• 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. Red Bull's Avatar
      Red Bull -
      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?
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      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?
      Maybe on their board he was. Twins had Stewart at #2.
    1. tcarlic's Avatar
      tcarlic -
      @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.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Takes two to tango, as they say. Sadly, fans are not one of the two. Plus, it's 5:30pm on the first day of the signing period. Who says they won't sign more guys?
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Might it not be even harder to project 16 year olds than 18 year olds?

      I'd like to see longitudinal data on the "best 16 year olds" after they play 10 years of ball.
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      you're all so negative this is um good news
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      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?
      Because you don't want to throw all of your eggs in one 16-year-old basket. The success rate of international signings who signed for more than $1 million is not real high. Michael Ynoa, I believe, is still the highest international signing (not from Japan or Cuba) and he just got promoted to Hi-A. he may still be good, but we'll see. A lot of the successful international signings were not the highly coveted ones from there. I like the way they're doing this now, and I think it's smart to spread out the money.

      Also, signings in the DR or Venezuela or wherever are based on relationships that develop with 12-13-14 year olds. If you develop that relationship with the right players that become the top players in a class, they're there.

      I know that they were all signed in a year before the international bonus limit, but would you rather have just Miguel Sano, or Sano, Kepler and Polanco? In today's system, would you give Sano 100% of the limit, or sign him for what you're able to sign him for (less) and get other guys.

      It's a tough system and you have to be wise with the money allocated, but you have to sign more than one or two. Also, the lists are just lists. At the end of the day, they're fun but don't necessarily mean much. We don't know what the difference is (or will be) between the #1 guy and the #10 guy and the #15 guy and the #20 guy. It's 100% about projection at this point.

      And, as far as him being a singles-hitter in games despite power potential, look no further than Travis Harrison. he was drafted and signed to a big bonus a couple of years ago. Last year at E-Town, he hit for average and people wondered where the power was. When I watched him take BP and then talked to him and to Jake Mauer in April about his power, they talked about it being a process. Learning how to get back spin, learning pitches to go after, all of that is developed. that's certainly not going to be developed as a 15-16 year old.
    1. rickyhawaii's Avatar
      rickyhawaii -
      love this signing, and Diaz is one of the top hitting prospects in this class. Hopefully he can develop into a legit power hitting RF or 1b. The plus side also is they can still sign some other good prospects. Haven't seen Mayky Perez or Jen-Ho Tseng signed yet. Hoping the Twins get one of those guys. The Dutch 3b seems interesting as well.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      How is paying $1.4m to a guy they really liked - when no one else was going seven figures - taking the cheap route? I still think we'll see the Twins sign a few more guys for half a million.

      This signing period doesn't end until June 15, 2014 and many guys haven't turned 16 yet.
    1. CK's Avatar
      CK -
      Like it. Not too bummed about missing out on the consensus "top guys" because #10 is still very good in my mind. Want some pitchers now.
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      How is paying $1.4m to a guy they really liked - when no one else was going seven figures - taking the cheap route? I still think we'll see the Twins sign a few more guys for half a million.

      This signing period doesn't end until June 15, 2014 and many guys haven't turned 16 yet.
      Nailed it. $1.4 million is a lot of green.
    1. East Coast Twin's Avatar
      East Coast Twin -
      They've also signed Roni Tapia.

      Twins Agree To Deal With Roni Tapia - BaseballAmerica.com

    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      There must be a couple of players the Dodgers want. They took on salary to get the some of the Cub's international signing money.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I love it how the team signs a top talent and people still complain about them being cheap. They have also said that they will spend all of their bonus pool money. This comes a year after signing Minier and Thorpe and spending all of their bonus money. I think some will never be happy.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      I like them going after a 1B power prospect. I really wish they would've gone heavier after MI.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Great. I've never seen him play a game, and I have no idea about his tools, level of competition he faced, mental make up, or anything else. Just some reports from a few guys who are probably regurgitating the same stuff. Many folks need to remember agents/other teams/scouts/families often play games by what they say to the media.

      So....Hope he pans out. What else can/should be said about this?
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      I missed this thread until now. Is there a reason it doesn't go directly to the minors section? I often don't see the front page articles, and feel like I was wasting my time posting links on the majors page.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I love it how the team signs a top talent and people still complain about them being cheap. They have also said that they will spend all of their bonus pool money. This comes a year after signing Minier and Thorpe and spending all of their bonus money. I think some will never be happy.
      This.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I like them going after a 1B power prospect. I really wish they would've gone heavier after MI.
      I'm hoping they have a couple of SS before this signing period is over. They have a lack of decent options at that position and that's something that Latin American in particular seems to naturally develop.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      It's difficult to get excited about 16 year-olds whom I know nothing about. I wish them well.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.