ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks’ Hazen on Corbin Carroll: ‘Good to see him start to get rolling down the other side’

May 9, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

Corbin Carroll...

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a home run in the 7th inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 07, 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a chaotic season but not in the ways they prided themselves on last year. Between injuries, 12-run outbursts followed by cold stretches, relievers hitting in the 11th inning and bees, it’s difficult to know what to expect at the ballpark on a given night.

Corbin Carroll’s stalled early-season performance has contributed to the variance (probably not the bees part), and his five RBIs Tuesday at the Cincinnati Reds were an auspicious sign looking forward.

There is a certain gear Carroll adds to the offense when humming.

“It’s a fairly high bar he set for all of us watching him play that we scrutinize what he does to the degree we do. We know how dynamic he can be,” general manager Mike Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke Wednesday.

 

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“I think it’s exacerbated a little bit by (Geraldo) Perdomo and (Alek) Thomas being out, the sort of guys we have running around and playing small ball and creating a certain level of offense. It’s sort of been reduced now to Jake (McCarthy) and Corbin in a lot of ways that have a lot of that in their game … Our offense has been inconsistent through the first month and has put us in challenging situations and we need to get that straightened out. He’s a big player in all that. So it’s good to see him start to get rolling down the other side. He is such a good player that I would hope this is gonna continue for us.”

The D-backs returned Carroll back to the leadoff spot after he dropped toward the bottom of the order on April 24 while hitting .215.

He popped up on a pitch up-and-in to lead off the game, a spot opponents have targeted as a weakness. Carroll, though, rebounded for his second straight multi-hit game, including his second home run of the year. Better yet, he launched a pitch up at the letters over the left-center field wall against southpaw Justin Wilson.

He went 0-for-4 but reached on an error and a walk Wednesday as the D-backs won their third straight game.

Corbin Carroll working through slow start

Carroll was very open about his struggles Saturday, noting the flatness to his swing he is working through in order to create attacking angles. He has been getting under the ball with a 15.1% pop-up rate compared to 7.3% last year.

Hazen complimented the dedication to improvement Carroll has shown throughout his career, from sitting in the stands after shoulder surgery in 2021 to working on putting his current slump behind him.

“What you see publicly is very much a reflection of what we see privately so there’s not really a lot of discrepancy there,” Hazen said. “I would agree that having an elite performer that has that level of self-reflection and humility about is awesome, right? It’s our dream. It’s an organization’s dream.

“At some point, the caring so much can get in the way at times because you’re not gonna be perfect. Nobody’s gonna be perfect. This game will trash you as an offensive player if your expectation is you’re gonna go out there and hit a rocket every time you go up there. … I’ll say like Mookie (Betts), go talk to Mookie day-to-day and there’s a lot of, ‘I could be way better than I am.’ … I think Corbin has a lot of that in him and I think that’s what drives the greatest to the heights that they do.”

Hope for a more dynamic Diamondbacks

Perdomo and Thomas — plus Jordan Lawlar — represent a lot of speed on the injured list. Meanwhile, Carroll’s on-base percentage this season is .297, down from .364 even with a higher walk rate.

Both elements contribute to Arizona’s steals being down to 23rd in MLB with 17. Carroll still leads the team with eight and McCarthy has three.

Last year the D-backs were second in steals, while Carroll ranked third in MLB with 54 stolen bases and second in extra bases taken percentage. No one created more chaos.

Hazen said the offense at times has overemphasized searching for power and he expects the lineup to be more dynamic going forward, especially when healthier. Carroll turning this around would provide more chances for hit-and-runs and awestruck moments of him zooming around the bases. Standouts Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Joc Pederson would get more opportunities to drive in runs, as well.

“I think you’ll see some lineup configurations where it’s going to be a lot more dynamic in terms of the speed, the ability for us to put a lot of pressure on defenses,” Hazen said. “We were never really built to go out and bash. I don’t ever foresee us in the top five to 10 in home runs. I think we’re going to be more of that team one through nine that we saw at the end of the year and into the playoffs where we had the ability to beat you in a lot of different ways and to date we haven’t quite been able to put that together but that’s what we’re searching for.”

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