Twins to sign Lewin Diaz
Diaz actually played in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field last August, going 1-for-3 against many players who are older and were drafted in last month's draft. As the DH, he batted 7th in a lineup that included new Twin Brian Navaretto. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Diaz checked into the game at 6' 3", 195 pounds. Baseball Factory said this about him:
[FONT=Arial]He features excellent rhythm to hit, along with a full and loose left handed stroke. His hands are quick with what appears to be minimal effort, and he rotates his core well to extend thru and drive the ball with ease. He projects for even more power as he fills out. Defensively, he moves well and shows plenty of arm strength - the ball leaves his hand very well, and maintains the life into the target. At this event, he was only 15 years old - making his current tools even more impressive.[/FONT]
Over the last 11 months, however, opinions of Diaz, who was once considered one of the top prospect in this year's market have begin to differ.
So what's changed?
The now 16-year-old began to fill out. He's now an inch taller (6' 4") and heavier (210). After being considered an "OF", he's now considered a "1B/OF" with the likelihood being that his future home is first base. Diaz has an above-average arm, so there is some feeling that the Twins will allow him the chance to play right field (you know, because they don't have any outfield prospects).
The Twins have been enamored with Diaz for quite some time and, scouts believe, paid considerably more for his services than any other team would have. Baseball America had this nugget in their June 26 notebook:
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=Helvetica Neue]If scouts are looking at a first baseman, they want to see a dominant performance in games to justify going over $1 million, which is why some teams were surprised at word that the Twins might be willing to go beyond that mark to get Diaz signed. But if Diaz can learn to take his raw power to game situations, he could be a dangerous hitter.[/FONT][/COLOR]
With the 4th-highest pool allotment, though, the Twins have that luxury available to get the guy they wanted.
The joke many Twins fans will make is that despite Diaz showing huge power in BP, he "turns into a singles hitter in games." Scouting comparisons have included David Ortiz and Ryan Howard, both similar in body-type and left-handed power bats.
As with every 16-year-old IFA signing, Diaz is ineligible to play this season. The Twins may be aggressive with him - as they were last year with Amaurys Minier - and have him participate in Fall Instructs. That would likely lead the way towards skipping the DSL and making his pro debut next June in the GCL.
More to come...