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Isan Diaz: Marlins 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year

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It was a magical moment.

Craig Minervini of Fox Sports Florida was doing a live TV interview on Aug. 5 with the family of second baseman Isan Diaz when the crack of the bat interrupted everything.

The 23-year-old Diaz, making his major league debut against the host Mets, had been hitless in his first two at-bats. Then, in his third try against Jacob deGrom, Diaz pulled a 1-2 fastball over the right field wall.

Diaz sent the 97 mph fastball 422 feet, and his father’s emotions soared even further.

"Ohhhhhhh . . . ohhhhh . . . ohhhhh,” Raul Diaz yelled excitedly into the microphone.

Later, when Raul Diaz had calmed down, he told Minervini the following: "We just homered off deGrom!”

It was a shocking debut for Diaz because he got to deGrom during a stretch in which the reigning Cy Young Award winner had retired 15 of 16 batters. Diaz’s homer was the only blemish.

Then again, the homer was not so surprising if taken in the context that Diaz has had a monster season.

In 102 games at Triple-A New Orleans, Diaz hit .305/.395/.578 with 26 home runs, 21 doubles and 70 RBIs.

This is the third organization for Diaz, who was drafted in the supplemental second round out of high school by the Diamondbacks in 2014. Arizona traded him to the Brewers, who traded him to Miami in the January 2018 Christian Yelich trade.

Despite his small 5-foot-10 stature, Diaz is strong at 205 pounds and pairs plus raw power with a natural lift to his lefthanded swing. He will be given every opportunity to lock down the Marlins' second base job.

Diaz was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Springfield, Mass., with his family at age 4. He grew up a Yankees fan who idolized Derek Jeter.

Now, of course, Jeter runs the Marlins.

"When you first meet him,” said Diaz, who turned down Vanderbilt to sign a pro contract out of high school, "you go, ‘Wow! That’s Derek Jeter!’ It’s exciting.”

The Marlins are excited about Diaz, too. And as viewers witnessed on Aug. 5, Diaz’s father is beyond thrilled.

FISH BITES

— When the Marlins traded promising rookie righthander Zac Gallen to the D-backs at the July 31 deadline, they did so because they believe the player they received in exchange is their shortstop of the future. Jazz Chisholm is a 21-year-old with lefthanded pop, above-average speed and the defensive chops to stick at shortstop.

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2019 Minor League Players Of The Year

Baseball America writers, correspondents select MiLB Player of the Year awards for all 30 MLB organizations.

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