D-backs’ Corbin Carroll rises to No. 1 in prospect rankings for ESPN’s McDaniel

Aug 16, 2022, 11:19 AM | Updated: 12:45 pm
Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks prepares for batting practice prior to the 2022 Siriu...
Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks prepares for batting practice prior to the 2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Corbin Carroll’s stature has grown as quickly as he produced following recovery from a shoulder injury, slingshotting him into the national discussion this season.

Carroll spent 58 games slashing .313/.430/.643 in Double-A, and as the D-backs have tried to bring him along slowly, he’s done everything to push back. Carroll spent the last 23 games in Triple-A Reno, and the numbers haven’t fallen off.

Throughout his rise, evaluators never missed him. They quickly learned not to ignore him once his production immediately after his shoulder recovery.

Now, they can’t do much else but beat the hype drum. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel published his latest round of prospect rankings, which moved Carroll to No. 1, while fellow Arizona prospects Jordan Lawlar and recent draft pick Druw Jones all rank in the top-26.

When I handicapped the prospects two months ago, I wouldn’t put Carroll at the top spot because we just hadn’t seen enough yet post-shoulder surgery. Now we have, and he has torched the upper minors at the same age as recent college draftees. The gap between Carroll and Henderson is pretty small, but I’ll lean to the shorter-limbed, more explosive player in a toss-up situation. Carroll profiles as a .280-.290 hitter with a strong walk rate who can get to 20-25 homers and steal 30+ bags. He’d also play a strong center field, though he might end up playing a corner if Alek Thomas stays a bit better defensively.

It was Thomas who entered spring as the most noteworthy D-backs prospect in the system, but the team promoted him to the majors just a month into the season. He’s just been doing things like this:

But Carroll kept the momentum in Arizona’s farm system alive, eventually earning a call-up to Reno.

He’s batting .297/.430/.587 with 16 RBIs, 27 hits, four home runs, 17 walks and 22 strikeouts with nine stolen bases in 23 games there.

Behind him is 2021 draft pick Lawlar, the shortstop who is still just 20 years old and like the other two Diamondbacks on McDaniel’s list isn’t being dinged too harshly despite a shoulder injury knocking him out of his first pro year.

Even as the first player on my 2021 board, the sixth overall pick and the recipient of the third-highest bonus in the 2021 draft, Lawlar has exceeded expectations this year, putting up a goofy .351/.447/.603 in Low-A before promotion; he’s also a plus runner and defender at shortstop.

In 24 games for the High-A Hillsboro Hops, Lawlar is batting .283 with 15 RBIs, 10 walks, nine stolen bases and 26 hits in 24 games.

Jones was the second overall pick in July and suffered a shoulder injury before even taking the field. Still, McDaniel likes what he sees.

He won’t make his pro debut until next year after a shoulder injury in his first few days as a professional, but his offensive upside has always been more of a multiyear projection. His plus-plus speed, defense and arm strength, though, are all big-league-ready now.

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