Corbin Carroll’s full circle All-Star moment

The All-Star game is always special for any player, especially when it’s their first one. For Diamondbacks rookie Corbin Carroll it’s extra special because he’ll be starting in the outfield and batting eighth in the stadium he grew up admiring.

Carroll was raised in Seattle, playing high school baseball at Lakeside which is 11 miles away from what is now known as T Mobile Park. He was a four-year varsity starter. 

Most big leaguers were high school stars and there usually isn’t any question about that potential from them. Carroll may have been small in high school, but his MLB potential was always there according to his high school coach Kellen Sundin.

On Saturday July 8, I sat with Sundin at Chase Field to watch Carroll and the Diamondbacks play the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Corbin Carroll, you’ve seen him grow over the years (literally and physically as well), did you ever imagine you’d see him playing in the big leagues when you first coached him as a freshman starter on varsity?

“I mean you don’t think about this at all with 14 year olds, so no haha. But I knew he was special. He came in to Lakeside weighing maybe 130 pounds soaking wet, but he had some big tools when he showed up. When I first saw him play baseball freshmen year, he always had pretty big power and of course he’s always been able to run… I knew how good of a player he could become because of how seriously he took the sport, his work ethic, and development. I knew he was going to play for some coaches after me.”

Usually we ask about what a coach taught his player, but what did Corbin Carroll teach you when he was a high schooler?

“Honestly there’s a lot of things, I haven’t really thought about that before… he gave me a good example of what a future big leaguer looks like. I didn’t know it at the time but the way he carried himself to go along with all the tools he had, really showed me what to look for when talented guys are in high school… I’m never going to have a player like him again.”

*First pitch happens*

It sounds like he was not only your best player, but he was a great leader. What was it about him that really separated himself as a leader and not just a great player?

“Corbin always got the best out of our guys. He would do everything right so no one wanted to disappoint him. He would do whatever was asked of him and he always set a good example for the rest of the program. His impact as a leader is still felt in our program to this day despite him graduating in 2019.”

What was draft night like for you when Corbin was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks?

“That spring was a unique high school season for us and it was really long. It was the first time I experienced a major league presence at a majority of our games since scouts were locked in on him [Corbin Carroll], so it was a lot… By the time draft night came around it was amazing, it was a culmination of the year. We knew he’d be a first rounder, but there was a great sense of relief when he was selected by Arizona. It was a small gathering but the moment was one of the best things we all experienced and I was so glad to be apart of it.”

Do you two keep in contact regularly?

“Yes, we text all the time. He mostly checks in on how our season was going and certain guys he knows, but we talk all the time. Every winter he comes back to Seattle and trains, so I see him then and he comes around our guys from time to time to. His mom actually still comes to a lot of our games even though his sister goes to another school, so we’re still pretty close with the family… He’s a Seattle guy, he has so much pride about that. He’s always going to come around because he loves Seattle.”

***The Diamondbacks force the Pirates to go three and out***

Speaking of loving Seattle, I mean what perfect timing to get his first All-Star nod when it’s being played in Seattle. What’s it going to be like to see him take the field there?

“This is pretty early for him to make it. You can do the math this is probably the only All-Star game he’ll get to play in Seattle throughout his whole career so it’s really special. I’ll be there, his family and friends will be there, and I’m sure he’ll put on a show. I don’t allow him to surprise me with his accomplishments anymore, but this is a big one to be able to play on that field. We had a couple chances to play there during his high school years, but we never quite got there for championships.”

***Carroll is on deck, Sundin starts to watch his practice swings***

Do you get emotional or dialed in when you have the chance to watch him play on tv or in person like today?

“Not really, I know he’s going to do well. I love watching him play. He’s going to be good no matter what happens so I just enjoy getting to watch him, without getting emotional. There’s big moments where I get super hyped up and invested.” (SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF STORY FOR MORE ON THAT).

***Carroll pops out to center field***

Last thing I want to dive into, do you have any stories about Corbin that stand out to you whether they’re on the field or off in high school?

“There’s a lot of game stuff that was big. In the state tournament as a freshman in the first round, Corbin Carroll hit a three-run homer against the heavy favorite and we pulled off the upset. That kind of put him on the scene early…. there’s a somewhat viral movement of him in his senior year where he’s trying to call time and it’s not given to him, but he blasts his second home run of that playoff game to give us the lead, all our guys loved that moment.”

I left the game after the second inning. It went in to extras, before Carroll hit a walk-off single. Sundin simply texted me “Clapped for that one.”

The All-Star Game in Seattle is a big day for Carroll and all he knew him when he was still in high school.