Carroll Leads Elite Group

November 16th, 2023 by Kevin

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Entering the 2023 DTBL Draft back in March, many believed this was going to be one of the stronger rookie classes in recent memory.  Eight months later, that belief has been pretty much validated.  Three of the league’s top five finishers in Batting PAR this season were DTBL rookies.  Two of the top five in Pitching PAR as well, including a relief pitcher whose cohorts rarely sniff the top of that leaderboard.  All five of those rookies figure to be top contenders not only for this Rookie of the Year award, but Most Valuable Player and Cy Young as well.  If these players continue to perform at this level, this could go down as the best rookie class in league history.  Only one could win the league’s top rookie honor though.  As quite possibly the primary reason why the Demigods were able to win their first ever DTBL Championship, it is not a surprise that outfielder Corbin Carroll is the 2023 DTBL Rookie of the Year.

Following a short stint in the big leagues to close out the 2022 season, Carroll retained his MLB rookie eligibility and entered this season as the NL Rookie of the Year favorite, an award he would go on to win handily.  Known for his speed and modest power, Carroll exceeded almost all reasonable expectations for his first full season.  He swiped 54 bases, ranking second in the league behind Ronald Acuna.  He hit .285 with 25 home runs, 76 runs batted in and 116 runs scored.  As mentioned in the Demigods’ championship article, Acuna and Carroll became just the second and third players in DTBL history to steal 50+ bases with 25+ home runs in a single season.  The other was Hanley Ramirez in 2007 with the Mavericks in what happened to be his DTBL rookie season as well (he also won ROY that year).  While stolen bases absolutely exploded across the league this season, Carroll still stood well above most of his peers in that regard.

The Demigods managed to land a franchise altering talent with the eighth pick of the draft.  That’s not to say that many of the teams who picked ahead of them are kicking themselves for their selections, because most of the players picked ahead of Carroll had outstanding seasons in their own right.  But Carroll was the perfect fit for a Demigods squad that needed an offensive boost.  He led the team in Batting PAR and stolen bases, accounting for about a quarter of the team’s totals in both of those categories.  No chance the Demigods would have finished anywhere near second place in stolen bases without him, and he helped them considerably in the other four offensive categories as well.  Carroll was a welcomed addition to a team that has had pretty much the same high caliber infield mix for quite some time, but had been a bit short on impact outfielders.  Along with teammate Freddie Freeman, Carroll should receive serious consideration for Most Valuable Player as well.

The Rookie of the Year vote was quite interesting.  All ten ballots had the same five players on them.  There were plenty of other players who did not receive a single vote that would have been serious contenders most other years: American League Rookie of the Year winner Gunnar Henderson and his Orioles teammate Adley Rutschman, just to name two.  So while the ballots were consistent on the five players chosen, they were wildly different on which of the five received which vote.  Carroll was the convincing top choice, receiving six first place votes and three seconds for a total of 86 points.  The only other player to receive multiple first place tallies was Darkhorses pitcher Spencer Strider.  Strider led the league with 281 strikeouts, beating every other pitcher by more than 40 whiffs.  He also led the league with 20 wins, three more than the next best.  He received a pair of first place votes for this award, along with two seconds and five thirds, for a total of 62 points.  Right behind him is Mavericks shortstop Bobby Witt Jr, who actually had very similar numbers to Carroll.  Witt had five more homers (30) than Carroll and five fewer stolen bases (49).  Not sure we’ve ever simultaneously had a pair of rookies who packed so much punch with their elite stolen base totals.  Witt got one first place vote, three seconds and four thirds, finishing with 57 points.  The fourth and final player to receive a first place vote is Diamond Dogs outfielder Julio Rodriguez.  The first overall pick in the draft had a season that would have made him a lock for this award most years.  Rodriguez led all rookies with 32 home runs while stealing 37 bases as well.  He and Witt are the first rookies to join the 30/30 club since Acuna did it in 2019.  In this vote, Rodriguez was hurt by receiving just three top three votes:  one first and a pair of seconds.  That gave him a total of 43 points.  Finally, the fifth player who appeared on every ballot is Darkhorses reliever Felix Bautista.  The Mountain had one of the most dominant reliever seasons of all time, not just among rookies.  He saved 33 games while accumulated 110 strikeouts in just 61 innings, with a 1.48 ERA.  Unfortunately, he succumbed to an elbow injury in late August and will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season.  Bautista only received fourth and fifth place votes, placing him fifth with 12 points.

Click here to view the full voting results.

The tentative schedule for announcing the other two awards is next Monday, November 20th for Cy Young and Wednesday the 22nd for Most Valuable Player.  Expect to see all five of these Rookie of the Year vote receivers in the mix for one of those awards as well.

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