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Prospect Q&A: Marlins' Isan Diaz

March 21, 2018

JUPITER, Fla. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Marlins camp, it was Miami's No. 8 prospect, Isan Diaz. Diaz was originally drafted by the D-backs in the Competitive Balance

JUPITER, Fla. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Marlins camp, it was Miami's No. 8 prospect, Isan Diaz.
Diaz was originally drafted by the D-backs in the Competitive Balance Round B of the 2014 Draft out of Springfield Central High School in Massachusetts. After winning the Pioneer League MVP Award in 2015, he was traded to the Brewers as part of the Jean Segura deal, then went out and hit 20 homers in his first taste of full-season ball. Diaz struggled with the move up to the Carolina League, but the Marlins still liked his offensive upside enough to get him as part of the Christian Yelich deal.
• Marlins camp report
MLB Pipeline: You recently got reassigned from your first big league camp. What was experiencing that for the first time like?
:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::
Diaz: It was good. It was a great experience for me. I think the most important part of big league camp, and the one thing I grasped on more was going in and not being afraid to make a mistake. My first game, I was a little bit antsy, the game was a little bit too fast. A bunch of guys pulled me aside and told me to relax, just take it all in. There are a lot of things you have to hold yourself accountable for. It's a different atmosphere. You want to make a good first impression. I learned a lot. A lot of good veterans up there -- Prado, Castro, Miggy [Miguel Rojas] -- all those guys helped me for the time I was there.
MLB Pipeline: You had been through a trade before, so at least you knew how to deal with that. When you were traded from the Brewers to the Marlins, did it help that it was your second rodeo, so to speak?
Diaz: Going back to the first time I was traded, that was kind of strange for me. I wasn't aware of anything. This one, I was more into it, I kind of had a little more of an idea of what was going on. I was mentally prepared for this one. It was less of a rodeo, I would say. It was smoother, the transition was easier. Being here now with the Marlins has been great so far. I can't wait to see what this upcoming season holds for us.
MLB Pipeline: Did coming over with several guys help at all? Did a guy like Monte Harrison, who hadn't been traded before, come to you to ask how to handle things?
Diaz: They had some questions and I helped them out. Lewis Brinson is another guy who's been traded twice, so he had intel as well. We spoke to him and told him to just be himself and go out and play. Monte, he's a good guy, he knows how to take care of himself and adapt really fast. I'm sure he's had no problems so far.
MLB Pipeline: Looking back at your 2017 season, things didn't go as well for you as it had previously in your career. What happened and what did you take away from it?
Diaz: Last year, the most important part was the mental side of the game. It was very hard, I felt like I was getting beat down every day. It was a learning process, one that I've never been through before. Now I know how to handle certain situations and how to get out of certain slumps. I'm trying to put last year away a little bit and not remember too many parts of it. I'm trying to take the good parts and bring it over to next year.
MLB Pipeline: A lot of people have described that sort of thing as a snowball effect and you feel that you need to get eight hits every at-bat to get out of a slump. Could you feel yourself trying to do too much?
Diaz: It happens, especially when you have a stretch with constant rollovers and strikeouts. Those get very frustrating. You have to figure out a way to get out of it and stay positive and compete. That's the most important part, always competing and trying to win no matter how your day is going.
MLB Pipeline: You were born in Puerto Rico. How much was your family affected by the hurricane?
Diaz: I believe, even if you don't have family members who live there, I think everyone who is from there or has some relation with the island, I think it affects everybody. It was a tragic moment, a time when a lot of us tried to come together and see if we could do whatever we can to help out. It was a moment we take and we grasp onto to make us stronger. It was a very hard time for us, especially for us guys who play in the Minor Leagues. Now, we're trying to take it over to this season and play for them. We try to use it as motivation.
MLB Pipeline: Do you typically go back there during the offseason? I know you grew up in Massachusetts and went to high school there, not Puerto Rico.
Diaz: I'll go home to Massachusetts in the offseason, then me and the family will take a trip and go visit some family members out in Puerto Rico. We'll do a month out there and see how everybody's doing and enjoy the island as much as possible. A lot of people ask me what made me move out there, what made you move to the cold weather. Honestly, to this day, I don't know what happened. I wish we could've stayed in Puerto Rico, but it didn't happen. I plan on going back this offseason as well, just trying to stay out there and help out. I was around three or four when we moved, I didn't really know much. I'm pretty sure if I were a little older, we probably would've stayed in Puerto Rico. They would've heard me.
MLB Pipeline: I guess the good thing is when you had to go and play in cold weather, like in the Midwest League, you were ready for it.
Diaz: Man, that's tough. It's one of the tougher things to do, is hit in cold weather. But you get used to it after being in it for so long. It kind of helps out.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.