PHOENIX – Perhaps not quite a premonition but intuition.
That’s how Arizona Diamondbacks’ outfielder Corbin Carroll described the National League rookie-of-the-year award he gathered Monday night. Given his natural abilities, robust work ethic, and commitment, Carroll was considered a serious candidate before the 2023 season began.
While his reputation was formed, Carroll said a confidence level was created and he was aware of the road ahead.
“I will not lie, the rookie-of-the-year situation was on my mind,” Corbin said Monday night in a session with reporters. “That was important because if I did my job, there would be a direct benefit to my team.”
Quickly, the 23-year-old demonstrated skills that Diamondbacks officials gleaned and ready to unleash to the rest of the baseball world. With speed to pressure defense on the bases and the ability to track baseballs in the outfield at a devastating rate, Carroll instantly became the Arizona catalyst. Whether slotted as the lead-off hitter or behind Ketel Marte, Carroll’s value was immediate.
Breaking out of the gate, the native of Seattle hit .309 through the opening month and solidified his presence as a significant force. Leveling off at mid-season, Carroll came back to hit .311 through the critical month of September.
Given Carroll’s presence in the line-up, the Diamondbacks seemed to ride his coattails. After hitting that .309 by May 1, his team pushed out to a 16-13 mark and first place in the National League West division.
At the conclusion, Carroll put numbers that have not been matched in the history of the game. For the 2023 season, Carroll became the first rookie in MLB history with 25 home runs and 50 stolen bases. As well, he became the first player in the history of the game to record 10 or more triples, 25 or more home runs and steal more than 50 bases in one season.
For the 2023 campaign, Carroll topped his club in hits (161), triples (10), runs scored (116), stolen bases (54), batting average (.2850, slugging percentage (.506) and OPS (.868).
Given this portfolio, Carroll recognized the image that was created. Coming from an Irish father and his mom born in Tawain, Carroll said he was especially sensitive to the accomplishments of Ichiro Suzuki, who finished with 4,367 hits across careers in the United States and Japan.
“The award means a lot to me because Suzuki captured the American League rookie-of-the-year award (in 2001),” he said. “I looked up to him and watching him, I was given inspiration as a Settle kid. His goal was not to have a weakness and I am influenced by that.”
Given the award, Carroll pointed out he hopes to use the honor to reach out.
“Ichiro’s desire each night was to attack the game,” Corbin added. “Hopefully, I can follow and inspire the next generation. I want to have the ability to impact the game and as an Asian kid, to give 100 percent as Ichiro did.”
More on the award … the American League rookie of the year went to Gunnar Henderson of Baltimore. The native of Selma, Ala. hit .255 with 28 home runs and drove in 82 runs. Cleveland pitcher Tanner Bibee was second and Triston Casas of Bostin was third. … in the National League, Mets’ right-hander Kodai Senga finished second to Carroll and James Outman of the Dodgers finished third. … Both Carroll and Henderson were the unanimous choice and the fifth time since the awards were first presented in 1947 that there are unanimous choices in both leagues.