County in 2019, as his mammoth 6-foot-3 frame makes him cover a lot of area in the strike zone. Carroll also has the advantage of playing plus defense at a premium position in center field, while Robinson is still finding his true defensive fit. He’s bounced around all three outfield spots in the minors, but his lack of arm strength and size may limit him to left field at the major league level.

Regardless, the D-backs have a talented trio of outfielders developing into one of the best farm systems in the game. Carroll’s bevy of tools and consistent production has put him at the top from several publications to begin the 2021 season.