When you can’t make it to the beach, why not just bring the beach to the ballpark?
All D-backs outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was missing was a little plastic pail and shovel when he decided to start building a sandcastle outside the top step of the visitors’ dugout at American Family Field on Monday night. But he was nothing if not innovative, using a few water cups to fill up with dirt so he could craft his creation.
This Thursday was originally scheduled to be an off day, but due to a cancellation caused by poor air quality, they will need to fly from Milwaukee to Washington D.C. Wednesday night to play a make up game against the Nationals. Then on Thursday night they’ll fly all the way back across the country to play a weekend series in San Francisco. They’ll finally catch a day off on next Monday, but then must face the team with the best record in all of MLB, the Tampa Bay Rays, for a three game series back home.
Rojas, 29 next week, had seemingly established himself as a solid everyday player over the past few years. In 2021, he got into 139 games for the Diamondbacks, hitting 11 home runs and walking in 10.5% of his plate appearances. His .264/.341/.411 batting line amounted to a wRC+ of 102, indicating he was 2% above league average. He also stole nine bases and bounced around the field, playing the three infield positions to the left of first base as well as the outfield corners. FanGraphs considered him to be worth 1.8 wins above replacement on the year.
Geraldo Perdomo led off the game by ripping a ground ball double down the line. Ketel Marte singled and Corbin Carroll walked to load the bases with nobody out. Christian Walker’s broken bat single plated the first run and Lourdes Gurriel Jr followed with a line drive base hit to right to score two more. After a fielders choice by Emmanuel Rivera brought home one more run and Gabriel Moreno struck out, up stepped Alek Thomas in his first at bat back since being recalled from Triple-A Reno. On the third pitch he saw, a cutter down and in, Thomas lifted it deep into the second deck for a two-run homer. He later singled to right and scored a run for a triumphant return.
Left Field: Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks
Position-Leading Stats: 55 R, 19 SB, 149 Total Bases, .596 SLG, 166 OPS+, 3.7 rWAR, 3.4 fWAR
Speaking of guys who are still just 22 years old, it’s about time that the world beyond Arizona caught on to the fact that Corbin Carroll is really, really good.
In fact, let’s go ahead and put him in the same sentence as Ronald Acuña Jr. He is, after all, the only other player in the sport right now who has at least 15 each of doubles, home runs and stolen bases.
Carroll’s blazing speed—i.e., 30.1 feet per second—is a factor, but he also has way more power than any guy listed at 5’10”, 165 pounds ought to be capable of. Notably, his six opposite-field home runs are the most of any hitter.
So, those “MVP!” chants that Carroll has been hearing at Chase Field? Those are well-founded.
He plays for a first-place team and leads the league in slugging, OPS, OPS+ and win probability added, so it’s about time you consider him an MVP front-runner. No, it’s not Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Braves. It is Corbin Carroll of the Diamondbacks, the phenomenal rookie who has closed what was a huge gap between Acuña and the field in the MVP race.
Here is the tell-tale sign of true talent: The more pitchers see Carroll (and the more teams game-plan to stop him) the more they cannot figure him out. Carroll, an extra-base machine, is posting a monster June (.349/.414/.794) while creating his usual havoc on the bases with his elite speed.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Tigers
The 30-year-old southpaw is having the finest season of his career, posting a 1.40 ERA over his past nine starts to give him a season-long mark of 2.13. After allowing seven earned runs and three homers in his first 10 innings of 2023, Rodríguez has given up nine earned runs and three long balls over his past 57 2/3 innings, holding hitters to a .519 OPS. E-Rod can opt out of the final three years and $49 million of his contract at the end of the season, making him a likely candidate to be moved.
Potential fits: Angels, D-backs, Mets
This year’s Combine will be staged at Chase Field in Phoenix and will include batting practice, infield/outfield and bullpen sessions that will be broadcast live on MLB Network from 1-4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and 3:30-6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
“In Spring Training, I did not expect that in July we would aggressively be looking for pitching,” Friedman said. “With the injuries and where we are, I think that focus has shifted. There’s no question that [targeting pitching] is more likely than it was in March.”