Opening day is almost here, can you feel it?! It is no secret that this offense is full of talent. Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are all proven veterans, while guys like Jake McCarthy and Corbin Carroll are youngsters on the rise. This lineup will possess speed (lots of it), contact, and power; 3 things a balanced lineup needs. Here are 3 bold predictions for this offense in 2023…
Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker will have a 40-100 season
This might seem crazy, but Walker is more than capable. Last season, Christian Walker hit 36 home runs and drove in 94 runs. Having a 36-94 season last year makes a 40-100 season this year seem much more attainable.
Walker is due to drive in more runs in 2023 because of the revamped lineup around him. Guys batting in front of him should be getting on base more often thus more RBI chances for Walker who will likely bat in the cleanup spot. Plus, Walker made quite the power jump from 2021 to 2022, hitting 10 homers in 21’ and 36 in 22’. With that in mind, 40 doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
Walker finished the 2022 season 7th in the league in home runs, 9th in home runs per at-bat, and he was in the top-20 in RBIs. He is expected to be an offensive leader for this young ball club, and it is likely that Walker will provide a lot of the power for this lineup.
Diamondbacks #1 prospect Corbin Carroll will be a top 10 hitter
I know, this is a very bold prediction. When I say Carroll will be a top-10 hitter, what I mean is that he will be in the top 10 in OPS. To be in the top 10 in OPS a season ago, your OPS had to be .875 or greater. It is a tall task, but I think Carroll can do it…
If Carroll does this, you better believe he’ll win rookie of the year. Carroll has only played 32 games in his major league career. Wanna know what his OPS is in those 32 games? .830; .330 OBP with a .500 slugging percentage. Let's say he raises his OBP by .023 (.353) and his slugging percentage by .022 (.522); he would then have himself an .875 OPS for the 2023 season. Very very doable for Carroll.
It is unknown where Carroll will bat in the lineup. Some say leadoff because of his blazing speed, but I say he should bat 3rd because of how hard it is to get him out. Either way, look for this kid to put up silly numbers early in his major league career. So silly, he might become a top-10 hitter in fact.
Ketel Marte will lead the league in doubles
Despite Ketel having a down year in 2022, he still managed to whack 42 doubles which was the 5th most in all of baseball. The most impressive part about that is he hit 42 doubles while only playing 137 games.
Let’s look at the ratios from last season. Dodgers star first basemen Freddie Freeman led the league in doubles with 47. He hit 47 doubles in 159 games, meaning that on average, he hit a double every 3.4 games. Ketel on the other hand, hit 42 doubles in 137 games, meaning that on average, Ketel hit a double every 3.3 games. Averages don’t lie, and the averages say that besides veteran slugger J.D. Matinez (double every 3.2 games in 2022), Ketel was the most consistent at hitting doubles a season ago.
Marte leading the league in doubles sounds like a safe bet to me.