Prospect Diaz flexible in middle infield

Jungmann tapped to start Wednesday exhibition game vs. UW-Milwaukee

February 29th, 2016

PHOENIX -- The newest member of the Brewers' deep crop of shortstop prospects did his research. Isan Diaz is well aware that the organization's top prospect, Orlando Arcia, is 21, plays the same position and is knocking on the door of the Major Leagues. Diaz has a backup plan in mind.

"Obviously, you hear a lot of rumors, [scouts] saying, 'We can see him at second base,'" said Diaz, acquired by the Brewers in a trade with the D-backs last month. "I don't mind where I play. I don't care, as long as I'm in the lineup. I can see myself at second. I would like to hopefully be, one day, the everyday second baseman for this organization.

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"That's actually where I'm learning towards. That's my plan, and that's my No. 1 goal right now."

He knows Arcia could hold shortstop for some time.

"You have to figure out other ideas, other ways, other plans to try to make it there," Diaz said. "If you can't make it on one side, maybe you have to move over."

For now, the Brewers chalk it up as a good problem to have. Among the middle infielders already at Maryvale Baseball Park for an invitational minicamp are Gilbert Lara, Jake Gatewood and Javier Betancourt. Over in Major League camp are Arcia and Yadiel Rivera. All rank among's Top 30 Brewers prospects.

There is also Milwaukee's projected starting shortstop, Jonathan Villar, who is just 24.

"All I do is grab bits and pieces of everybody," Diaz said. "Start to study and understand what they're doing, and try to apply it to what I do."

Diaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Massachusetts. He won't turn 20 until May. He was Arizona's second-round Draft pick in 2014, and he had a solid first full professional season in 2015 in the rookie Pioneer League, hitting .360/.436/.640 with 44 extra base hits, including 13 home runs, in 68 games. He was the league's MVP.

"It boosted up my confidence more than anything," Diaz said. "Now I have a little bit more of an awareness of what it is to see a little bit of success. It feels good, but now you have to prepare for, one, you're going to fail, and [two], how to bounce back after that.

"Hopefully, this year, everything continues to go as planned. If not, there's always ways to get out of it."

Last call

• Taylor Jungmann will throw the Brewers' first pitch when the team begins its exhibition schedule on Wednesday against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, manager Craig Counsell said.

The Brewers begin Cactus League play the next day with games at home against the Cubs and on the road against the Giants. Chase Anderson will start the home game and Zach Davies will travel to start against San Francisco.

• With Ian Desmond's one-year deal in Texas, the order of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft was set. The Brewers have four selections in the top 100, leading with No. 5 overall. They will also pick at No. 46 in the second round, No. 75 in Competitive Balance Round B, and No. 82 in the third round.

Milwaukee is 1-for-4 with its previous selections at No. 5 overall. Ryan Braun was a hit out of the stacked 2005 Draft, but Mark Rogers (fifth overall in 2004) was derailed by arm injuries and pitchers Ken Henderson (1991) and Rick O'Keeffe (1975) never pitched in the Majors. Henderson, who was advised by agent Scott Boras at the time, did not sign with the Brewers and was later drafted by the Expos and Padres.

• Villar, second baseman Scooter Gennett and outfielder Rymer Liriano signed 2016 contracts on Monday, so all members of Milwaukee's 40-man roster are signed.