The Milwaukee Brewers farm system took a hit during the Christian Yelich trade, but it is still pretty solid. As with many prospects, Marcos Diplan looks promising, but a down year in 2017 will most certainly drop his value.
Diplan is a Milwaukee Brewers prospect that I have never really been sold on. He has some upside in a bullpen role, but his starting ceiling is not all that high. That is something that was not known in 2013 when the Texas Rangers signed him as the number eight ranked international prospect, two spots behind the ranking of Rafael Devers.
At 21 years of age now, his projections at 16 were all positive. His profile, which can be found here, sites a loose arm and electric fastball that he throws for strikes for his high standing. His secondary pitches were also highly rated. The only negative was how his body would endure a long season.
Over the course of the 2014 season Diplan pitched in 13 games for the Rangers organization. After that, he, along with Corey Knebel and Luis Sardinas, were acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers for Yovani Gallardo.
By The Numbers
For his first few seasons, Diplan performed very well. The highlight is his 17 games playing A ball in 2016. He posted a record of 6-2 with a sub two ERA. His FIP was a 2.99, and by all accounts something clicked in him. As can be assumed, he earned a promotion to the next level. That is where his struggles began.
In 36 total games pitching for Advanced A ball, his ERA is over five. His FIP is lower, but still not excellent. Isolating just the 2017 season shows that his walk numbers are killer. He gives up less than a HR/9 every year, and he strikes out over eight per nine innings. Both of those are good. But when coupled with his BB/9 over five, it leaves a lot of runners ready to be hit in.
Can He Turn It Around?
Yes, he is only 21. His original profile said he could throw three pitches for strikes, so the control is there. It is more than likely a mechanical issue that arose during his growth that is hindering his control. It is extremely difficult to project a 16 year old pitcher, regardless of how good they look.
However, the strikeout and homer numbers project good things if Diplan can bring down the walks. The old cliché of walks being a killer is a true cliché, and that is something proven by Diplan’s performance.
To me, Diplan would appear to have the best future in the bullpen. With his walk rates the way they are, he can focus on just getting the ball over the plate in shorter stints and that should help. Plus good numbers are still very possible with a lot of walks, something made apparent by Josh Hader and his walk rate above four for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017.
As a starter, things look bleak. He never really has reigned in his control to this point, and that hurts a starter a lot. All his other numbers really are not bad. His BABIP of over .330 is not great, but his hurts a lot more when free passes put a lot of runners on.
It is likely that Diplan will get another crack at the level he is struggling at in 2018, and hopefully things go better. Unfortunately, I am not sold on him. If these trade rumors are true, giving this righty up would not be the worst decision in the world. But prospects are prospects and we will see what the future holds.