After stealing 23 bases to go along with eight homers and a .283 average in just 99 games last season, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Jake McCarthy was a trendy pick in fantasy baseball drafts this spring, with an ADP just outside the top 100 overall.
Just a few weeks into the 2023 season, it’s safe to say owners who paid that price are probably having some regrets. The D-backs optioned McCarthy down to Triple-A on Tuesday afternoon, the culmination of a startling slump in which the lefty hit just .143 with a single homer and two steals in 22 games.
The Diamondbacks sent down slumping outfielder Jake McCarthy, optioning him to Triple-A Reno. https://t.co/GbCfqXameE— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 25, 2023
Despite McCarthy’s struggles, this seems like an awfully quick hook. Arizona has plenty of bodies in the outfield between Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll and Pavin Smith, but Thomas has struggled badly in his own right, while Gurriel and Smith are stretched defensively even in a corner spot. Plus, there were signs under the hood that McCarthy was starting to turn it around: The outfielder had cut his strikeout rate, upped his walk rate and had a miserable BABIP of .160, suggesting that his approach at the plate was fine and he just needed some batted-ball regression.
The D-backs decided that he needed a trip to Triple-A to restore his confidence, and who knows, maybe raking in the hitter’s paradise of Reno for a week or two will do him some good. Owners in most leagues obviously can’t continue to roster McCarthy right now, but keep him on your watch list in case he starts making noise in the Minors. In the meantime, if you suddenly have a hole to fill in the outfield, we’ve got you covered: