The 165-lb. power-hitting speedster who's a surprise MVP favorite

June 14th, 2023

is breaking his own mold.

He looks like someone went into a baseball lab and designed a pure speedster, a player who'd hit triples and steal bases and beat out infield singles and wreak havoc.

The D-backs' 22-year-old rising star is one of the smallest players in the Majors at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds. He's one of the very fastest players in the Majors, topping Statcast's sprint speed leaderboard in 2022 and ranking in the top 5 in 2023. He has a flat, short, slashing left-handed swing that seems engineered to slap singles and let his legs put the pressure on the opposing team.

But if that's all he had, Carroll would be prime Billy Hamilton. Instead, he's also slugging like prime Joey Votto.

Carroll is one of the best all-around players in the National League right now and an MVP frontrunner alongside Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and Luis Arraez. He just took over the league lead in both Wins Above Replacement (3.3) and OPS+ (168). He has a .313/.397/.589 slash line, a .986 OPS, 13 home runs and 19 stolen bases.

By doing what he's doing, Carroll has basically taken the mantle from Trea Turner as baseball's best example of a true top-of-the-scale runner who also blasts homers. That makes him one of the most fun baseball players to watch in 2023. In Carroll, you get all the Hamilton-like game-breaking speed and you also get to see beautiful Votto-esque all-fields power along with it.

Look at the spray chart of Carroll's 33 extra-base hits this season. Someone so purely fast shouldn't be able to drive the ball to every part of the ballpark like that. It's not fair.

Carroll has five pulled home runs, five opposite-field home runs and three home runs hit straightaway. That's the type of symmetrical power you'd expect from a Votto or a Freeman or a J.D. Martinez. Not a 165-pounder who runs like the wind.

Carroll has 18 barrels and 47 bolts this season. Barrels measure elite contact -- they're balls hit with the ideal combination of exit velocity and launch angle to produce home runs and extra-base hits. Bolts measure elite speed -- they're runs at 30 ft/sec or faster, the threshold for top-tier MLB speed.

That makes for this fun Statcast nugget: Carroll's 65 combined barrels and bolts are by far the most of any National League player -- 10 more than his kindred spirit among slugging speedsters, Turner, and 20 more than his fellow MVP frontrunner, Acuña. Bobby Witt Jr. with the Royals is the only player in the Majors with a higher barrel/bolt total than Carroll.

Most combined barrels + bolts in 2023
79 -- Bobby Witt Jr. (26 barrels, 53 bolts)
65 -- Corbin Carroll (18 barrels, 47 bolts)
55 -- Trea Turner (14 barrels, 41 bolts)
52 -- Esteury Ruiz (5 barrels, 47 bolts)
48 -- Julio Rodríguez (20 barrels, 28 bolts)
45 -- Ronald Acuña Jr. (37 barrels, 8 bolts)
42 -- Mike Trout (26 barrels, 16 bolts)

Carroll is also one of just 10 players with double-digit barrels and bolts this season, along with Witt, Turner, Rodríguez, Trout, Byron Buxton, Jeremy Peña, Fernando Tatis Jr., Jose Siri and Lane Thomas.

The bolts are no surprise after Carroll led MLB with a beyond-elite 30.7 ft/sec average sprint speed in 2022. (He's at 30.2 ft/sec so far in 2023.) But Carroll's barrels to every part of the field are reflecting a rapid evolution into a complete hitter who's exceeding even his scouting reports from when he was one of MLB's top prospects.

Carroll is dangerous everywhere. He's slugging .754 when he pulls the ball, .581 when he hits it to straightaway center and 1.023 when he goes to the opposite field. Only a handful of Major Leaguers have showcased the combination of pull-side and opposite-field power this season that Carroll has.

.700+ SLG to both pull and oppo in 2023
Min. 30 batted balls to each field
Pete Alonso -- .892 to pull, .729 to oppo
Jarred Kelenic -- .803 to pull, .710 to oppo
Randy Arozarena -- .783 to pull, .829 to oppo
Corbin Carroll -- .754 to pull, 1.023 to oppo
J.D. Davis -- .700 to pull, 1.000 to oppo

Carroll is the catalyst for the first-place D-backs' offense in every way. He can beat you with his speed, but he doesn't need to. He looks like a prototypical leadoff man, but he lugs the bat of a No. 3 hitter.