Former Marlins Minor League Player of the Year Isan Díaz is about to get some winter ball reps. Also, Harold Ramirez finally caught fire at the plate.
For much of 2020, COVID-19 brought baseball to a halt for players within the Marlins organization. Some of them are now making up for that lost time. Just like in previous years, Fish Stripes will be consistently updating the whereabouts of your favorite Fish during the offseason. At FishStripes.com/offseason, you can find weekly news, stats, highlights and (small sample size) analysis.
LIDOM (Dominican Republic)
We have previously monitored the progress of Jesús Sánchez, Joe Dunand and Jorge Guzman in the Dominican Republic, but Lewin Díaz is the final Marlin still competing. On the heels of a solid though inconsistent regular season with Estrellas Orientales—.217/.309/.361, 3 HR, 16 K, 109 wRC+ in 94 PA—he went 2-for-5 with a run batted in during their play-in series. The sweep of Leones del Escogido clinched a berth in the semifinals.
The best-of-7 series between Lewin’s Estrellas and Gigantes del Cibao begins Saturday.
Whenever the 24-year-old’s winter ball stint is over, I’ll have a special article analyzing him.
Final 2020-21 season stats
- Harold Ramirez (Caimanes de Barranquilla)—.367/.451/.519, 1 HR, 15 K in 91 PA
A dominant late-season surge by Ramirez left him just one hit shy of winning the league batting title. Also, his .970 OPS was second-best among all qualifiers.
The video above was an anomaly for two reasons. First, it features a home run which was the only one that he has blasted in 22 games played. Overall, Ramirez continues to be an extreme ground ball hitter—his 1.54 GB/FB in Colombia is even higher than his career 1.34 GB/FB with the Marlins. Second, the victim was a left-handed pitcher whereas LPB is disproportionately right-handed. You could come away from this feeling encouraged that Ramirez was so productive despite frequently being at a platoon disadvantage.
Caimanes de Barranquilla posted a 13-11 record.
2020-21 season stats
- José Salas (Águilas del Zulia)—.158/.238/.184, 18 K in 42 PA
I’ll emphasize it every week: Salas is 10 years younger than the average LVBP player!
The LVBP regular season concludes Jan. 10.
LBPRC (Puerto Rico)
Final 2020-21 season stats
- Anthony Maldonado (Criollos de Caguas)—0.90 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 10 K in 10.0 IP
- Brian Navarreto (Indios de Mayagüez)—.412/.500/.941, 1 HR, 1 K in 20 PA
- Antonio Velez (Indios de Mayagüez)—6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 4 K in 9.0 IP
Better late than never! I figured Isan Díaz would be an ideal candidate to take part in the full winter ball season, making up for time missed over the summer due to opt out and injury, and helping him get into a good rhythm entering 2021. Instead, he was activated for the first time by Criollos de Caguas on Wednesday. He’ll debut with them in the league semifinals (best-of-7 series that begins Saturday).
Two years ago, Isan slashed .272/.348/.368 in 132 plate appearances (33 games) with LBPRC’s Gigantes de Carolina. He followed that up by earning 2019 Marlins Minor League Player of the Year honors. However, with the exception of a couple exciting moments, he has struggled in the majors: .174/.251/.294, 47 wRC+, -1.4 fWAR in 223 PA (56 G).
Maldonado has continued to perform well out of the bullpen in high-leverage situations and ought to have a big impact during their postseason run.
Off the Field