Just because MLB.com lists only 30 top prospects of a particular organization doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a special player located outside its rankings. One such case for the Arizona Diamondbacks is infielder Isan Diaz who should be on the list come January or whenever MLB updates its rankings. As we will see, leaving Diaz off the organizational depth chart of the D-backs was probably not a wise move. Expect them to make amends in 2016.
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How he came to the organization: Diaz was selected with the 70th overall selection in the 2014 Draft from Springfield High school in Springfield, MA. This would be one spot after the Snakes took outfielder Marcus Wilson, whom we profiled recently. Diaz, a 5-foot-10, 185 pound lefty swinger, was named Baseball America’s 55th-best prospect in 2014 and was offered a scholarship to Vanderbilt before being signed by Arizona. John McGuirk of ESPN Boston wrote a profile of Diaz during his Senior year which you can read about here. As a senior, he batted .509 with a .632 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .930. He also scored 30 runs in 20 games, the number of games limited because of the northeastern climate.
Minor League career: Diaz spurned an offer from Vanderbilt and signed with the D’backs for a reported $750,000. His first taste of pro ball came with the Snakes’ Rookie League team where he received 212 plate appearances. He had 34 hits but showed solid pop with 15 extra base hits broken down as seven doubles, five triples and three home runs. After the Summer ended, Diaz ended up playing eight games for Carolina of the Puerto Rican Winter League where he came to bat only 15 times. In 2015, the 19-year old Diaz really made his mark with the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. Playing mostly at shortstop, he finished third in the league in batting average at .360, second in home runs with 13, second in hits with 98 and third in RBI’s with 51. Topping it off, he led all Pioneer League hitters with an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of 1.076.
Where he will be in 2016: Diaz and Wilson were taken one after another in the Draft and have started out in the same locations. However, Diaz has proven to be the more polished of the two. While Wilson will probably spend all of 2016 at Single A Ball, Diaz could easily find himself at Double A Mobile at some point during the season. I think the organization will like to see how Diaz does against top A Ball competition; therefore, I believe he will start the year at Visalia of the California League. I am also quite sure MLB will have him as one of the team’s top 30 prospects.