- Rating: 7.37
- Age: 22
- 2022 Stats: 115 PA, .260/.330/.500 = .830 OPS, 133 OPS+, 1.2 bWAR
- 2022 Earnings: Minimum
- 2023 Status: Minimum (rookie status intact)
At the beginning of the 2022 season, there were some concerns about Carroll After all, he was returning from shoulder surgery that could impact his ability to drive the ball with authority. Carroll quickly put those concerns to bed. Rather than the surgery sapping him of his power stroke, it did what it was supposed to do (fix a bum muscle), without any of the scary long-term side-effects. Opening the season in AA-Amarillo, Corbin put together quite the highlight reel. He hit for power (16 home runs in 58 games). He played elite outfield defense. He stole bases at will. In short, he played as loud as possible, moving his way up the prospect rankings.
This earned Carroll a mid-season promotion to AAA-Reno.
#9️⃣— Reno Aces (@Aces) December 25, 2022
Corbin Carroll wastes absolutely no time making an impact for the Aces, as he throws out the go-ahead run in extra innings of his FIRST Triple-A Game (he also homered), leading to an Aces win and play 9️⃣@corbin_carroll | @MiLB | @Dbacks pic.twitter.com/G5OxHJlCdQ
The Aces could out together a 20-minute montage of Carroll highlights. Eventually, Mike Hazen and Co. ran out of excuses and made Carroll a late-season call-up. Again, Carroll did not disappoint.
Carroll made his MLB debut on August 29th against Philadelphia. He went 1-for-5 with a double.
He started again the next night and had his first multi-hit game, including a second double. A week later, Carroll finally connected for his first MLB home run. This one came against San Diego co-ace, Yu Darvish.
Carroll was a fixture in the outfield the rest of the way. Almost nightly, one of Carroll, Thomas, or Varsho would find a way to give the fans a web gem. Carroll found ways to excite in the field, on the base paths, and at the plate. Sometimes, he would combine these. This was on full display as Carroll seized hold of the mantle of MLB’s fastest player on the evening of October 3rd when he set the record for fastest home-to-third speed since the tracking began in 2020.
If there was anything to question about Carroll’s dynamic 2022 season, it was his performance against left-handed pitching at the MLB level. Currently, there is quite a drop-off from his stats against right-handed pitching. However, that platoon split comes from the smallest of sample sizes. It is a minor concern to be sure. But the issue was far overshadowed by his outstanding performance in all other areas of the game.
2023 and Beyond
With the recent trade of Daulton Varsho, Carroll stands poised to become the new face of the franchise. His dynamic, hair-on-fire play and the excitement it brings should help drive some fan enthusiasm in the direction of Arizona in 2023. As mentioned above, Carroll retains his rookie eligibility. This is important for Arizona, as Carroll is widely considered to be a front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. If he can secure that hardware, then the Diamondbacks would reap the further benefit of an extra draft pick in the 2024 draft, in addition to the extra wins Carroll provided en route to the award.
The biggest questions regarding Carroll moving forward are:
- Where will he play in the outfield?
- Will Carroll hit lefties well enough to not become a full-time platoon player?
The answer to the first is likely that Carroll will play left field. Although Carroll’s skills lend themselves to playing a top-tier center field as well. Alek Thomas’s performance may go a long way to dictating just where Carroll plays.
The answer to the second question will take time to learn. Hopefully, Carroll gets plenty of opportunity versus left-handed pitching through July before any sort of decisions are made in that regard.
What does seem safe to assume is that, of all the potential outfielders for 2023, Carroll should be leading the pack in playing time. As things currently stand, there is just no other player on the current roster capable of making an impact player on either side of the ball as much as Carroll potentially does.
Fans of the Diamondbacks should be looking for Carroll to be a cornerstone of the next competitive team this franchise fields.