The Marlins may have gotten their best first base prospect in years when they acquired Lewin Diaz last season.
The move didn’t strike me as a big move at the time, but after the slugger joined the Marlins minor league system, it was clear the team may have won the trade even before Diaz took a step onto the field at Marlins Park.
Diaz was named to the Top 10 first base prospects by MLB.com’s Jim Callis this past week, something that once again proves the front office is building the minor league system and future with players who will eventually rake on the next level.
"“It will be almost impossible for any of our current top-rated first-base prospects to match the immediate impact of the player who headlined our top 10 list from a year ago,” Callis writes. “Pete Alonso, the lone first baseman on our overall Top 100 last preseason, set an MLB rookie record with 53 homers in 2019.”"
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If the Marlins can get half of those numbers and consistent hitting from Diaz, they will be happy. Solid play on the bag will be welcomed as well.
Diaz is currently ranked 12th in the team’s top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline. At 6’4″ and 225 pounds, he is an imposing figure who’s power will help the Marlins down the road. Miami hit just 146 home runs in 2019 – dead last in the Majors.
"Per his scouting report, “Diaz’s value lies in his offensive potential from the left side of the plate. He had shown an ability to make consistent contact and drive the ball to all fields in the past, though lost his way in 2018.“He rediscovered his stroke in 2019 and is starting to tap into his tremendous raw power, especially to the pull side, setting a career-high in home runs. Even when Diaz struggled, he kept his strikeout rate low and never really tried to sell out for power. A below-average runner, Diaz will be a first baseman only and should be capable enough to not be a liability there.”"
The 22-has plenty of room to grow. He was ranked sixth on Callis’s list of rising stars and is expected to make the team’s roster at some point in 2020. He may not make the Marlins roster out of Spring Training, but a mid-season call-up is possible with a definite move to the Majors after the MLB Trade Deadline.
"“A year ago, Diaz was coming off a disastrous Double-A season during which he slugged .344 in 79 games in high-Class A before breaking his right thumb,” Callis adds. “He rediscovered his power in 2019, climbing to Double-A and slamming 27 homers, including eight in August after the Marlins acquired him as part of the Sergio Romo trade.”"