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It is difficult to overstate how good Corbin Carroll has been for the Diamondbacks in 2023.
With a slash line of .286/.363/.511, Carroll is the best hitter on a team that is well-positioned to make the playoffs. With 13.1 base running runs above average (BsR) entering play on Wednesday, Carroll grades out as the best baserunner in baseball by a wide margin. (The next closest player is the Washington Nationals CJ Abrams, who has 9.0 BsR.)
We would be remised if we left out perhaps the most impressive Carroll fact of them all: He is still just 23 years old.
On Wednesday, Carroll added another historic accomplishment to what has already been an unprecedented rookie season. He hit his 25th homer of the season and notched stolen bases no. 49 and 50.
In so doing, he became the first player in MLB history to hit 25 homers and steal 50 bases in his rookie season.
In fact, only eight players in MLB history have ever accomplished the feat prior to Carroll. The list of those to do so includes Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson and Joe Morgan.
“Corbin is an unbelievable baseball player,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I mean, come on, what are we talking about here? He’s talented, but getting better. That’s all he’s that’s all he wants to do is just get better every single day and that’s what makes him so incredible.”
Carroll said after Wednesday’s game that he and first base coach Dave McKay had a running joke about getting him to 50 stolen bases. “How many do you need?” McKay asked him before Wednesday’s game.
The answer was two, and Carroll got both of them.
Carroll’s four-hit, two-stolen-base game on Wednesday helped the Diamondbacks complete a two-game sweep over the San Francisco Giants, pushing the Giants to 3 1/2 games out of the NL Wild Card race and potentially dealing the final blow in their playoff hopes.
For Carroll, it is his team’s accomplishments, not his own, that are most important right now.
“I’m proud of it,” Carroll said of his 25-50 season. “At the same time, we talked about it as a team, this is the time of the year where we’re not playing for personal accomplishments. That’s kind of out the window at this point. All that matters is getting the win.”
To that end, Carroll had a remarkable series. In 10 plate appearances, he went 6-for-9 with a homer, a double, four singles, a hit-by-pitch, five runs scored, three runs batted in and three stolen bases.
Somehow, that stat line still does not fully capture Carroll’s impact. His stolen base attempts resulted in a total of three errors by Giants defenders, ultimately leading to three additional bases for Carroll and his teammates.
On Tuesday, Carroll sprinted home after stealing third and seeing Wilmer Flores misplay the throw from Giants catcher Patrick Bailey. In a panic, Flores made another miscue on his throw home, allowing both Carroll and Ketel Marte — who started the play at first base — to score.
Once again, on Wednesday, Carroll ended up at third base after stealing second and advancing on a throwing error by Bailey.
Of the 15 runs that the Diamondbacks scored in their two-game series against the Giants, Carroll had a hand in nine of them.
At this point, it appears that the NL Rookie of the Year vote will be a mere formality. For as great as other NL rookies have been — the New York Mets’ Kodai Senga, Cincinnati Reds’ Matt McLain and Los Angeles Dodgers’ James Outman have all impressed, just to name a few — Carroll is all but certain to win the award.
If he does, he would become the first Diamondbacks player to do so in franchise history. In the process, he would also net the Diamondbacks an additional draft pick after the first round of the 2024 draft — a result of the prospect promotion incentive in MLB’s newest collective bargaining agreement.
For the Diamondbacks, Carroll became the third player ever to steal 50 bases, joining Eric Byrnes and Tony Womack. His 25 homers are the second-most in franchise history for a player in his age-22 season or younger. (Justin Upton hit 26 in his age-21 season in 2009.)
When all is said and done, Carroll’s rookie year will go down not just as the best rookie year in D-backs history, but as one of the most remarkable a Diamondbacks player has ever had.
Only two players in franchise history have ever had 25-25 seasons: Chris Young in 2007 and 2010, and Eric Byrnes in 2006.
With the Diamondbacks’ near-term future as bright as it’s looked in a long time — their playoff odds now stand at 85.2 percent, according to FanGraphs — their long-term future is as bright as it has looked in a while, too.
At 23 years old, Carroll is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound speedster with remarkable pop, solid defense and a mature mind. Just one year into his major league career, he already looks like the next big thing in Arizona.
Top photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic
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