Reports surfaced on Sunday that the Arizona Diamondbacks will call up MLB.com’s third-ranked prospect, outfielder Corbin Carroll, on Monday. The D-backs drafted Carroll in the first round back in 2019. Since then, he has been a force in the minor leagues at every level. Over 142 minor league games from rookie ball to Triple-A this season, Carroll has a slash line of .310/.426/.588 for an OPS of 1.014. He hit 32 doubles, 17 triples, and 28 home runs, with 52 stolen bases and a steal percentage of 88%.
Carroll has proved himself at every minor league level, even after sustaining a shoulder injury last season that took him out for a while and another injury this season. He has kept his momentum all the way up to now and looks primed to continue it over the last 36 games of the MLB season.
What can Corbin Carroll bring to the Arizona Diamondbacks?
I wanted to highlight some interesting notes about his minor playing career. He started 85th on MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list in 2020, moving up to the third this season, and that is with starting 2022 at 12th. He has had multiple three-hit games over the past few months, went on a two-game home run streak in July, a three-game triple streak in June, cranked a 463-foot home run in August and a 481-foot home run in June, and, this past week, hit a home run of veteran MLB relief pitcher Ken Giles.
Sounds pretty impressive, I know, especially when MLB.com and FanGraphs have given him a 60-grade fielding tool (this is on the standard baseball 20 to 80 Grade scale used when evaluating position players). With his combination of all five tools (hitting, hitting for power, speed, fielding, and arm), he could be at a similar level to recent young stars like Julio Rodriguez in Seattle and Bobby Witt Jr. with Kansas City.
Overall, Carroll looks ready to take over the league and be a key piece for the Diamondbacks future, but let’s look into the situation more in Arizona to see what that future could hold. The D-Backs are tied for the third-oldest team in baseball despite currently rebuilding and sitting eight games below .500.
A few of their younger players have been up for a bit in catcher/outfielder Daulton Varsho and third baseman Josh Rojas. Both have hit well and played strong defense. Rojas has less promising underlying numbers, with expected statistics suggesting he is overperforming. Varsho looks on par and could continue to improve at the plate.
Arizona has brought other prospects this season, including outfielder Jeff McCarthy, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, another top outfielder prospect, Alek Thomas (39th ranked prospect per MLB.com in 2021), and recently unlisted prospect DH/outfielder Stone Garrett (what a name).
McCarthy has hit relatively well in the big leagues, with good speed and defense, but expected numbers don’t see his hitting numbers sustaining themselves for too long. Perdomo has struggled in MLB so far. He is mainly known for defense. At the plate, his contact and discipline skills are his strengths, not his power. Hopefully, he can be at least an average hitter with more time.
Thomas was great the first month he was up with the bat, but he has slowed down over the season. His defense and speed are rated high amongst other major leaguers, in the 90th percentile for Outs Above Average (Statcast’s defensive metric), and his sprint speed is in the 94th percentile. Garrett has only played in five MLB games but has done well and raked in Triple-A with a .900 OPS (with a 111 WRC+, so that might be skewed).
Pitching is the team’s most significant point of weakness. Madison Bumgarner has been awful since he signed with them, and still has two years left on his deal. Thankfully the last year is only for $14 million rather than $23 million.
Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen are Arizona’s best pitchers. Gallen is only 26 with three years left of team control. Kelly, on the other hand, is 33 years old, but they signed him to an extension that will have him with the team for at least two more seasons.
Arizona bringing up Corbin Carroll is very exciting for a rebuilding team like them. It could be the beginning of a change in organizational mindset, flipping from looking towards the future to that future being right now. With Corbin, his prospect running mates, and decent veterans in Christian Walker and Ketel Marte, Arizona can make a few moves and be a potential force in MLB in the next couple of seasons.
Even if the team takes longer to perform, I am definitely going to keep my eye on Carroll to see if he takes over this league too.