Miami Marlins

After a ‘tentative’ first month, here’s what the Marlins want to see out of Isan Diaz

Isan Diaz’s first month with the Miami Marlins has been a mixed bag.

He certainly has had some bright spots, with a towering home run off reigning National League Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom in his MLB debut on Aug. 5 headlining them all.

But the rookie struggles have also crept up with the 23-year-old second baseman who the Marlins acquired as part of the Christian Yelich trade in January 2018.

Diaz is only hitting .151 with two home runs, two doubles, nine RBI and seven runs scored through his first 25 games heading into Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, his on-base percentage is at .275, aided primarily by his 14 walks — 10 of which have come in the last nine games as he adapts to big-league pitching.

He has seven errors on defense — five of which came in a span of three consecutive games.

“It’s been OK,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The things that I’ve liked have been still seeing the guy that sees the ball good. He’s walked a little bit. He gets himself a pitch to hit. The negative side of it has been a lot of empty at-bats, roll over type of at-bats where it looks like he’s not using the whole field like he can. Tentative for me in areas but still seeing the bright side of the good swing, the good feel for the strike zone.”

Diaz, the Marlins’ No. 5 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, knew there would be an adjustment period as he worked his way into a starting lineup. The mistakes have been humbling, especially after his production at Triple A New Orleans this year (.305 batting average, 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 89 runs scored).

“Really just taking everything in as a learning experience,” Diaz said. “I’m just grinding and getting the feel of everything.”

The Marlins will keep a close eye on Diaz over the final month of the season to see how he improves.

“Nothing really changes in terms of your opinion of what he can be,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully just being here and gaining experience, he’ll be able to grow through that as he gets time under his belt.”

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.