Is Corbin Carroll A Dream Fantasy Prospect?

After flying through the minors with impressive performances each step of the way, Corbin Carroll has finally reached the Majors. The 21-year-old was ranked as the Diamondbacks’ best prospect and the third best prospect in baseball, and fantasy owners having been eagerly anticipating the day he would make his MLB debut. After missing the majority of last season due to a shoulder injury, there were legitimate questions about how his performance might be affected once returning. Amazingly, Carroll has squashed any concerns, as he continued to make minor league pitchers look silly, while his power didn’t seem to deteriorate in the least.

So with both power and speed, is Corbin Carroll truly a dream fantasy prospect worthy of spending a big wad of whatever FAAB you still have left? Of course, I’m not naive enough to think he’s still available in your league. So let’s just pretend the question is whether he’ll make a big impact in fantasy leagues this year and if he’ll become a fantasy superstar in the seasons to come.

Since I like the format, I’m going to use a pros/cons list to highlight his strengths and weaknesses from a fantasy perspective.


  • Who has the power? Carroll’s got the power! He has seemingly shown much more power than his power grades (30/50 Game and 45/50 Raw) would suggest. While his entire professional career is made up of several small sample performances, he just posted mid-to-high 20% HR/FB rates at Double-A and Triple-A this season, combined with a mid-.200 ISO to mid-.300 ISO. His entire minor league career spans about a full season, and during that time, he hit 27 home runs. That feels like much more home run power than expected.
  • He’s got speed, lots of it! He earned a 70/70 Speed grade and it’s easy to see why. He has swiped a whopping 52 bases during his minor league career, including 31 between Double-A and Triple-A before his recall. Not only does he like to run, but he’s good at it! He succeeded on 88% of his attempts, which makes me optimistic that he’ll continue to run often in the Majors.
  • High BABIP marks! Again, small samples, but he hasn’t posted a BABIP below the .345 mark he recorded at Triple-A this year. I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating — while minor league BABIP marks don’t translate 1:1 to the Majors, a high minor league BABIP usually results in a higher MLB BABIP than a low minor league BABIP. The MLB BABIP will typically just be lower as league average BABIP is lower due to better defense. Carroll has justified his high BABIP marks by avoiding the pop-up, and not hitting a high rate of fly balls. He also posted a superb 27.2% LD% at Triple-A.
  • Attention OBP leaguers: Carroll is a walk machine! He has walked at a double digit rate everywhere he has played, including mid-to-high teen rates at the minor league stops he recorded at least 100 PAs at. More times on base = more stolen base opportunities and a downside cushion if his balls in play aren’t falling for hits.
  • A history of low SwStk% marks means he doesn’t swing and miss often. He posted SwStk% marks in the mid-8% range at both Double-A and Triple-A this season, so he didn’t have to sacrifice contact to tap into all that power. That is impressive.
  • He can play defense! He was slapped with a 50/60 Field grade, so poor defense isn’t going to be the reason he loses his job, if he also isn’t hitting.


  • While he has shown power and that’s most important to me, he’s apparently only 165 pounds! It’s possible, perhaps likely, that our weight measurement is outdates, as it’s hard to believe such a little guy is capable of hitting for such power. And if he is, it’s an open question whether he’ll be able to generate that same power against MLB pitcher. Not everyone can be Jose Altuve.
  • He missed the majority of last season due to an uncommon shoulder injury, so it’s possible it eventually impacts his performance, particularly if he injures it again. He might now be more prone to injuring it as a result of his first injury, and shoulder issues are notorious for sapping power.
  • He bats left-handed and could therefore potentially find himself on the strong side of a platoon, only starting against right-handed pitchers. That could cut into his counting stats. Or, he could struggle against southpaws, but continue to start against them, hampering his batting average and OBP.
  • While he hasn’t swung and missed often, he has posted low-to-mid 20% strikeout rates, which is higher than you would expect given his SwStk%. That’s likely due to his plate patience which has driven his high walk rate. I would guess he sees a lot of pitches per plate appearances and ends up running deep counts, ultimately striking out looking due to being too passive. That strikeout rate could jump into the high-20% range like THE BAT is forecasting, which would reduce both his batting average and OBP upside.

Overall, I’m rather bullish on Carroll and it seems like it’s difficult to find any flaws here. While not every top prospect hits right away upon promotion to the Majors, the power/speed upside here is oozing out and I would want to own him, regardless of league format. Feel free to spend even more if you play in an OBP league.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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1 year ago

There is also the matter of where he plays, too, right? Supposedly it’s very hitter friendly.

Who do you see losing the most time in the ARI OF or are they all going to be shuffled in and out of the lineup?

1 year ago
Reply to  ccoville

Last night it was Carroll, Thomas, and Varsho in the OF and McCarthy at DH.

OddBall Herrera
1 year ago
Reply to  ccoville

AZ is terrible for home runs:

Case in point, Carroll’s double last night would’ve been a homer in every other stadium in the league

Last edited 1 year ago by OddBall Herrera
1 year ago

Pretty sure he meant Carroll’s aaa team location in Reno.

OddBall Herrera
1 year ago
Reply to  zaphrodesiac

Oh yeah Reno is supposed to be a bandbox

OddBall Herrera
1 year ago

Actually color me surprised it is below average for homers

Though that does beg the question of if below average for the PCL still means above average for everywhere else