Isan Diaz homers off deGrom for 1st MLB hit

August 6th, 2019

NEW YORK -- Marlins prospect 's highly anticipated debut provided plenty of excitement.

Yes, the Marlins hardly had any answers for Mets ace Jacob deGrom during their 6-2 loss in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Monday afternoon at Citi Field.

However, it didn’t take away from the promise surrounding Diaz. The Marlins' second baseman grew up a Mets fan in Massachusetts, and he made his Major League debut with his family watching, going 1-for-4 with his first big league home run coming off deGrom, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

“It was a fastball -- inside, up and in,” Diaz said. “He was really attacking me with the slider, and he was going up and away with the fastball. I was trying to sit on the fastball the whole time. I was lucky to hit the ball on the barrell.”

After Game 2 of the doubleheader, which saw him go 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts, Diaz met his family on the field.

“I felt great, really excited,” Diaz said. “I was very happy. It would have been better if we received those two wins. But we come back tomorrow and we get after them.”

Diaz’s father, Raul, was shaking his head in disbelief throughout the game at the circumstances surrounding his son’s debut.

“How ironic that Isan’s idol is [Mets second baseman] Robinson Cano, who he got to know very well during Spring Training,” Raul said. “How surreal is it that he makes his Major League debut 2 1/2 hours from our hometown, where we have 50-plus people, family and friends who are attending the game today?”

“It’s good to see Isan get the first hit out of the way, first homer out of the way. You get a lot of firsts out of the way,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “More than that, you see the at-bats. You see him taking some good changeups, breaking balls from deGrom. Get behind in the count in his last at-bat and works the count to 3-2. He looked good out there. It will be fun to watch him.”

Imagine how Diaz’s family felt during the great moment. Raul was being interviewed on the Marlins’ TV broadcast while Diaz hit the home run. He and other family members were yelling and screaming with excitement after Diaz made contact.

“Man, I’ll tell you -- when you are a young man and you have this dream of being a professional baseball player, you do whatever it takes to try to work as hard as you can to get recognition,” Raul said. “That was my method. That was my signature move. When my son was born, I was going to put everything in my effort to make sure that this kid lives his dream at this level.”

Diaz, who was acquired from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade, is the Marlins' No. 5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, the No. 6 second-base prospect and the No. 86 overall prospect. Diaz, 23, was hitting .305/.395/.578 with 26 home runs and 70 RBIs in 102 games at Triple-A before his promotion.

Raul said he knew his son was going to be special when he played in a tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y., when he was 13 years old.

“Isan played against the best talent in the country,” Raul remembered. “I saw a different wave in his ability … that took off. I saw a desire, a passion. From there, he built a mentality that he wanted to work on a daily basis, which carried over to who he is today.”