Hops' Carroll's season ends with injury
Hillsboro Hops standout center fielder and rising Arizona Diamondbacks organization prospect Corbin Carroll's 2021 season is over.
The 2019 first round pick and consensus pick as the top prospect in Arizona's farm system will undergo shoulder surgery that will keep him out the remainder of the 2021 season. Carroll injured his non-throwing shoulder while hitting a solo home run during a May 10 game versus the Eugene Emeralds.
Hops manager Vince Harrison echoed everyone in the organization's sentiment in an interview May 17, speaking to the disappointment everyone felt for the 2019 draftee, the 16th overall pick that year, out of Seattle.
"He really thought he was going to be back, so to receive that news was really devastating," Harrison said. "It's really hard to lose a kid with so many intangibles. It's easy to see the physical skills and talent, but the way he goes about things and his affect in the clubhouse is special.
"He was very upbeat and accepting of the situation and is ready to move forward."
Carroll has hit .316 over his first 215 plate appearances in pro ball and was on fire leading up to the injury, batting .435 with a .552 on-base percentage while tallying two home runs, five RBIs and three stolen bases in 2021.
The injury, combined with last season's cancellation due to the pandemic, will mean that Carroll will have missed the bulk of two years since being drafted by the Diamondbacks.
The 20-year-old is considered by many to be one of the better minor leaguers in all of baseball. Fangraphs ranks him 20th on its top prospects list, and Carroll also ranks highly on top-100 rankings from Keith Law, Baseball America and MLB.com.
The loss of Carroll is obviously a blow to the Diamondbacks organization, but also to the Hops, who opened with a 5-7 record through two weeks. Harrison said that despite a desire to win more games, he and his staff, and players as well, understand that this season is about development, and that some rust is to be expected as the result of having roughly two years off.
"Of course you'd love to win more, but the reality is that we have guys that haven't played in over a year," Harrison said. "It's the development part that we try to keep in mind, focusing on the growth. We've had some peaks and valleys, a little bit of drama in some games, a little bit of everything, but it's been fun, because the energy has been good."
Harrison said that energy has become a calling card of this group early, citing the team's encouraging attitude towards each other as one of the big pluses from early action.
On the flip side, the manager has seen a number of his players forced to adjust to the inevitable bumps in the road that every professional athlete runs into.
"We're just two weeks in, but it's been a big learning space for a lot of guys," Harrison said. "Going through training and then they come in here, and they're going on the road, they're just realizing how the grind is."
In addition to losing Carroll, Hops star pitcher Luis Frías was rewarded for his stellar pitching with a promotion to Double-A. The 22-year-old was sent to the Amarillo Sod Poodles May 11, after allowing just one earned run in 11 innings pitched in Hillsboro this season while striking out 15.
"I'm really happy for the kid," Harrison said. "A while back, he told me he really wanted to play in the big leagues, and I told him that if he continues to grow, keeps working and learns every night, he's going to have a chance of doing so."
While Frías left, the Diamondbacks' 33rd overall pick in the 2020 draft, Slade Cecconi, made his Hops debut May 15 at Eugene, throwing four shutout innings, allowing a single hit while striking out five and walking one.
"He showed some flashes of some good stuff and had a nice mound presence," Harrison said. "I'm excited to see how it continues to go because he's got a really good arm."
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