D-backs’ Jake McCarthy wins 2nd straight weekly award in Triple-A
Sep 11, 2023, 6:55 PM
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Arizona Diamondbacks opted not to recall outfielder Jake McCarthy from Triple-A Reno at the start of September with expanded rosters.
At the time, manager Torey Lovullo said the organization was looking for McCarthy to generate more power than the .331 slugging and two home runs he has produced in the bigs in 2023. The D-backs optioned the outfielder on Aug. 14.
McCarthy earned his second straight Pacific Coast League Player of the Week award on Monday, hitting four home runs, two triples and two doubles in nine games since Lovullo’s comments. The lefty led the PCL in hits, bases, runs and steals last week to win the award.
He boasts a 15-game hitting streak with the Aces and has slashed .409/.426/.818 with seven seals in September. Reno is very hitter friendly, but McCarthy has been blasting the baseball despite his low launch angle in Arizona this year (6.9 degrees).
Is anyone hotter than Jake McCarthy right now? 🔥
The @Dbacks farmhand extends his hitting streak to 14 games with this two-run blast, his second long ball in the past three games for the @Aces. The outfielder is batting .500/.543/.813 during his streak. pic.twitter.com/5lQK3SnvcN
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 9, 2023
“Jake, these players come in and they’re very vulnerable with me and telling me some of the things that are working in aren’t working,” Lovullo said on Sept. 1. “I just felt like he was feeling for the ball and was trying to just make contact and slash the ball the other way.
“We wanted him to be a little bit more aggressive, not go up there and take Hank Aaron-type hacks but just little bit more behind the baseball where he could drive it and maybe create a little bit more leverage in his body.”
The D-backs have optioned McCarthy twice this year after he became a staple in the lineup in the latter half of 2022.
McCarthy came back up the first time on May 26 and produced a .292/.362/.387 slash line in 190 plate appearances through July. He stole 21 bags in that time, two more than Corbin Carroll who had 40 more plate appearances.
Have a NIGHT Jake McCarthy
— Reno Aces (@Aces) September 8, 2023
McCarthy opened August cold, and Lovullo said he told McCarthy he was playing fine but the outfielder is better than that.
He started off 8-for-35 in Triple-A (.229) after his last option before kicking off the hitting streak and racking up accolades.
“I know what I’m capable of and I just want to remind people every single day,” McCarthy said in a Reno Aces social media video. “Being the best player I can be whether that’s defensively in the base paths or in the batter’s box.”
Arizona’s moves on Sept. 1 involved a third baseman swap of Emmanuel Rivera for Buddy Kennedy and the recall of first baseman/outfielder Pavin Smith.
Smith was coming off a productive month in Reno with a 1.015 OPS, but the D-backs have not found much of a use for him. Smith has started two games since and has nine plate appearances (no hits, three walks). He hasn’t been used in the outfield since getting recalled, and it is difficult to imagine Christian Walker getting much time off at first base down the stretch of the season.
The D-backs entered Monday with 18 games remaining while in a dogfight for a National League Wild Card spot. The Aces have 11 games remaining and are a first-place team. McCarthy provides value as a base runner and defensive outfielder along with his bat. For which team’s postseason push is up to the front office.