For a team that was basically eliminated from World Series contention on Opening Day, there's a lot riding on tonight's Dbacks game.
That's because the top prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system and the top prospect in baseball according to most, Corbin Carroll, is making his big league debut. The 22 year old has torched minor league pitching all season and will now get a chance to light a fire in the Dbacks major league lineup.
Not only is Carroll going to be expected to fulfill the promise that comes along with being the top prospect in baseball, he will be expected to reanimate a Dbacks franchise that has been lifeless since they unceremoniously dumped the beloved Paul Goldschmidt. The put it bluntly, Corbin Carroll has to be good enough to get people interested in the Dbacks again and be good enough to keep their attention through the offseason and next year's spring training and into next year.
That's a lot. But its not unheard of. Carroll's hype got me thinking about the history of hyped rookies in Phoenix sports history. Here's my list of the 5 most hyped rookies and the wildly different results they would go on to have.
Top 5 Most Hyped Rookies
- 5. Josh Jackson
The hype was built around the Suns outmaneuvering Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics to prevent Jackson from working out for the Celtics, who owned the #1 (and then #3 pick). Jackson was a can't miss prospect from a blue blood program who fell into the Suns lap at the exact time they needed him to. And then he quickly flamed out.
- 4. Kyler Murray
A different kind of buzz for Kyler. The Cardinals had just drafted Josh Rosen the year before, then hired fired college head coach Kliff Kingsbury only to spend weeks denying their interest in drafting Kyler Murray only to draft Kyler Murray. The buzz around Kyler was more of an anxious buzz, but it was there and would get louder by the time the season rolled around.
- 3. Amar'e Stoudemire
Stoudemire started as an enigmatic mystery and ended up a legend. Back in 2002, it was still considered a huge risk to take a high schooler in the top of the first round, let alone one with Stoudemire's unpredictable background. Yet the Suns did, watched as his unleashed his ferocity on unsuspecting dudes in the preseason and the rest is STAT history.
- 2. Matt Leinart
It felt like it was too good to be true because it was. Leinart was the most famous quarterback for one of the most famous college football teams ever. He was handsome, gifted and proven. And then he became and Arizona Cardinal. After an offseason of unbridled local hype, Leinart would fail to win the starting job as a rookie, eventually give way to Kurt Warner and throw only 15 career touchdown passes.
- 1. Justin Upton
Justin Upton was the kind of player and prospect that ALWAYS ended up on other teams and not a Phoenix team. He was the generational, can't miss prospect who would immediately transform a franchise. At this point the Suns had never had the #1 overall pick, the Cardinals were much more well known for their draft failures and the Coyotes were still importing veterans as their primary source of talent. Enter Justin Upton. He was a new generation's Ken Griffey Jr. He was the superstar that would be a homegrown version of Charley Barkley. He was here to make Phoenix relevant in all the ways it had never been as a sports city. And he kind of succeeded and kind of failed. That's the story of Justin Upton.