The Marlins had two needs across every level in their organization. Power and left-handed hitting. This 2019 trade deadline they addressed that need aggressively by trading for Jesus Sanchez, Jazz Chisholm, and Lewin Diaz.
The 22-year-old, Diaz, was part of the deal made last Saturday with the Twins where the Marlins traded Sergio Romo, Chris Vallimont, and a PTBNL. “I feel very good. I think this is a good opportunity for me to keep rising and fulfill my dream. I took me a bit by surprise, I wasn’t expecting it. But thank god, I feel good and I feel at home,” said Diaz on being trade to the Marlins.
It was expected that Sergio Romo would be heavily marketed by the Marlins considering he was on an expiring deal and on Friday our own Craig Mish reported that the Twins had interest in acquiring the 36-year-old relief pitcher. Romo did a good job as the Marlins closer getting 17 saves in 18 opportunities along with a 3.58 ERA. Along with that, he brought a bright and enjoyable energy to the field and clubhouse.
The tough part of the deal, for the Marlins, was the addition of SP Chris Vallimont to Minnesota’s return. He was looking like a potential steal for the Marlins from the 2018 draft (selected in the 5th round) with his 3.16 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 105 1/3 innings. Fortunately for the Marlins they traded out of a strength. So, while it might sting a bit, and you can still expect Vallimont to turn into a good major league starter, the Marlins got back a lefty power hitter they wanted BADLY.
22 y/o slugger has turned offensive tools into production this year, raw power grades at 60/70. Impressed me in my live look this May. Big leaguer. #JuntosMiami
— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) July 28, 2019
Lewin Diaz is now, easily, the Marlins best first base prospect. He was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins in 2013 when he was 16 years old. Diaz broke out in 2017 in Class-A with the .292/.329/.444 with 12 home runs. After jumping onto the radar with some of the top first base prospects in all of baseball, he was promoted to High-A for the 2018 season but struggled mightily. His batting average dropped to .224 and the power also dipped, he hit just 6 home runs in 79 games that year. His season ended when he underwent surgery for a broken thumb.
In 2019 he began the year at High-A again where he was able to turn it around. Hitting .290 with 13 home runs through 57 games in the Florida State League was good enough to earn a promotion to Double-A where he was not slowed down. He hit .302 with 6 homers in 33 games until he was traded to the Marlins. “Last year I had a lot of problems, but I worked hard on the mental side of my game. I also worked on my hands a bit. Thank god, this year things have been going well,” said Diaz on the adjustments he made this year.
Here is the last home run that Lewin Díaz hit before the trade. Gets a 2-2 pitch down and in, drives it nearly 400 feet to RF.
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 28, 2019
When he was traded to the Marlins, Lewin was actually in the Blue Wahoos lineup facing their Double-A affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. “It was kind of sad, they’re part of my family. I was teammates with them for six years. But you have to understand that this is a business and I think the Marlins can give me the opportunity to play in the major leagues.” Fortunately, the transition to a new team has been made easier by the presence of a couple friends “I met Sixto last year playing against him. Cabrera and I are from the same hometown, Santiago de los Caballeros [a town in the Dominican Republic]. It’s helped me adapt easily to being on a new team.”
Sac-Fly for Lewin Diaz to drive in his first run for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. pic.twitter.com/NxqR0umUOn
— Luis Davila🌴 (@luisrdavi) July 31, 2019
Now with the Marlins, Diaz has the big leagues on his mind. “My goal this year is to finish strong and healthy. For next year, the big leagues. The goal is to keep working hard to get there as quickly as I can.” It’s not far-fetched to think he could make his goal reality since the Marlins will have to add him to the 40-man roster for 2020 to avoid losing him in the Rule-5 draft this winter. Garrett Cooper is currently ahead of Diaz on the first base depth chart for the Marlins but a combination of a strong start to 2020 and eventually being on the 40-man roster makes it easy for a call-up should it be necessary.