Young trio of prospects on the rise
By: Mark Prott
Look no further than the current roster of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Milwaukee Brewers Class A Minor League affiliate, to notice there has been a recent infusion of talent in the lower levels of the Brewers farm system. In fact, a whopping 8 Timber Rattlers were selected to play in the recent 2016 Midwest League All-Star Game.
3 of those 8 all-stars, including starting pitchers Marcos Diplan, Freddy Peralta, and shortstop Isan Diaz, all share a unique bond. They were all acquired by the Brewers via trades to rebuild the farm system within the past 2 years. And they all have one other important quality on their side: youth, as Diaz and Peralta just turned 20 years old, while Diplan is still only a teenager at 19.
Let’s start with the pitchers first. Seems like a long time ago now, but Marcos Diplan was acquired by the Brewers as one of the main pieces in the Yovanni Gallardo trade to the Texas Rangers. Originally signed by the Rangers as a top international pitching talent out of the Dominican Republic, Diplan received 1.3 million to sign in 2013. Headlined by a great fastball that reaches 94 mph and a plus slider, it is strange to see Diplan rated so low at #19 on the Brewers top prospects list coming into the season.
It’s not like he hasn’t produced on the mound either. Coming off a solid year for the rookie Helena Brewers, Diplan has taken his pitching game to new heights this year with a spectacular start to the season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. His numbers this year: 70 IP 1.80 ERA 89K 1.16 WHIP and hitters are batting only .191 off him. Maybe his size 6-0 160 scares some scouts but to me, the kid is only 19 and will likely fill out and maybe in the process even add a tick or two on the radar gun to his already impressive arsenal.
The next recent trade acquisition to examine is pitcher Freddy Peralta, one of 3 young pitchers obtained in the Adam Lind deal with the Seattle Mariners in December 2015. In many ways the Dominican Republic native seems eerily similar to Diplan, due in part to a fastball that reaches low 90s, a smaller frame 5-11 175 and his propensity for missing bats while on the mound as he already has 77Ks in only 60 IP to go along with a 2.85 ERA. Although he’s rated slightly lower than Diplan on MLB prospect lists and in performance, he is an exciting piece to keep an eye on in the future as he develops.
Now for the shortstop, Isan Diaz, acquired in the Jean Segura deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this year. Wait, but top prospect Orlando Arcia and current breakout Brewer Jonathan Villar are already playing that position. Doesn’t matter. This kid has shown he can rake and the Brewers will find a spot for him down the line if he stays on track. A 2nd round pick in 2014, the Puerto Rico native busted onto the prospect scene in 2015 winning MVP honors in the Rookie Pioneer league by batting .360 to go along with 13 HR 51RBI and a whopping 1.076 OPS. Known for his quick bat speed and easy pure swing, the left handed hitter has shown great power to all fields in the minors despite his lack of size at 5-10 185. After a slow start, Diaz has been on a complete tear as of late and is currently tied for the Class A Midwest League lead with 11 homeruns. Check out that sweet easy power on this beautiful swing.
SS Isan Diaz and RHP Freddy Peralta of the Timber Rattlers have been named the Brewers Minor Lg Player & Pitcher of the month for June
— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) July 5, 2016
As I take a closer look at all 3 of these young talented prospects, it makes me all the more convinced that the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild is currently on the right track. It’s impossible to predict if all 3 will become contributors to the major league club but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. In all 3 of these trades the Brewers top decision makers, Doug Melvin with Diplan and current GM David Stearns with Peralta and Diaz, were not afraid to trade for the player they viewed as the highest upside piece on the table.
It’s not easy to pull a trigger on a player who could be at least 3 years away while feeling pressure to win now and stay competitive. So, I give them credit for doing the right thing and trying to accumulate as much talent as possible in all levels of the farm system. That folks is how you build a sustained winner. So hold on Brewer fans, it may be painful to watch the big league club at times, but keep an eye on the future, even right in our backyard because we are in store for a fun rebuild to follow
Update: Freddy Peralta and Marcos Diplan have been promoted to the Brevard County Manatees, the Brewers High-A class affiliate. Congratulations and good luck to Freddy and Marcos!