PHOENIX -- There was so much hype surrounding outfielder Corbin Carroll as he came up through the D-backs' system that it would have been hard for him to live up to it.
As a rookie, Carroll did not live up to hype, he actually found a way to exceed it.
Carroll’s magical season was capped off Monday when he was the unanimous winner of the Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year Award as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Carroll became the first D-backs player to win Rookie of the Year honors. Not only is Arizona no longer the only organization never to have had a player win the award, but more importantly, the fact that Carroll won means the D-backs will be rewarded with an extra pick next year in the MLB Draft, right after the first round.
“That’s probably what brought the most weight to chasing something like this for me,” Carroll said of the additional Draft pick. “Not for the personal fame or attention, but for the ability to benefit my team. I’m hoping to be here long enough where that Draft pick is hopefully a star player on the Diamondbacks right alongside of me. And just to be able to reward, in my mind, the front office’s belief in me this year is really special.”
The D-backs made it clear they want Carroll around for the long haul this spring, when they signed him to an eight-year, $111 million extension -- a record sum for a player with less than 100 days of Major League service time.
Carroll, 23, was selected by the D-backs in the 16th round of the 2019 Draft. Due to the pandemic that canceled the 2020 Minor League season as well as a shoulder injury that caused him to miss all but a few games in '21, he had just 657 professional plate appearances before he debuted on Aug. 29, 2022.
After slashing .260/.330/.500 in 32 games in 2022, Carroll entered this year as the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year, and he not only performed at that level but also helped lead the D-backs to their first World Series berth since '01.
Carroll became the first rookie in MLB history to hit 25 or more homers and steal 50 or more bases. He stole 54 bases while hitting 25 homers.
“What we saw with Corbin Carroll [as a rookie] -- I’ve said this before a million times -- it's not normal,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said.
Carroll finished the regular season with a slash line of .285/.362/.506 and an OPS+ of 134, leaving Arizona manager Torey Lovullo shaking his head in the dugout watching what he accomplished as a rookie.
“I'm like, 'I don't know how he's doing it, but I've got a front-row seat to it and I'm going to enjoy this ride,'” Lovullo said. “Maybe he's spoiled me to the level where I come to expect it and it's more natural. I think he's so mentally strong that he doesn't allow himself to get outside of what he wants to do. He was nicknamed ‘The Machine’ by our farm director, Josh Barfield. I think that should tell you where his mindset is every single day. It is awesome to watch his process.”
By winning the award, Carroll accomplishes something that his favorite player growing up, Ichiro Suzuki, also did.
Carroll, who was raised in Seattle, got to meet Ichiro when the Mariners invited Carroll to their facility for a pre-Draft workout. The picture that the two took that day, with Carroll holding up an Ichiro jersey from when he was a small child, is still the screensaver on his phone to this day.
“He inspired a young Seattle kid,” Carroll said of Ichiro. “And hopefully I can do that for the next generation.”