Corbin Carroll, Orelvis Martinez, Eury Perez's Quick Rises Could Lead To Big Things
There are fast tracks, there are motor speedways, and then there are the paths to the big leagues being blazed by D-backs outfielder Corbin Carroll, Marlins righthander Eury Perez and Blue Jays infielder Orelvis Martinez.
Each player will open his 2022 season at Double-A, and only Carroll is even old enough to drink. If that’s the shot, then here’s the chaser. Carroll is the oldest, but he has the least experience in pro ball.
Even under normal circumstances, the 21-year-old Carroll beginning the year in Double-A would be a fantastic sign for his future output. Given the last two seasons, however, the assignment represents a remarkable vote of confidence.
Carroll’s first season after being drafted consisted of 42 games spread between the Rookie-level Arizona League and short-season Hillsboro. Then came the pandemic. After that, Carroll moved back to Hillsboro (which had become High-A) but played just seven games before a shoulder injury ended his season.
In total, Carroll has played just 18 games outside of the complex leagues. Now, he’ll get his first shot at upper-level pitching in a league where he’s unlikely to face many pitchers younger or less experienced.
In the Eastern League, the Blue Jays signaled their willingness to challenge their own super prospect, Martinez, in an environment that will present challenges via competition and early-season weather.
Few players had a hotter stretch last season than the show Martinez put on in his final days in the Florida State League. In 26 July games, Martinez, who will play all year at 20 years old, hit a remarkable .313/.420/.798 (yes, .798), with 13 home runs.
Martinez scuffled upon moving to the High-A West, but scouts this spring were bullish on what they saw from Toronto’s latest prodigy.
There are questions about where Martinez is going to wind up defensively, but there seems to be little question from people inside and outside the organization that he’ll fit right in with the Blue Jays’ collection of young, talented hitters.
And then there is Perez, a 6-foot, 8-inch mixture of strikes, stuff and athleticism. Signed in 2019, Perez didn’t get his first official shot at pro ball until 2021, when he opened the year as the youngest player on a full-season roster.
Facing universally more experienced hitters in the Florida State League, which was employing the tight and rigid strike zone produced by the automatic ball-strike system, Perez carved. He finished his time in the FSL with a 1.61 ERA and just 32 hits allowed in 56 innings before a promotion to High-A Beloit.
There were a few more hiccups at High-A—specifically, five home runs in 22 innings—but he still racked up 26 strikeouts and walked just five before closing the season in a tantalizing matchup with top Guardians pitching prospect Daniel Espino
If he were to begin the year back at High-A, he’d still be one of the youngest pitchers at the level. To begin at Double-A, however, shows supreme confidence from a Marlins organization loaded to the, ahem, gills, with young, talented pitching prospects.
In Carroll, Martinez and Perez, the Texas, Eastern and Southern Leagues now boast a jewel whose accelerated timeline could be an indicator of wondrous things to come.