On the heels of the Nationals locking up a key piece of its future, the Arizona Diamondbacks front office did the same for the team’s top prospect on March 11. Arizona reportedly agreed on an eight-year extension for star outfield prospect Corbin Carroll, who’s set to start his first full MLB season later this month. It’s a large, and somewhat risky, deal. But, it can be a steal if Carroll lives up to the hype.
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A Look at Carroll
One of the top prospects in Major League Baseball, Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll darted through the Minors after being drafted in 2019 in the first round. Carroll played just 142 MiLB games, 98 of which came this past year, before he made his MLB debut this past September.
Carroll tore up Amarillo (AA) and Reno (AAA) in 2022, when the 22-year-old hit .307/.425/.610 with 24 home runs, 31 stolen bases, 54 extra base hits, and 62 RBIs between the two levels. An elite hitter that can work counts, drive the ball, and make good, consistent contact, there are very few holes in Carroll’s game at the plate. Not to mention, the center field possesses plus-plus speed and elite athleticism that allows him to man center field with relative ease.
After Carroll’s reign of terror in the Minors, the Washington state native made his MLB debut on August 29. Over his first 32 games, Carroll hit .260/.330/.500 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and 15 extra base hits. Those 15 extra base hits put Carroll in the top 15 of the league among outfielders between August 29-October 5.
Per reports, Carroll agreed to an eight-year, $111 million contract that comes with an additional club option for 2031. That option can push the deal into a nine-year, $134 million deal for Carroll.
Carroll is set to be the regular center fielder in an outfield that will also include the likes of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Alek Thomas, and Jake McCarthy. Given his talents, it’s safe to say that Carroll — who still retains rookie eligibility for 2023 — is one of the favorites to win the NL Rookie of the Year in 2023.
What it Means
Generally speaking, handing out long-term extensions to players with either very little or no MLB experience is a risky gambit. Sure, there have been some hits like Carroll’s D-Backs teammate Evan Longoria and Luis Robert Jr. Longoria signed — at the time — a lavish six-year, $17.5 million extension days into his MLB career in 2008 that proved to be a steal for the Tampa Bay Rays. Robert Jr., on the other hand, signed his deal with no MLB experience and has proved to be a dynamic player when healthy.
On the other hands, the likes of Scott Kingery and Evan White are also cautionary tales of what can go wrong in these instances. This deal is much larger than the examples given, but the same principle applies.
Carroll’s extension, in a sense, is a parallel of Longoria. Much like the former Rays star, Carroll is one of the game’s elite prospects that has certainly turned heads in his MiLB and brief MLB career. A five-tool player that has 20-20 potential and can be an elite defender, it makes a lot of sense for the D-Backs to lock up a player that could have cost more AAV come Year 4 and walked after 2028. Now, the D-Backs will have control of Carroll for a long time.