The Derek Dietrich project

Harry How

Derek Dietrich has looked good thus far for the Miami Marlins.

As winter turned into spring and the green grass started to bloom once again, baseball fans all over the USA and Canada shared a level of optimism about their favorite team's chances in the 2013 MLB season.

Well, that's kind of a lie to Marlins fans because that ordinary optimism and excitement became a strong mix of disappointment, anger and sadness as they looked ahead to the upcoming campaign. Of course, the overall fire-sale that took placed last summer and winter will always be at the thorn to the side of Marlin faithful but nobody really knew it would get this rough this quickly.

As of this writing, the Marlins have up to ten players on their 40-man roster who are located on the disabled list which is a pretty insane sight to look at when you remember that we're only in mid-May. That aspect alone forced the team to call up such prospects as Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich before they even had more of a cup of coffee with any team above the single-A level.

Those risks have turned out pretty good for this young Marlins team, as Jose Fernandez continues to look like he has future ace potential while Marcell Ozuna continues to impress baseball analysts everywhere with his all-around solid performance. While those two names are making Marlins fans forget about the overall below-average performance, a juggling-obsessed shortstop named Derek Dietrich has been making a bit of waves since being called up last week.

Dietrich comes to Miami because he was traded straight up this past winter in that Yunel Escobar trade that happened after all the dust and rubble was cleaned up after the Toronto trade.

It was expected that Dietrich would spend a majority of the season down in Jacksonville with the Suns but injuries to Donovan Solano and Chris Valaika made him an emergency call-up because they didn't really have a 2nd baseman on the big league team besides Nick Green who was designated for assignment earlier this month.

While inserting a top propsect into the major leagues is risky (Dietrich was Tampa Bay's ninth-ranked propsect in Baseball America's 2013 handbook) the Marlins seem to have some weird mojo on their side because things continue to work for these young players. The performances of Fernandez and Ozuna have been discussed at lengths on this side but the pesky Dietrich has been thriving since his debut last week.

Yes, this is an extreme example of a "small sample size" since he's only had 15 at-bats with the Marlins but he's been solid every time he comes to the plate. His split of .400/.400/.667 has been solid enough but add that in with a solid .375 BABIP has made Dietrich into a viable option every time he steps to the plate which is a big rarety for the 2013 Marlins.

Now I'm not really going to predict the future path of Dietrich because baseball is a very entertaining but yet unpredictable game and it's pretty rough to judge a player after only 15 at bats. His hot start has probably put him inside the positive psyche of the Marlins fans (if that really exists anymore) which allows them to care about a player that could be staying around for an extended period of time. Add that with an extremely touching story and you have a thing that you could look forward to watching even if times can be difficult and painful.

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