After placing outfielder Cesar Puello on the injured list, the Marlins are prepared to call up minor-league second baseman Isan Diaz to make his Major League debut, per Craig Mish of FNTSY Sports Radio. Diaz is already on the 40-man roster. Mish would add in a later Tweet that Lewis Brinson has also been recalled from Triple-A.
Diaz, 23, joined the Marlins as one of the pieces in the package that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. Diaz is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins’ fifth-best prospect and No. 86 in all of baseball. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com tout his raw power as his carrying skill, with his “bat speed and the strength in his compact frame translating into hard-hit balls to all fields.” However, it bears mentioning that there will be some pressure on the bat to produce, given his unremarkable defense and baserunning. If his Triple-A numbers are to be believed, there’s plenty of reason to believe in the power and overall offensive potential: Diaz has slugged 26 home runs this year, not to overlook a pretty .305/.395/.578 batting line. Though his strikeout numbers are high, he’s sporting a tidy 12.3% walk rate in his minor league career, which began in 2014 when the D-Backs made him a second-round draft choice.
On the diamond, second base looks like the best spot for Diaz, and the keystone might be the smoothest fit on the Major League roster. With Brian Anderson playing right field, the Marlins could give Starlin Castro a look at third base, leaving the door open for Diaz to get regular at-bats at second.
Diaz’s promotion to the big leagues may put him on the vanguard of a burgeoning Miami farm system that added touted 21-year-olds Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez at the trade deadline. FanGraphs ranks the Marlins’ farm as the fifth-best in baseball, and it’s stocked with a number of high-ceiling, volatile athletes who will determine the precise timeline of Miami’s rebuild. Either way, the organizational depth is a massive improvement over its state after dealing Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and Marcell Ozuna, all of whom brought arguably light returns.
Given Lewis Brinson’s struggles, Diaz may be the piece to salvage the much-maligned Yelich trade, which has already returned some value to the Marlins in the form of promising rookie Jordan Yamamoto. If Brinson’s results to date are representative of his true talent, Diaz may end up being the headliner of Miami’s return, though the verdict is still out on Monte Harrison, who has yet to debut.
The book’s not closed on Brinson, either: since his demotion, the 25-year-old has played 81 games at Triple-A, where he’s swatted 16 home runs and posted an overall .871 OPS. He’s managed a solid 9.4% walk rate in that same span, a skill that has completely vanished in his stints in the Majors. Just 25 years old, there’s still time to show that he can carry that success to the Major League level, but early returns have made the acquisition look like a misstep.