Replacing a fan favorite is never an easy task, especially when said star is Arizona Diamondbacks leftfielder David Peralta.
Jake McCarthy returned to leftfield when Peralta, whose nickname is the Freight Train, was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in late July after nine years with the team.
In the first game following the transaction, McCarthy ripped a double and did a mopey version of Peralta’s trademark move. It was a scene that went viral.
“David’s our guy,” McCarthy said.
“I did it the day he got traded and kind of forgot he got traded, and I was thinking shoot, he’s not here to see it.”
McCarthy has been an impact player for the D-backs since being called up in the middle of July. McCarthy is hitting .284/.348/.439 to go along with eight home runs and 41 RBIs this season as of September 28.
The youthful outfield, which also features the likes of Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll and Stone Garrett, has garnered headlines for its strong defensive moves.
The 25-year-old from Scranton, Pennsylvania, said the group knows each other well, as they spent time preparing for their major league careers in the D-backs farm system.
“It’s been a lot of fun playing with these guys. I’ve been playing with Alek, Corbin and Stone for many years, so it’s been cool to be in the system with them,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy is about as athletic as they come. He holds the Scranton High School records for rushing yards, 6,080; season, 2,105; and game, 351.
He is also the school’s all-time touchdown leader in history with 80; the season, 30; and game, 5.
He’s following in his family’s footsteps. His father, Joe Jr., played baseball at the University of South Carolina and was drafted three times.
McCarthy’s brother, Joe Jr., also played baseball at the University of Virginia from 2013 to 2015.
He made his Major League debut with the Giants in 2020.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are on track to have their best season since 2019 and McCarthy attributes the D-backs’ success to the familiarity he feels throughout the clubhouse.
“It always seems like when you have success it’s better to do it with guys who you know pretty well and care for on and off the field,” McCarthy said.