Three Shortstops Boost Stock At World Wood Bat

JUPITER, Fla. — Three middle infielders helped themselves out this week at Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Championship and all three have relatives to look up to as players.

Edwin Diaz, ss, Martinez HS, Vega Alta, P.R.
For the second-straight year, there’s a prospect in Puerto Rico named Edwin Diaz. Last year’s version was a lanky fireballer, but this year it’s a slick-fielding shortstop with a father by the same name who spent 13 years in professional baseball, including a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks in 1998 and 1999.

Diaz attends the same high school as his father—a second-round pick in 1993 by the Rangers—and the school also produced the Molina brothers. He has a lean, wiry build at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds. He’s a righthanded hitter with some bat speed and a gap-to-gap approach.

Playing for the Texas Sun Devils, Diaz went 3-for-12 over four games with a double and a stolen base.

Texas Sun Devils head coach Glenn Cecchini knows shortstops. He is the father of Garin and Gavin Cecchini and is also the coach at Barbe High in Lake Charles, La., a position he’s held since 1987. During that time, the school has produced five shortstops drafted within the top 10 rounds—both of Glenn’s sons, Carmen Angelini (Yankees 10th round, 2007), Joe Lawrence (Blue Jays 1st round, 1996) and Chad Cooley (Twins 8th round, 1992).

“I think he’s really good,” Cecchini said. “He slows the game down, he stays cool under pressure and he controls the tempo and timing and effort level. What I mean by that, is that when the game was getting real chaotic and out of control, he always controlled his emotions and he didn’t get out of control. He’s a really nice player.”

While Diaz’s hands are fairly soft and he shows good actions in the field, his range is limited because he’s a below-average runner with an average arm. While his intangible make his tools play up a little bit, he may have to move off of shortstop when he gets into pro ball.

“His actions are big league,” Cecchini said. “In pressure situations, the pitcher was trying to rush him and he stepped out of the box real calmly. He didn’t get rattled. He didn’t get upset. It didn’t get him out of his game. He’s very polished.”

Dustin Peterson, ss, Gilbert (Ariz.) HS
Peterson, an Arizona State recruit, is the younger brother of New Mexico third baseman D.J. Peterson. Dustin stands 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds and went 4-for-13 with a double over his four games this week with the Rays Scout Team.

Peterson hasn’t done many of the big showcase events this summer but was able to learn a little about the draft process after his brother went through the experience as a Mariners 33rd-round pick in 2010.

“I definitely gained some knowledge that I didn’t have, all about the draft and just about how it goes,” Peterson said. “Me and my brother, we’re real tight. We compete, we give each other crap and all that. We’re really close.”

Dustin has a leaner build than his brother and shows more foot speed, but they have one key trait in common.

“They’re both real strong hitters,” said Rays Scout Team manager Dave Hilton. Hilton was the first-overall pick in the January phase of the 1971 draft, spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues and then coached in pro ball for 22 years. “Dustin can really swing the bat. He can really hit.”

Skyler Bean, ss, Rockwall (Texas) HS
Bean’s brother, Steve, was a catcher at Rockwall and was a supplemental first-round pick by the Cardinals in 2012. Skyler had a good week at the event playing for the Dallas Patriots.

“It was my first time seeing him and, defensively, he’s as solid as you’ll find,” Dallas Patriots founder and manager Logan Stout said. “He made three plays this weekend that are big league plays and he made them look easy. He has incredible instincts that you can’t teach and knows the position.”

Bean went 2-for-10 with a double over three games and was 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts.

“Offensively, he’s just a little dirt dog,” Stout said. “He’s very strong and he’s got a little power, but he’s also a tough out who works pitchers and is the perfect leadoff type.”

Bean is uncommitted and some scouts don’t feel he’s a pro prospect just yet, but he could be a late bloomer like his brother and is young for his class.