TD Top Prospects: #10 Lewin Diaz
Age: 20 (DOB: 11/19/96)
2015 Stats (Rk): 46 G, .310/.353/.575, 9 HR, 37 RBI
2016 Ranking: 18
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: NR | MLB: NR | ESPN: NR | BP: NR
What’s To Like
With the exception of Daniel Palka (our 14th-highest rated prospect in the system), Diaz represents the only source of raw power on Twins Daily’s top prospect list. While the long ball potential is substantial, the baseball industry has started to devalue the power-only players. Teams no longer place a premium on dingers, as evidenced by the offseason employment plight of Chris Carter and former Twins prospect Adam Walker (11th on our list in 2016). With his size, Diaz’s career is limited to a first base or designated hitter role but he has shown signs of being more than an all-or-nothing type of hitter like Walker. Admittedly it was only rookie ball, but Diaz’s .310 average is a mark that Walker never even came close to matching. The Twins believe that Diaz may also be able to provide batting average value (for whatever that’s worth) as well as avoid making regular outs.
What’s Left To Work On
Despite teeming with raw power potential, Diaz hasn’t applied that much in game action until this past season when he hit nine home runs in 187 plate appearances as a 19-year-old in the Appalachian League. That is not out of the norm for prospects -- especially at his age -- but there are some indications that a few tweaks for Diaz could tap into that talent. Big and strong, Diaz’s swing has a solid foundation but his current barrel path doesn’t necessarily lead to towering fly balls which translate into huge home run totals.
When the Twins signed him as a 16-year-old in 2013, Baseball America said that Diaz struggled to “tap into that power in game situations”. The swing is level down to and through the ball and results in plenty of base hits but his power is limited to almost exclusively his pull side. That's not a bad thing, but with his size you would like to see a few more towering flies to the alleys as opposed to just at the right field foul pole. There is time to develop that swing.
Diaz has yet to play over 50 games in a season so that will be his first challenge in 2017. The second is just continuing to produce like he did last year. Remember: At 20 years old this season, Diaz has plenty of time to develop as a player. However, as a 2013 signee, he is starting to get to the point where the Twins will need to consider adding him to the 40-man roster, which makes 2017 an important season.