ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Corbin Carroll is already a top-10 player, according to ESPN’s MLB Rank

Mar 11, 2024, 10:21 AM

Corbin Carroll...

Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks signs autographs during spring training at Salt River Fields. (Alex Weiner/Arizona Sports)

(Alex Weiner/Arizona Sports)

The Arizona Diamondbacks paid Corbin Carroll like a franchise star last offseason with only 32 games under his belt. It’s already looking like a value contract with Carroll carrying expectations of a top-10 player into the 2024 season, according to ESPN’s annual MLB Rank.

The polling of baseball experts ranked the 23-year-old Carroll 10th in all of baseball, just behind new Los Angeles Dodger Shohei Ohtani, who fell down the list due to his injury that will plug him in as a designated hitter only. ESPN’s panel hat-tipped four other D-backs in their top-100 list of the best players.

Here’s what David Shoenfield wrote about Carroll coming off his first full year in the majors:

Carroll entered 2023 as the Rookie of the Year favorite in the National League and not only lived up to expectations but exceeded them, with a spectacular, exciting season that showcased blazing speed and surprising pop that will make him one of the top faces of the game over the next decade. He stole 54 bases in 59 attempts, the second-best percentage ever for a player with at least 50 steals. With 25 home runs, he became the ninth player to go 25/50 in the same season. He finished fifth in the MVP voting — all this at age 22, after playing just 142 games in the minors due to COVID-19 and an injury that wiped out his 2021 season. With more experience, he might add some power against left-handed pitchers and improve his plate discipline … and climb even higher on this ranking.

Season prediction: A 30/60 season is asking a lot, but that’s not far from what he did last year. How about 30/60/.300 with a second straight All-Star start and top-five MVP finish.

Carroll made the leap into the top-10 after ranking 73rd in the 2023 MLB Rank.

Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen (38th), second baseman Ketel Marte (66th), catcher Gabriel Moreno (93rd) and starter Merrill Kelly (98th) all made the 2024 version of MLB Rank’s top-100 list.

ESPN’s Will Rogers pointed to a few trends to look out for regarding Gallen and Marte, two players who have built their reputations already. He suggests Gallen’s inning workload could be reduced to keep him fresh, while Marte might be needed less this year as a power bat and could focus more on just getting on base.

Moreno, like Carroll, is new to the expectations. ESPN’s Jeff Passan took a shot at predicting his season.

Moreno, who showed up to camp this year in fantastic shape, takes a leap, batting .285, getting on base 35% of the time and slugging more than .450 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs while moving up in the Diamondbacks’ much-improved lineup.

Kelly’s career arc is in the spotlight in a very different way. He’s 35, the third-oldest player on ESPN’s top-100 list, behind Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt.

ESPN veteran writer Buster Olney made this complementary comparison about Kelly’s 2024 season:

His 3.29 ERA last season was the best full-season performance of his career, and there’s no reason to think he’s going to slow down. He is his generation’s Jamie Moyer, and he’ll have another solid year for the Diamondbacks.

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Corbin Carroll is already a top-10 player, according to ESPN’s MLB Rank