Carroll debuts, fuels biggest comeback in D-backs history

August 30th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Corbin Carroll's Major League debut on Monday night at Chase Field was a big personal moment for the 22-year-old outfielder from Seattle, something that he will remember for the rest of his life.

But it was also a night of celebration for the entire D-backs organization as its No. 1 prospect (third in MLB), per MLB Pipeline, got his first taste of the big leagues. It was such an important event that the organization flew the entire coaching staffs from Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno in to attend.

"It's a good day, seeing Corbin get up here," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said.

The D-backs capped the night by rallying from seven runs down to beat the Phillies, 13-7. It was the biggest comeback in franchise history, and the first time this season a team scored six runs in back-to-back innings.

Carroll got the start in right field, batting eighth, and made his presence felt. He used his speed -- sprinting down the first-base line at 31 feet per second (30 is considered elite) -- to force Phillies second baseman Jean Segura into making an error while rushing a play on Carroll's grounder in the fourth.

While it wasn't a hit -- as it was ruled an error -- it kept the inning going as the D-backs scored four more times in the first of two six-run frames to cut the deficit to 7-6.

Then, one inning later, Carroll delivered his first Major League hit: a liner into the gap in left-center field that scored a pair of runs to give the D-backs their first lead of the game at 9-7.

"I wasn't as nervous as I thought it might be or was prepared for," Carroll said. "I was just comfortable. I think playing with these guys before, playing at Chase [Field] before, I think all those are factors and it was fun to live it. I just was as conscious as [I] could be with my breathing and just making sure that I was staying calm, but it just felt like being out there with friends."

Carroll's ability to stay grounded and not be overwhelmed by circumstances, like the ones he faced Monday, is one of the reasons the D-backs were thrilled when they landed him with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

"I thought he managed the game really, really well," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's hard to walk into the situation that he was in with a lot of eyes on him, a lot of different demands on his time throughout the course of the day. And then he goes out there and has the big hit against a very tough left-handed pitcher. That to me is somebody that's prepared, was committed to the process and executed a really good plan."

Carroll started the season with Amarillo and then moved to Reno in July. It seemed inevitable that he would be called up at some point this year; the question was when it would be.

The D-backs were under no pressure to call Carroll up -- he didn't need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, and they have three outfielders playing very well at the moment.

"We felt strongly that we wanted him to come up and sort of rip this band-aid off this year, for obvious reasons, both this year and going into next," Hazen said.

The thinking is that by getting Carroll some experience this year and getting past some of the nerves and firsts, he will be more ready to win a spot on the Opening Day roster next year.

"I would hope so," Hazen said. "I would hope that playing in this environment -- the way we're playing right now, competing night after night -- to me, is a learning environment. We are in games where a mistake can cost you a game or a good play wins you a game, and those are the things we want these guys to figure out."

When he was done with all the interviews, Carroll made his way into the hallway outside the D-backs' clubhouse, where a host of family and close friends were waiting for him. It would be, he said, the thing he would probably most remember about his debut. But there was one other thing that will stick with him.

"It felt like the same process," he said. "I think what’s important to remember is sticking with that process and [letting] the results figure themselves out”