SF Giants acquire former top prospect in trade

Isan Diaz
Isan Diaz / G Fiume/GettyImages

The SF Giants had one of the best records in all of baseball in the month of April, but Farhan Zaidi isn't resting: the team is in third place in the National League West heading into their first series with the longtime rival Los Angeles Dodgers, and the team is still viewed as less talented than their two division counterparts in southern California by many pundits

After the Major League roster was hit hard by a COVID-19 outbreak, Zaidi went out and traded cash considerations to the Seattle Mariners for first baseman Mike Ford - the second player picked up from Seattle by the Giants last week after Kevin Padlo was also acquired for cash considerations.

Finally, right at the end of the month the Giants added a very intriguing piece - a former top infield prospect who hasn't been able to find consistency at the MLB level. Isan Diaz, who was ranked in his organization's top-30 prospects for five straight years by Baseball America, was the return for either a player to be named later or cash considerations, with Miami Herald's Miami Marlins beat writer Jordan McPherson first on the report on Twitter.

Since making his MLB debut in 2019, Diaz has struggled. In 501 career plate appearances over 145 games, he has batted .185 with nine home runs and a 52 OPS+. He has been able to take walks and reach base at a decent clip relative to the batting average, with 53 free passes drawn and a .275 OBP.

In 89 games with the Marlins in 2021, Diaz hit .193 - an incremental improvement over his .173 in 49 games as a rookie in 2019 - while slugging four home runs and scoring 25 times.

Pioneer League MVP in 2015

Diaz, a native of Puerto Rico, went to high school in Massachusetts and was the Arizona Diamondbacks' 2nd-round pick in the 2014 amateur draft (70th overall). After an unimpressive 2014 in the Arizona League, he broke out in 2015 with the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League: a .360 batting average with 25 doubles, 13 home runs, 12 stolen bases and 51 RBI in 68 games to earn league MVP honors.

In January 2016, Diaz was included in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers as shortstop Jean Segura went to the desert. In the Milwaukee system he held his own while being on the younger side between Low-A and Double-A in 2016-17, hammering 33 homers and swiping 20 bases over those two seasons.

Diaz was a top-100 prospect entering 2017

Diaz's performance in 2016 influenced Baseball America to label him the Brewers' fifth-best prospect, and the #93 overall in MLB prior to the 2017 season. He dropped out of the top-100 after that year but stayed in Milwaukee's top-10 as #9.

Almost two years to the day after his first inclusion in a trade, Diaz was sent by Milwaukee to the Marlins in January 2018. After a year of struggles with Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans, Diaz tore the cover off the ball with New Orleans in 2019 (.305, 26 HR, 70 RBI in 102 games) to earn a big-league audition over the final two months of the season.

Still young (turning 26 later this month), Diaz appears to have the ability to succeed at the Major League level. Joining the Giants and their highly-regarded team of hitting coaches could help unlock what he needs to be a regular in the orange and black for years to come.