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2023 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews: #32, Dominic Canzone

Nice smile.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

2023 Overview

  • Rating: 4.56
  • 2023 MLB Stats: 15 G, 41 PA, .237/.293/.368 = .661 OPS, 80 OPS+, -0.2 bWAR
  • Date of Birth: August 16, 1997
  • 2023 Salary: pro-rated league minimum
  • 2024 Status: On the Seattle Mariners 40-man roster

Vote Breakdown

2023 in review

Canzone was picked in the 8th round of the 2019 draft, and spent most of 2022 in Reno, where he posted an .838 OPS over 88 games. Michael ranked him as our #17 prospect at the end of last season, but noted Canzone “has the misfortune of being a positionally-limited outfielder with a left-handed bat, with more athletic outfielders such as Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll, Jake McCarthy, and Daulton Varsho blocking him.” He entered the pre-season at #19 on MLB.com’s list and had a productive spring - his 10 RBI trailed only Kyle Lewis among the D-backs. But a line of .257/.316/.543 was not enough to secure an Opening Day spot for Dominic as a non-roster invitee, and he was sent to Triple-A on March 14.

25 games in, he was continuing to hit, batting .297/.362/.604 for a .966 OPS, with seven home-runs, 24 RBI and a K:BB of 15:11. He seemed unbothered about the prospects ahead of him, saying in early May, “A lot of people get caught up in ‘prospects’ and ‘Who’s in front of you?’ If that was my mindset, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I really just try to stay away from that stuff, not look at it. Social media is very toxic in general, so I really try to keep it to myself and just do the best I can out here and control what I can control.” And that was hitting the ball: for six weeks from mid-May, Canzone went berserk. Over 29 games from May 13 to Jun 23, he hit .429 with a 1.279 OPS - impressive, even by Reno standards.

Attention was being paid. Michael wrote on June 14 “Depending on what happens with Pavin Smith at the big league level, Canzone could see his opportunity sooner rather than later.” A few days later, Dominic was named PCL Player of the Week. The #FreeCanzone movement picked up steam, not least because of under-performance at the major-league level. In June, for example, Smith played 21 games and batted a wretched .130 over 82 plate-appearances, with a .477 OPS. Eventually, the team decided to promote Canzone on July 7, though it was as a swap with another 25-year-old, left-handed, outfielder named Dominic: Mr. Fletcher.

Torey Lovullo explained, “We just felt like there was a hot hitter in Dominic Canzone, who was killing the baseball in Reno, that we wanted to get a look at. It just goes to show you that if you’re doing your job at a very high level, when there’s a need for you here, we’re going to grab you. Whatever the excuse that people use that they won’t ever get called up, throw that out the window. Dom did it, and he earned every bit of that. He’s going to come in here and help us win baseball games, we’re all excited about this opportunity.” That took a while. He was 0-for-3 in his July 8 debut against the Pirates, and Canzone didn’t get a hit until his fifth game and 11th at-bat, part of the wild 16-13 win over the Braves.

As so often, we got to see that no matter what you do in Reno, it’s a very different matter in the majors. He did his his first MLB home-run in the Atlanta series (above), but only managed three hits through twenty-five PA, before putting together a trio of consecutive two-hit games. Still, after going hitless on July 30, Canzone had a line of .237/.293/.368 over his first 41 plate-appearances - a .661 OPS, very far removed from his video-game numbers for the Aces. But it turns out his promotion might have been as much a showcase as anything. For the following days, he joined Josh Rojas and prospect Ryan Bliss on a plane for Seattle, being traded to the Mariners in exchange for closer Paul Sewald.

That’s where interest ceases. But he did appear in 44 games for Seattle: his OPS and OPS+ almost identical there (.656/81) as here (.661/80). He did hit a game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth, and manager Scott Servais was impressed: “He’s new. He’s young. He’s learning the league. But I like what I’ve seen so far. He’s swinging the bat really well.” Canzone was settling in too. “Definitely feeling more comfortable now. I’m just trying to put some good at-bats together. I’m chasing a little bit, which I think is just part of being just two months into the big leagues. Hopefully that will go down... It’s just exciting to be on a team in a playoff race and just to play a role and try to help the team in any way I can.”

2024 outlook

But Seattle crumbled down the stretch, missing the playoffs. He’ll have another chance in 2024, and won’t reach arbitration until at least the end of 2027, so remains a very affordable outfield option. From the Mariners side, Canzone was given a B- rating, noting his ability to destroy fastballs, but “unfortunately, he’s Mr. Hyde when it comes to any pitch that moves... Despite seeing 70 curveballs this year, he failed to record a single hit against the pitch.” He should probably expect a steady diet of breaking pitches, until he proves he can handle them. However, that’s no longer Arizona’s issue, and he’ll be remembered as little more than one - arguably, the least - from our 2023 procession of young, left-handed outfielders.