Marlins: Isan Diaz is a man on a baseball mission

Marlins second baseman Isan Diaz is doing whatever he has to do to prove he can be an everyday second baseball in the Majors.

Sometimes, a player’s production in the minor leagues does not always translate to instant success on the Major League level. The Marlins second baseman Isan Diaz started his career with the parent club in sparkling fashion – a home run against two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom – which he hit while his father was being interviewed by the Marlins broadcast staff. But his body of work is still unfinished and needs some polish.

As he prepares this offseason for Spring, Training, the young second baseman is treating what is in front of him as something to prove not only to the Marlins organization but to himself in what should be his first full season in the majors.

“I’ve got a job to win,” Diaz said via MLB.com. “I’m going into Spring Training with the mentality to win a job, and to work hard every day, and to continue grinding.”

The Marlins did make his job a bit easier by not picking up the final year of Starlin Castro’s contract which would have paid him $16 million. It’s a good bet the front office does seek another veteran bat to make the opening day roster to provide depth in the infield, but for now, the job is the 23-year-olds to lose. And from the looks of things, he plans to have a stranglehold on it for the foreseeable future.

A breakout 2019 season at Triple-A New Orleans made Isan Díaz one of the top prospects in baseball,” writes Joe Frisaro. “The left-handed-hitting second baseman belted 26 home runs in the Minor Leagues, and his standout performance propelled him onto MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list.”

The Marlins infield could look a bit different from last season with Castro playing somewhere else, the third base job probably going to Brian Anderson (unless the team signs a big-name free agent) and the first base still a job open for several players. Shortstop is a given with Miguel Rojas returning after signing a contract extension.

Miami is counting on Diaz to continue to find his swing that terrorized Pacific Coast League pitchers last season.

Diaz was originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He was the 70th overall selection. After moving on to Milwaukee in 2016 as part of a trade, he was part of the mega-deal that sent Christian Yelich to play for the Brewers in 2018.

Now, he is being thought of as one of the cornerstone pieces of the Marlins organization.

As Frisaro points, out, “As part of his offseason preparation, Diaz plans to play winter ball in Puerto Rico before Spring Training starts in mid-February.”

And even before that happens, he has focused on keeping himself in shape mentally and physically by working at the Marlins training complex in Jupiter, Florida.

It’s a game plan that Diaz and the Marlins hope will translate to bigger and better things in 2020. He has to be more patient at the plate and work on his defense. Those are fundamentals that can be learned. Swinging a bat and aiming at the fences with consistency is something Diaz will learn as he spends more time in the Majors.