Corbin Carroll appears to be fully healed from his shoulder surgery from May of last year. After impressing during his first year of pro ball in 2019 and continuing his development at the alt site in 2020, the first round draft pick got off to a blazing start in 2021. Through the first 7 games for Hilsboro he was 10 for 23 with a double, two triples and two homers. The second homer came on May 10th. Unfortunately it was on that swing that he injured the should that would require surgery and missing the rest of the season.
That didn’t stop prospect rankers around the country from putting him atop the D-backs list of most promising young players. In early minor league camp Carroll has quickly put to rest any concerns he or the the team might have had about his readiness to resume his ascent to the major leagues. He addressed the health of his shoulder, and notably the change from a one handed follow through to two handed in great detail. Below is the full transcript of his media interview after workouts today.
HERE IS A LINK if you’d rather listen to the 11 minute interview for yourself. (Always a good choice)
Q: So Corbin, how are you feeling ?
CC: Feeling really good. Just great to be back out there. Great to have the new energy of all the guys around here again. It got lonely here ! (Laughs).
Q: When were you full go with the shoulder ?
CC: It’s probably a different question from when was I full go vs. when I could be full go. The timing of the injury, I could have pushed it a littler faster. But just decided with the medical staff here the best plan of action would just be to kind of roll up through spring training and use this time just as wisely as possible.
Q: Getting hurt so early, there was nothing to be ready for earlier than this, right ?
CC: For sure. The goal is to be ready to go in April,... not coming out of the gates firing in spring training, even though that’s definitely my personality. Definitely some lessons learned there. I’m really glad I had those right people around me to kind of reign me in.
Q: If camp were a month earlier maybe you would have been ready to go even then ?
CC: It’s felt really good for a while now. I started my swing progression in October. So at this point it’s been a good couple months. I have all the confidence in the world that I’m ready to go.
Q: Are you past the point now where you take a swing and maybe think about it at all
CC: 100%. There’s no thoughts of the shoulder anymore. And that was a really cool realization . It’s not so much swinging with the purpose of building up volume and seeing how the shoulder reacts. It’s more like mechanical stuff, just feel, stuff like that at this point.
Q: Did you take any live BP at all before you came into camp here ?
CC: Yes, I took two days of live I think the week before camp started, [about 2+ weeks ago], and this last week as well. So I think I’m up to maybe 5 live BP sessions.
Q: How exciting was that the first time you stepped back in against live pitching ?
CC: [BIG Smile !] It was so cool ! They threw me right in the fire too, they threw all their studs at me. I loved every second of it.
Q: Anecdotally it seems it takes a while for the strength to come back or the ball to come off the bat the same way. Have you heard any of that ?
CC: I think maybe more in the adaptability of the swing is the last thing to come back. But the second ball I put in play during my first live BP was 111 MPH [exit velocity]. I’ve got NO concerns about there being something missing that was there before or anything like that....That’s really a credit to the people around me honestly. Whether it was the medical staff there obviously every day. But even the guys rehabbing with me like Chris Devenski and Jordan Lawlar, just having those guys there every day to push me, it just made that process so much easier.
Q: How would you sum up the journey since you were drafted until now ? Does it feel like yesterday ?
CC: It’s interesting. I think for me I’ve had a taste of something different every year. My first year getting that first taste of rookie ball and short season. And then the year after that having the Corona Virus here, experiencing alt site, playing with some players I probably wouldn’t have played with had it been a normal year, and then last year obviously being what it was. It’s felt a little different every year, but I’m always someone who is very process oriented. At the end of the day I think I’m going to be better for having faced all these challenges.
Q: Did you make any swing changes or mechanics to try to protect the shoulder ?
CC: So I’ve been experimenting...up to this point I’ve been using a two hand finish whereas naturally as long as I can remember most of my swings have had a one handed finish. My big thought process there is that I could have gotten so wrapped up in the mechanics and the feel and thinking “ah...this doesn’t feel right”.....and tried to be super mechanical about it and make it feel the same. But the predominant though in my mind was just be an athlete. If Fernando Tatis could learn how to swing with two hands in a week I can do it in a year...[laughs].
Q: So you feel pretty good about that two handed finish now ?
CC: Yeah, I love it. I think it forces my direction to be better. Even if I do go back to a one handed swing I’ll be better for it. I’m just noticing maybe even a bit more balance. I don’t know how much of the swing path is being influenced by the finish, because it’s occuring after contact. So I’ve tried not to get too wrapped up into it and let the results of these first live BP’s speak for itself.
Even in those first months, swinging the cage and off the machine , off flips, it’s hard to really tell what it’s going to feel like until you get into that game. But it’s been really promising so far.
Q: Does the two hands help with the deceleration of swing so you’re not putting so much force on that shoulder ?
CC: Exactly...That’s really what it is. It’s the decelerating pattern . I’ve been doing a lot of work on my breaking mechanism and making sure that’s strong. Thinking across these cross facial lines [sic.. swipes across chest from shoulder down and across]. connecting the lower half and the upper half. It’s been a lot of anti rotation work, rotation to the right, as well as trying to add some mobility. It’s a fine balance of the stiffness of the shoulder and the range of motion there. Trying to find that sweet spot where I feel comfortable and have enough room to decelerate. But that shoulder is as strong as it could be, which is probably stronger than it was before.
Q: Asks for clarification on direction:
CC: So if I’m pulling off the ball with a two handed swing it’s not a good result, whereas before with a one handed swing sometimes I could get away with having the body leak a little bit and just have that one hand keep going through contact towards the center of the field [Extends had and arm outward to show motion]
Q: With the missed season do you feel like you have catching up to do ?
CC: I just feel like if I go out and play my game I’m going to prove, not really to other people but just to myself that I’m ready. I have all the confidence in the world, I just need to go out there and do it. The thing that I derive that confidence from is knowing I’ve put in the work to this point , it’s just in my DNA that it’s going to continue forward. I’ve developed all these great routines and really help me even out the highs and lows.
Q: Did being at the Alt site last year add something to your development that you might not have gotten otherwise had you been in low A ?
CC: Yes. I’d say looking back at that, there was a personal piece to that. Facing better pitchers than I normally would have. Working with higher level coaches, understanding better what would be expected at the big league level. But also learning to play with guys like Alek Thomas, guys hopefully I’m playing with for a long time. I think that was so valuable because in a normal year we probably would have been playing on two different fields. I probably would have been somewhere in California or Oregon while he was in Texas. Just super valuable learning ins and outs of playing with a guy like that. We can both go get the ball right ?, so just learning to communicate, where’s the sun, who has the better angle to throw a runner out, little things like that I think hopefully will pay off down the line.
Diamondbacks fans hopefully have a lot to look forward to with Carroll and Thomas patrolling the outfield in the years to come.