To start the 2023 season, things did not look great for Corbin Caroll. Through the first eight games, he hit .258/.258/.484 for an OPS of .742 while adding three stolen bases. In the last eight games, he has hit .321/.345/.607 for an OPS of .952, with once again, three stolen bases.
No matter how he is hitting, if he is on base, he is certainly a threat to steal. His current pace, as it stands, is to steal 61 bags, as long as he plays all 162 games. But that number may fluctuate based on his performance and health for the rest of the year.
But how many bases can he steal and how good of a season can he truly have?
Combining both his up-and-down start and his hot eight-game current stretch, Carroll has a .842 OPS and 123 OPS+ and remains in the 100th percentile in sprint speed. While his zero walks on the season are concerning, his 7.0% walk rate in 2022 shows that he has that ability. It just has yet to be unlocked in 2023.
As he heats up the bat and gets his walk rate back up, his opportunities to make an impact on the bases will increase. His 6 for 6 stolen bases ratio points to the fact that Carroll has a good understanding of when it is a good time to swipe a base.
In 93 games in the minor leagues before his first call-up last season, he had 31 stolen bases, a 54-stolen-base rate across a full season. Along with the bigger bags and new pickoff rules, it's not hard to imagine him building on that 54 rate.
If he continues his current production, not only will he steal a lot of bases, he likely will be an All-Star and, when shooting for the stars, may produce a 30-home-run, 60-stolen-base season in 2023.
While the power may dip, barring an injury, the speed will not. The optimistic approach says that in 2023, Carroll will steal upwards of 65-70 bases, putting him firmly in the upper end of most in a single season in the 21st century.
Carroll's walk rate of a solid 0.0% cannot be ignored and everyone knowing of his speed does not do him any favors on the base paths. While he has the potential for a big stolen-base season, it appears that he does not have a complete green light when it comes to the basepaths.
In 2022, he only had two stolen bases in 32 games. In 2023, half of his stolen bases thus far came in a single game and he has only recorded at least a stolen base in three separate games. So unless he plays all 162 games against Will Smith and the Dodgers, it may be tough to predict if his rate of attempts will increase or decrease moving forward.
The pessimistic viewpoint says that Carroll will plateau in attempts rather early, ending up with just 25-30 bases on the season as he focuses more on making an impact with his bat and glove rather than his feet on the basepaths.
While Carroll has huge potential to go for numbers unseen in the last half-decade, concerns with walk rate and just how many attempts he will take at stealing a base hold back that potential. As the bat gets warmer, he will be on base more, and it will be impossible not to get walked more than he is currently, so he will find his way on the bases no matter what.
While a 30-60 season is certainly possible with his talent, a 25-40 season seems entirely in the realm of possibility for 2023 and is where he will most likely fall. That level of the season will likely put Carroll into the All-Star game and his potential for the future is as bright as anyone in the league.