Just how good has Jake McCarthy been lately for the Arizona Diamondbacks?
By Jake Oliver
Ever since Jake McCarthy returned from Triple-A Reno to the Arizona Diamondbacks, he's been a completely different player according to the stats. Jake's been the team's best hitter. He's led the team to many wins by being one of the main forces of the offense. So much so that the Diamondbacks have started hitting him third in the lineup. There's no denying that Jake McCarthy has cemented himself as a long-term piece for this young and exciting Arizona Diamondbacks team.
Jake McCarthy is becoming what Arizona Diamondbacks need
Jake McCarthy went to the Reno Aces on June 14th. While there, he worked on his swing path and learned to stay patient at the plate. Being patient at the plate was something Jake really needed to work on. In fact, that's why he was sent down the first time and stayed in the minors from April 25th to May 19th. In the 31 games Jake played in with the Dbacks from April 7th to June 14th, Jake had struck out 30 times to only five walks. He hit only .228/.282/.405. He had seven extra-base hits and nine RBI, but it was clear that McCarthy just wasn't ready for MLB pitching. It was either that or he just wasn't laying off pitches that he was supposed to.
So, during that second stint in the minors, from June 15th to July 9th, He went to work on that. Over those 16 games, Jake did strike out 11 times, but that was a huge decrease from nearly one a game before. Yet, he walked six times. Six might not seem like much, but again, he walked five times in 31 games prior to this stretch. He hit the ball with more authority as well with eight extra-base hits compared to only seven in his prior stretch with the team.
This led the team to promote him once again to the MLB. Jake's never looked back since rejoining the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since July 11th, Jake has been abusing baseballs. It's like he doesn't realize they have families. Since his being recalled, McCarthy has hit .335/.396/.500 with an unsustainable .373 BABip (batting average on balls in play), however, with his speed, he will continue to hit for a high BABip. His WPA (win probability added per game) has been fantastic at 1.408. He has 11 doubles, five home runs, two triples, 32 RBI, 30 runs,16 walks, ONLY 28 STRIKEOUTS, and 17 stolen bases. He's only been caught stealing twice.
You better believe that Jake McCarthy will be in contention for a top-three finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He has an on-base streak of 18 games. He has been worth 2.3 WAR, 23 runs above replacement, and has hit the ball extremely hard at a rate of 36.4%. That's one reason why I don't think he's going to regress a ton in the future. He only has a chase rate of 24% compared to the MLB average of 29% which only adds to the belief this is the real McCarthy.
Looking at the numbers, Jake hits the ball up the middle 56.3% of the time which will lead to more hits, especially with the new shift rules for next year. He takes the extra base 55% of the time. McCarthy is walking at a 7.3% rate, though that's due to his struggles earlier in the year. Since being called up, Jake has walked at a rate of 9.36% which is pretty good. Meanwhile, he's striking out at a rate of 13.79%. That's nearly a full ten points below the MLB strikeout average. Yes, the MLB will adjust to him, but Jake's got a lot of breathing room to continue to be an excellent player. This includes his good defense in the corner outfield positions. He isn't a Gold Glove-caliber player, yet, but has proven to be a reliable defender with a strong arm.
Plus, it's not it's a small sample size either. It's been 53 games. The 25-year-old isn't even in his prime yet and I suspect there's more power in him. Jake's sixth in the National League in stolen bases, and fourth in double plays turned by an outfielder with two. The former first-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2018 draft is off to a great start. Just another terrific Mike Hazen move.
Jake McCarthy is quickly becoming a star outfielder and hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The lefty-swinging batter is everything the Diamondbacks have been looking for the last few years.