ESPN staff sees D-backs’ Corbin Carroll running away with NL ROTY title

Jun 9, 2023, 4:22 PM | Updated: 8:13 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks Corbin Carroll...

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits the ball during the first inning of the Spring Training game against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on March 12, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks locked up outfielder Corbin Carroll to an eight-year, $111 million contract after just 32 games in MLB, and it’s evident why.

Carroll had sky-high expectations entering his first full season in the bigs and may have shattered all of them just over a third of the way through the year.

In 59 games in 2023, the speedy outfielder has slashed .300/.387/.541 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. He has only been caught stealing twice.

ESPN’s staff thinks that Carroll (No. 1 ranked rookie) is running away with the National League Rookie of the Year title and it’s not particularly close.

The cream-of-the-crop prospects in any given season don’t necessarily parlay the hype that invariably accompanies their arrival into Rookie of the Year trophies.

With elite speed and defensive metrics, he’d be a valuable contributor for the Diamondbacks even if his bat had lagged. But the bat has been terrific as well, and with top-end max exit velocities and above-average strike-zone command, there is little reason to think he’s going to tail off anytime soon. You can’t even chalk up his offensive production to Chase Field, as his road OPS is more than 100 points higher than at home.

Lefties, so far, haven’t been much of a problem, either. His numbers against soft/breaking stuff are considerably worse than his ridiculous numbers against hard stuff. That could mean Carroll is going to face some slumps if he starts chasing those offerings excessively. But it could also mean that as good as he’s been, he’s going to get even better the more he acclimates to big-league-type repertoires.

Carroll has showed consistency throughout his early career and the D-backs were banking on the stardom progression that he has shown.

He could realistically hit 20 home runs and notch 40 stolen bases, which would make him the third D-backs player to reach 40 stolen bags in a season. That would put him in the same conversation as Tony Womack and Eric Byrnes.

The 22-year-old has shown discipline at the plate as well, improving on his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 24-8 in April to 18-15 in May and ranks in the 85th percentile in expected on-base percentage, according to Baseball Savant.

His productivity for the offense has been matched by his speed in the outfield and ability to cover so much ground. He ranks in the 99th percentile for speed behind three other players in MLB (Bobby Witt Jr., Trea Turner and Bubba Thompson).

There’s no doubt Carroll’s body of work is helping him run away with the NL ROTY. But there’s also the field of competition in the NL to consider, with most of the best rookies in the game hailing from the American League.  Of ESPN’s top 10 rookies, only Francisco Alvarez of the New York Mets scratched the top 10 for the National League.

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