Lewin Diaz Sees Opportunity In Miami
Dominican first baseman Lewin Diaz, who has big raw power from the left side, doesn’t speak much English. Still, he has mastered the word "wow”.
That’s exactly how Diaz reacted when he was told that the Twins—the organization that signed him for $1.4 million as a 16-year-old in 2013—had traded him to the Marlins on July 27 for veteran reliever Sergio Romo.
"Leaving the Twins was difficult. It had been my only pro team for about six (seasons),” Diaz said in Spanish. "I knew everyone there, and everyone loved me. When I heard they traded me, wow, it was difficult to separate from my friends.”
Coincidentally, "wow” is also what many in the Marlins organization say when they see the easy power possessed by Diaz, who turned 23 on Nov. 19 and was added to Miami’s 40-man roster one day later.
In 121 games in 2019, split evenly between high Class A and Double-A, Diaz hit a career-best 27 homers.
Of all the Marlins' top prospects, Diaz has easily the best power. Only shortstop Jazz Chisholm (21 homers) and outfielder Jerar Encarnacion (16) are close.
Kevin Randle, who manages Miami’s Double-A team at Jacksonville, worked with Diaz for 31 games after the trade and came away just as impressed with his defense.
"He’s a gifted defender—graceful, fluid,” Randle said. "He works the bag well. Outstanding feet. Soft hands. Quick release with plenty of arm strength.”
Diaz could make his major league debut at some point in 2020. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound first baseman is a below-average runner, but he’s smart on the bases, Randle said.
The next step in Diaz’s evolution is to add more muscle to his lanky frame, something he said he will work on when he finishes up playing winter ball in the Dominican League.
"I think that’s going to help my power,” said Diaz, who was playing against the Marlins’ Double-A team when he got traded. "I’m grateful to the Marlins. With them, I think I can get to the majors faster.”
— In addition to Diaz, the Marlins also added five other players to their 40-man roster: shortstop Jazz Chisholm and righthanders Edward Cabrera, Humberto Mejia, Sixto Sanchez and Nick Neidert.