ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Trio of D-backs land on ESPN’s 2023 MLB Rank top 100 list

Mar 23, 2023, 9:50 AM | Updated: 9:50 am

Arizona Diamondbacks P Zac Gallen (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...

Arizona Diamondbacks P Zac Gallen (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Three Arizona Diamondbacks enter the 2023 season on the radar as the best players in the game — even if one of them is just 32 games into his MLB career.

Zac Gallen, Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte all made ESPN’s MLB Rank list of the top 100 players in baseball heading into the regular season.

While Gallen leads the D-backs crew as the 45th-best player in MLB Rank, Carroll’s appearance at 73rd comes with a bold prediction from ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

 Carroll will win the NL Rookie of the Year Award and turn a lot of heads in 2023, helping the D-backs make a surprising run for a playoff spot.

Expectations are wildly high for Carroll, who earned a $111 million guarantee by signing an extension with Arizona this offseason. It’s not only internally, either.

Gonzalez’s colleague, Jeff Passan, even tabs Carroll as one player outside the top-50 who could leap into the top-10 by next year’s iteration of MLB Rank.

Perhaps the only thing holding Carroll back from making a leap up from No. 73 is Arizona’s plan to use Alek Thomas as its primary center fielder, even though evaluators say they believe Carroll could be the superior defender. Maybe Carroll doesn’t jump into the top 10 because of that, but even if he’s primarily in right field, the rest of his tools and skills are enough to keep him in consideration.

Gallen’s spot in the top-50 is hardly surprising given his name being thrown into the Cy Young conversation at the end of the year.

Putting up a 2.54 ERA and 0.91 WHIP at 27 years old will do that for you. The ceiling has not yet been reached, writes Bradford Doolittle.

You rarely hear on-base percentage quoted in regards to pitchers, but Gallen was the anti-OBP hurler in 2022. He led the NL in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings while holding opponents to a measly .252 OBP. He also sliced his home run rate in half and sliced more than a walk per nine innings from his 2021 season.

Marte slipped into the MLB Rank at 96 coming off a down year. He’s at risk of falling out of the top-100 unless he nudges closer to All-Star status as he was in 2019.

The 29-year-old has focused this offseason on working on his lower body after soft tissue injuries have popped up here and there over the past two seasons.

Marte slashed .240/.321/.407 in 2022 while playing primarily at second base, removing the outfield duties he carried in prior seasons.

One more season like 2022 and Marte will find himself outside the top 100. His OBP dipped to .321 last year (his lowest since 2016), he struck out over 100 times for the first time in his career and his defense declined. A hamstring injury may have contributed to his struggles, but he was scuffling before he got hurt.

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