Fantasy owners have been awaiting for the arrival of Isan Diaz, but the wait is finally over. Reports have him joining the Marlins ahead of their Monday double header with the Mets, bringing the potential to make an instant impact. The first question we have to ask, before we get to the actual upside, is where might he fit in the lineup?
Currently the Marlins are utilizing Starlin Castro at 2B and a combination of Jon Berti and Neil Walker at 3B, with Brian Anderson getting the bulk of his AB in right field. While none of those players should really be an obstacle to Diaz, the most likely scenario would have Castro shifting to 3B to open up AB at second base (or Castro simply moving to the bench).
With the opportunity seemingly there, let’s look at the numbers he’s posted at Triple-A this season:
.305 (115-377), 26 HR, 70 RBI, 89 R, 5 SB
There are a few obvious questions:
- Will the power translate to Miami?
- Can he maintain such a high batting average?
Let’s answer the second question first, or at least try to. Obviously a .349 BABIP stands out as a number likely to regress and his 11.1% SwStr% shows that he could be exposed in terms of strikeouts against more advanced pitching. While his 11.3% walk rate is promising, the other numbers indicate that he could be more of a .250-.260 hitter.
That’s supported by this scouting report, courtesy of MLB.com:
“He can get aggressive at times but his hand-eye coordination and patience should have translated into better than a .254 career average in his first five pro seasons. He did make some adjustments last year to reduce the uppercut in his left-handed stroke but they didn’t produce noticeably better results.”
While his strikeout rate is down this season, it’s easy to envision it regressing once again. If he can hit for power he can overcome it, and that is considered his strongest skill, though whether or not it translates to Miami is the biggest question. Just look at his split at Triple-A this season:
- Home – 15 HR in 168 AB (1 HR every 11.2 AB)
- Road – 11 HR in 209 AB (1 HR every 19.0 AB)
You take the road number and place it in a pitcher friendly home ballpark and we may be looking at a 20-25 HR hitter. There’s value in a middle infielder who could hit .260 with that type of power, but can we truly expect him to hit the ground running?
He could struggle initially, hitting closer to .230ish with a little bit of power. As a potential platoon player (.460 SLG against southpaws at Triple-A, compared to .637 against righties) and it’s easy to envision him failing to live up to the hype. He’s worth grabbing to see if you catch lightning in a bottle, but ultimately don’t be surprised if he struggles over the remainder of ’19 (and could lose his job at some point).
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs