Puckett’s Pond’s Minnesota Twins 2018 Top-40 Prospects: #21-25
#23 Lewin Diaz, 1B, Fort Myers Miracle (Injured)
Nate’s Rank: 18, Gary’s Rank: 30
Lewin Diaz fractured his right thumb in late July and required season-ending surgery. He signed with the Twins in 2014 at the age of 17 for a $1.4 million dollar bonus and stayed home in Santo Domingo that season playing in the Dominican Summer League. Now still only 21 years of age through five seasons, his career has had its ups and downs as the average age of his opponents have been older than him by a range of 1.3 to 2.5 years.
Diaz started producing in 2016 with the rookie league Elizabethton Twins. He hit 9 home runs, with a slash line of .310/.353/.575 in 174 at-bats. Advancing to A-level Cedar Rapids in 2017, he earned a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team, finishing the season with 12 home runs and a line of .329/.444/.773.
Diaz came into the 2018 season solidly ranked among the top-25 Twins prospects. Minor League Ball ranked him #9 on the club. MLB.com has him ranked 19th, with an overall future value rating of 45 on the 20-80 scale. They have this to say about the left-hander:
"…Over the past two seasons, he’s shown an ability to make consistent contact and drive the ball to all fields. He has tremendous raw power that he is still learning to tap into and it has been really encouraging that he has kept his strikeouts low and hasn’t sold out to try to hit the ball over the fence…"
FanGraphs ranks Diaz 34th, with a future value of 40. They note this:
"He’s had plus raw power most of that time but has chosen not to sell out for power in his swing, instead focusing on working as a more well-rounded hitter. Diaz has above-average bat control, so there are the tools here for above-average offense"
Diaz was left unprotected last winter in the 2017 Rule-5 draft. Though considered a valuable prospect, the combination of his young age, lower level A status, and defensive limitation to first base made it unlikely that another team would attempt to carry him on a major league team for a full season.
Things went south for Diaz in 2018 as he got his first taste of advanced A-level baseball in Fort Myers. He finished the season with a slash line of .224/.255/.344. and an OPS of .598. He hit for extra bases only 20 times in 294 at-bats, including six home runs and 35 RBI’s. Diaz struck out 56 times, drawing just ten walks. He finished his season in a slump, hitting just .161/.194/.232 in July.
Lewin Diaz will most likely be back at Fort Myers to start the 2019 season. It’s important to remember that he will only be 22 years old, still younger than his average competitor at the advanced-A level. 2018 was rough, but he had put together two very solid seasons previously after struggling through his first stint at Elizabethton in 2015. There is a lot of untapped potential here. Patience is the key.