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  • Twins to sign Lewin Diaz

    As happens every July 2nd, teams begin to announce deals with "International Free Agents". This year is no different and the Twins made an early splash, signing Dominican 1B/OF Lewin Diaz as well as four others, according to Doogie Wolfson. (Seth has learned that they have reached agreements with several players, including Diaz, but it is still pending a physical and MLB approval)

    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.

    Diaz checked into the game at 6' 3", 195 pounds. Baseball Factory said this about him:

    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.
    (Rinaldi Photos)

    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:

    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.
    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...
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins sign Lewin Diaz started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 43 Comments
    1. AM.'s Avatar
      AM. -
      I think it is obvious this Diaz kid will be the best Intl FA signed this year. Why is it not obvious to everyone else here?
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Maybe it's just me, but I never hear much about international pitchers being signed for good money. Or it could be that the Twins never get a pitcher as the centerpiece of these signings. I don't think foreign pitchers make up a good pool of the MLB though, so I'm not really complaining. Felix Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez (for a time) are a few I'm familiar with, but not many other names come to mind.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      This signing period doesn't end until June 15, 2014 and many guys haven't turned 16 yet.
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but if they haven't turned 16 by July 1, they can't be signed until next July 2 (or whichever July date it is)?
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      6'3 195? Same size Sano is LISTED at. And he's a power hitter? Hmmm.. Granted his signing bonus was half of what Sano's was and there's probably zero chance he'd ever be near the prospect, but I see what the Twins are doing here. Even a poor man's Sano is a good thing.
    1. 2wins87's Avatar
      2wins87 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Typical Twins signing, they take the cheap route. I mean they have cut 40+ million in payroll the last few years so they have saved a ton of money so why not spend all of your pool and then some ot get one of the top 5 players?
      Quote Originally Posted by tcarlic View Post
      @Red Bull - I feel the same way. I don't care about the cut payroll, but when you have one of the highest amounts of money to spend on the international market, you go with the 10th best prospect? Disappointed. Sign a top guy.

      The point of the pool isn't to blow it all on one guy for no reason. Here are the players that have signed for more than Diaz's $1.4 million so far this year:

      Jose Almonte - TEX - $1.8 million
      Gleyber Torres - CHC - $1.7 million
      Micker Zapata - CHW = $1.6 million

      There are a few top prospects left still, so this list will get a bit longer. But clearly the Twins aren't being cheap, they are signing the guy who they believe is the best.

      Earlier today it was reported that the Rangers wanted to trade for some of the Twins international pool but the Twins turned them down because they intend to spend all of it. So it sounds like they intend on doing exactly what you want and yet you are still on here complaining.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      No reason to complain really unless you know quite a bit about these guys. This isn't like the Rule IV draft, these guys are largely unknown. If you look at the various rankings "experts" have of these guys you'll see they are in no way similar, and how could they be? None of these experts have the resources to see all these guys play in person; I'd wager that most of their knowledge comes from second hand intel and shoddy video.

      Besides, MLB has Diaz ranked 10th, would people feel better about not getting their 4th ranked player if the Twins also signed Perez who is ranked 9th?

      Regarding Diaz, he excites me because reading between the lines, he is not a one tool player. The reports I've seen all say his size indicates the power will come, but actually at this point he is actually just a very strong hitter.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      In addition to different rankings by different teams and online 'scouts' I also think it is better to sign many guys in the 500K-1M range than just targeting the top guy. So far the Twins have one of the top guys and they have signed 1 more mid range guy with enough bonus money for 3 more mid range guys.

      One reason that I think the Twins zero'd in on Diaz is that he fits the classic slugger profile. The might lack MI and SP'ing prospects but they don't have a lot of classic slugger prospects either. Everyone on the team doesn't need to be able to sprints...
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      Maybe on their board he was. Twins had Stewart at #2.
      And every other team had the big 3 rated above Stewart.
      So does that make us smarter or dumber then the rest?
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but if they haven't turned 16 by July 1, they can't be signed until next July 2 (or whichever July date it is)?
      I'm pretty sure the cut off is September 1.
    1. Vervehound's Avatar
      Vervehound -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      I'm pretty sure the cut off is September 1.
      but if a prospect hasn't turned 16 yet, they'll have to wait till his birthday to sign him. case in point is luis heredia who the pirates had to wait till August to sign a couple years back.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      And every other team had the big 3 rated above Stewart.
      So does that make us smarter or dumber then the rest?
      Smarter. Duh.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      My beef is we have several players who will end up being 1b DH types,
      Once again we missed taking the best shortstop or pitcher avalible.
      The cubs signed the top 2 rated players, while we use the toilet bowl affect. sign a bunch of crappy players and hope 1 of the turds floats to the top of the bowl

      And sickening comments like this is why some of us defer from coming to this site more often, even though the guys running this site provide fantastic information to the Twins community. If you can't be civil, please refrain from commenting.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vervehound View Post
      but if a prospect hasn't turned 16 yet, they'll have to wait till his birthday to sign him. case in point is luis heredia who the pirates had to wait till August to sign a couple years back.
      Correct. And the Encarnacion in this year's class, same boat. (Though agreements are made before the birthday.)
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Rumors has it that the Padres and Mayky Perez are working on a deal. Wasn't he one of the Twins targets?
    1. maxisagod's Avatar
      maxisagod -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      Rumors has it that the Padres and Mayky Perez are working on a deal. Wasn't he one of the Twins targets?
      Link?
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmb0252 View Post
      Rumors has it that the Padres and Mayky Perez are working on a deal. Wasn't he one of the Twins targets?
      Target of many teams, viewed as one of top two Dominican pitchers by Twins. Jesse Sanchez tweeted it.
    1. Vervehound's Avatar
      Vervehound -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      It's difficult to get excited about 16 year-olds
      seriously? no one responds to this?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Keep them coming.........they have money and need players. I would like more top talent, keep them coming.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I think we'll find out that the Twins were active in Australia.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      I think we'll find out that the Twins were active in Australia.
      They usually are. Of the 31 Australian raised players to ever play in the MLB, six were brought up by the Twins and a seventh played for the team. However, until MLB turns out a superstar from this continent it's going to be pretty hard to get amped up about them. Thus far Grant Balfour is likely the most accomplished Australian of all time.
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