McCarthy looks back on rookie year: 'I found out a lot about myself'

December 22nd, 2022

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert's D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

As the season came to a close, I sat down with a number of D-backs players to get their take on their year. What did they think went well? What would they like to improve on? What changes were they planning on making during the offseason?

For lack of a better description, we'll call them exit interviews. Last week's installment was on Zac Gallen, and this week we'll hear from outfielder , who had two stints with Triple-A Reno this season before breaking out with an outstanding second half: What do you feel went well for you this year? 

McCarthy: I'm just grateful for being able to play every single day. Obviously, I got sent down twice earlier this year, and there were times earlier in the season when I was up that I wasn't really playing much. I was getting at-bats every three, four days or whatever, so I'm grateful for being sent down and getting another chance to play every day in Triple-A. I just think I found out a lot about myself through experience and learned what helps me contribute to the team most. 

The second half of the year, it's been really nice to kind of play every day and try to contribute to some wins. The back half of our season was better than the first half, so I'm just happy to be a part of the upward trend that we've had with the influx of some of the young guys. I don't really look into it too much. It's just more that I was better now than I was in April, and I think our team is better now than it was in April. So I'm grateful for that. You mentioned figuring out what helps you contribute most to the team. What did you mean by that? 

McCarthy: I think our team kind of offensively and defensively has an identity, and I think there are a lot of us who play good defense, play hard. And when I look at teams that have given us a hard time, like Cleveland or St. Louis, it just seems like -- regardless of the numbers -- they're very tough teams to play. They put together good at-bats, they play the game the right way. And I just think the more we can do that, the better we'll be. When I look around and see play or Corbin [Carroll], it's almost inspiring. It helps you kind of make you want to do your job for the guy next to you. What is something you've identified that you want to get better at this offseason? 

McCarthy: I mean, every facet of my game can get better. I know that's very broad and cliché, but I think that I could become a better outfielder. I think I could have more consistent at-bats. I think just the closer I am every day to my potential … is all you can really shoot for. I don't look at it like I want to hit .300 next year or this many home runs, because I think there are so many variables that could change that. 

I just want to be the best version of myself every single day, and when things do go south -- which they will over the course of a seven-month season -- I just want to be able to limit how long I'm not contributing. It's just trying to continue to be creative in finding ways I can impact the game.