I did not expect to be writing a Carroll preview as he entered the season as a pretty solid top 7 pick unlikely to slip past 10th, but he’s looking to have slipped past 10th, less for anything he’s done wrong and more for his size, other players jumping over him and some comps to a name you’ll all recognize.
Carroll is a 5’10” 170 lbs left handed Center Fielder from Seattle, WA with a commitment to UCLA. He’s probably the best pure high school hitter in the draft; who is willing to take walks and has excellent feel for the strike zone. He’s a plus runner who uses the speed well on the basepaths and in the OF where he is a very good defensive CF. There are a ton of things I just wrote who should tip you off to the very familiar comp I mentioned in the first paragraph: Mickey Moniak. Moniak was a 6’2”, 190 lbs plus defensive CF with a commitment to UCLA when he was drafted (also, both alliterative names, though I don’t think that’s part of the comp). I’m not going to discuss Moniak anymore in this piece, but keep in mind that Moniak struck out once his Junior year in High School and only a handful of times as a Senior. Hit tools are very hard to judge for High Schoolers.
As noted above Carroll has a plus hit tool and plus speed. His power is average, but as he fills out it’s not unreasonable to think he could get to 55 or even 60 power. Some of his more optimistic comps are to Andrew Benintendi, a similarly sized player who grew into power in his early 20’s. Carroll’s defense is plus, but his arm gets rankings from fringe average to average. Similar to power, the arm strength may improve to 55 or 60 as well, it’s not going to get to the level of being a true weapon, but it will be playable in any of the OF spots.
Video courtesy of Fangraphs. Holy leg kick, Batman. Fortunately his game swing doesn’t involve his front foot going past his back leg in the kick. That said, he still has a big kick and his swing can get a bit long. He’ll need to manage throughout his career getting his foot down without getting out ahead of the ball. The swing looks repeatable for the most part and with his kick and stride, adding more loft should be achievable.
I haven’t seen anything linking the Phillies to Carroll, but he checks a lot of their boxes: athletic, up the middle defender, pacific northwest, strong hit tool. There’s a bit of safety in taking a College player, as you’re relying less on projecting development. Of course, the problem is that you’re projecting less development. A College first round pick is almost certain to be successful up to at least AA, but High Schoolers can flame out long before when tools don’t develop, or even regress. If you take Carroll, you have to accept that risk and hope that you get rewarded with a 60 grade or better player.