What to expect from Corbin Carroll’s sophmore season

What kind of season could we expect from Corbin Carroll in his second go around in the Major Leagues?
Feb 21, 2024; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) poses for a
Feb 21, 2024; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) poses for a / Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Corbin Carroll had a historic rookie season in 2023, en route to the first Rookie of the Year award in Arizona Diamondbacks history. The young outfielder entered the ‘23 season with a ton of expectations. Not only was he a former first-round pick who looked good in his first taste of Big League action in 2022, but he was considered one of the best prospects in baseball. He’ll have even bigger expectations set upon him in 2024, so what could we expect to see from Carroll in his encore?

Last year, Carroll batted .285/.362/.506 with a .370 wOBA and 133 wRC+ through 645 plate appearances. His speed and power combination was unparalleled (literally). He had 25 home runs and 54 stolen bases, making him the first rookie ever with 20+ dingers and 50+ steals in a season. Carroll also displayed solid plate discipline with an above-average 8.8% walk rate and 19.4% strikeout rate.

Carroll’s season was great, but he tailed off in the second half of the season; at least his power did some. Through the D-Backs’ final 81 games of the season, Carroll batted .278/.354/.448 with a .347 wOBA and 118 wRC+. Now by no means are these poor numbers. His wRC+ was the 55th best in the league, better than teammates Christian Walker and Ketel Marte, along with fellow standout rookie Spencer Steer. However, there is a noticeable dip in production from his .292/.369/.563 triple-slash, .393 wOBA, and 149 wRC+ he had in the first half of the season. His isolated slugging percentage dropped by 101 points.

These second-half numbers are a lot more reflective of his expected numbers on Baseball Savant. Carroll had a .441 xSLG% and .344 xwOBA, both of which were almost identical to his second-half SLG% and wOBA of .448 and .347, respectively. So can Carroll over-perform these numbers, or at least look something more like his first-half self?

Well, it will depend on if he can get his barrel rate back up. His barrel rate in the first half of the year was 9.7%. That’s above average and would have placed him around the top 60th-65th percentile of batters had he kept that up over the whole season. But his second-half barrel rate was just 5.7%. That’s well below average and would have landed him in the 20th-25th percentile. Overall, his 7.6% barrel rate ranked in the 40th percentile.

I think Carroll will continue to hit for a good average and draw enough walks to boost his OBP to a very high level. But the power is somewhat in question. But Carroll is only 22, and saying he won’t adjust or change his approach to hit for more power is foolish. I think that Carroll is bat .280-.290 again with an OBP in the .350-.360 range. As long as he keeps his isolated slugging percentage in the .180-.200 range (which would be a SLG% of .460/470 or .480/.490 if his BA stays around .280-.290), he’ll continue to be a 20+ homer threat.

Here are the expectations I am setting for myself with Carroll’s bat. By the end of the year, he will be hitting .277/.355/.473. Asking him to steal 50+ bases again is a big ask, but I still think he’ll at least swipe 40. But he will hit 21 home runs. Overall, it’s similar numbers to his 2023 rookie season, but with slightly less power, but only by a margin of four home runs and 25 points in isolated slugging percentage.