Inside Lewin Díaz

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Lewin Díaz (MIA): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Back in 2019, the Miami Marlins sent away reliever Sergio Romo for a power-hitting prospect named Lewin Díaz. Díaz had shown success in the Twins system, posting some seasons with wRC+ around 150. In 2019 alone, he swatted 27 home runs in 501 plate appearances while moving up from A+ to AA levels and then getting traded to Miami. He made an appearance in the Bigs in 2020 but didn’t have much to show. In 41 plate appearances, he hit two doubles, no home runs, and hit .154.

That average is a similar story in 2021. Just .190 over 60 plate appearances after making a few scattered appearances this season. He played one game back in May, then a few in June, then came back at the end of July, once again on August 31st, and has now been with the team playing every day since September 8th. It’s been an odd season bouncing around for Díaz. But he did pop 20 dingers in Triple-A throughout all of that. And now that he’s back and it seems back for good. Let’s look at what he has done in these seven games since returning.

First of all, in yesterday’s game, he belted two solo shots, both over 400 feet with one 106 MPH off the bat. He had a couple of doubles the game before as well, with one being 107.4 MPH. Despite just a 38.6% hard-hit rate, he does have a 13.6% barrel rate. His hard hit and sweet spot rates are trending upwards for his last 50 batted balls alongside his xwOBA. A couple more important things to note on Díaz’s batted ball profile is that he almost exclusively hits fly balls. His BABIP is .154 right now, but with a decent 23.3% K rate (especially for a power hitter like him in today’s game). If he can convert some of those fly balls to line drives and keep this K rate, he can be a dangerous bat.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Javier Báez (NYM): 2-2, HR, R, 2 RBI, 3 BB.

Javy Báez has had his ups and downs in his short time as a Met. However, since his return from his injury, he’s been on fire. He has seven homers with 21 runs and 14 RBIs, along with four steals and a near 200 wRC+ in those 22 games and 91 plate appearances. He also walked three (????) times in last night’s game. That was only the second time in his entire career he had done that. He only had walked twice in a game eight additional times. Báez is the only thing going for the Mets’ offense right now, surprisingly.

Adolis García (TEX): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Last night made García one of the few batters to reach the 30/10 milestone this season. Him being a relatively unknown rookie before the season aside, those numbers do still surprise me. Outside of his 164 wRC+ month of May, he’s only had an above-average month once—in August with a 102 wRC+. His September so far has been quite a struggle until yesterday. The problem is he hits like Báez. He has a strikeout rate in the 30s and a walk rate around five percent, and despite BABIPs around .300, he still is hitting in the low .200s. His counting stats are there, but I will be struggling to roster him much next season.

Luis Robert (CWS): 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.

Robert has had an interesting season split by his torn hip flexor. Prior to the injury, he was having a solid season with a 126 wRC+ but only one home run over 103 plate appearances. Robert had shown that he has good enough power with his 11 homers in the shortened 2020 season. After his return, he not only picked up the power, but he turned everything else up to 11. His K rate in these past 127 plate appearances is 14.2%, adding seven home runs and a 184 wRC+. The only downsides are that he still isn’t really walking, and he has only one stolen base (which may be due to keeping things safe with the hip). At least the hip hasn’t affected his hitting.

Gavin Sheets (CWS): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

I had yet to hear about Gavin Sheets and his basebally baseball name until this morning. This is his rookie season, and he has done well across the minors after a few seasons across levels since being drafted in the second round in 2017. He’s a power DH/OF/1B type with no speed, and he has been showing it this season. Yesterday he smoked the ball during each of his at bats for four hard hits, including a 447 bomb, his ninth on the year in only 39 games. He’s a power bat that is showing he can hit major league pitching hard in a stacked offensive lineup. If you need home runs and RBIs down the stretch, you could do worse than Sheets.

Max Muncy (LAD): 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Hey, look, Max Muncy is still good. His walk rate is still elite, and he’s brought his K rate down by about five percentage points from his career average. He’s having one of his best seasons after a rough 2020. A couple of differences from last year are that he is making much more contact in general, and he’s back to hitting a similar amount of line drives than he did prior to 2020. In 2020, his line drive rate was way down, and it all went to his ground ball rate. That led to his .203 BABIP and sub-.200 batting average. But he’s back and good like all of the Dodgers.

Trea Turner (LAD): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

Speaking of good Dodgers, Turner had the lone combo-meal of yesterday’s games. He’s played well on the Dodgers with a 126 wRC+ and a better walk rate and K rate than while he was on the Nats this year, but it still seems a bit underwhelming. He’s been fine. Seven steals and four homers with a .300 batting average will certainly help your team. But hitting top of the order in the Dodgers lineup should yield a bit more runs. I expect him to pick it up even more than he has.

Ketel Marte (ARI): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

A hamstring issue has hampered Marte’s season significantly. He missed a good chunk of April and May and then all of July with this lingering issue. The good thing is that it hasn’t hampered his performance at the plate. He has been a force like he was during his breakout 2019 season. He is slashing .325/.383/.537 with 12 home runs over 311 plate appearances. His power is not quite where it was in 2019, as he’s hitting fewer fly balls (from 34.8% to 29.7%), but he is hitting the ball much harder (40% to 48.3%). This has been an odd season for him, but it should not be overlooked how incredible he has been.

Nicky Lopez (KC): 3-5, R, RBI, SB.

Lopez has been a monster these past few weeks. In his last 84 plate appearances, he is slashing .421/.463/.513 with 14 runs. He’s not a power bat, and his value really comes from his steals and average. However, in that span, he only has two steals, but he’s getting a ton of base hits. He has 27 singles in that span. That’s wild. With a decent 8.6% BB rate and solid 13.9% K rate, he’s putting the ball in the play and getting on base plenty.

Kyle Isbel (KC): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

Isbel is one of the Royals’ top 10 prospects and earned his way up to the majors at the beginning of the year. It was a short-lived stint, and he returned on the 12th. The main issue initially was his strike out rate, which was over 40% before being sent down. However, during his 2021 in Triple-A, Isbel had a solid 10% BB rate and a 20% K rate alongside 15 home runs and 22 stolen bases over 451 plate appearances. In just his second game back, he provided a 103.7 MPH double and a 102.2 MPH home run. He has some power and speed, but his K rate will need to come down as he is not a power first hitter at all.

Ryan Jeffers (MIN): 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Jeffers has been logging a decent amount of time behind the dish for the Twins, and it has been a rough go on offense. He is slashing .213/.262/.426 in the second half with a 3.1% BB walk rate and a 38.5% K rate. He does have some pop with seven home runs, including yesterday’s 426-foot bomb and a 103.5 MPH double, but there is plenty of other catching talents out there to roster. Jeffers is still young, and this is his first season with any real playing time, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

Garrett Hampson (COL): 2-3, 3B, R, RBI, BB, SB.

Coming off his two-homer day, Hampson followed up with a triple and a single, including a stolen base. There is some hope he can contribute with his power/speed combo, but he hasn’t had the stability. He’s never hit well in his short career to make him that rosterable.

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

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