Derek Dietrich, 23 years old, is unquestionably the top middle infield in the Marlins farm system right now. He is a very talented hitter who has the potential to hit for power in the future. His future defensive position is still unknown, but he has seen most of his playing time this year as a second basemen. Acquired when the Marlins traded Yunel Escobar to the Rays this offseason, Dietrich is still settling in with the Marlins organization. Nonetheless, in just 25 games, Dietrich has been the best performing hitter on a stacked Double-A Jacksonville roster.
The Marlins front office and player development personnel have received a lot of criticism and skepticism for their moves with their young prospects in the last couple years. With that being said, they deserve a ton of praise for the way they have handled Derek Dietrich so far. Dietrich, who has played the majority of his games at shortstop the last three years, has gotten 76 percent of his starts this year at second base. The other 24 percent of his starts have come at third base. Dietrich does have 42 homers in his young minor league career, but down the line, his swing is probably too flat for him to hit for the above-average power that is expected from a third baseman. By playing Dietrich at second, the Marlins are giving him a chance to focus on his game at the plate, instead of in the field.
In 89 plate appearances, Derek Dietrich is hitting .281/.413/.491 with three homers, six doubles, and three triples. Among all Southern League hitters who have played in twenty or more games, Dietrich has the third highest on-base percentage. On Opening Day, Dietrich got a 1-0 fastball from Taijuan Walker, one of the top prospect pitchers in baseball, and hit it about 400 feet for a two-run home run. Still, Dietrich's most impressive statistic at the plate this year has to be his on-base percentage. Dietrich's walk percentage of 12.8 percentage is more than two times higher than his in 2012. If Dietrich can continue to sharpen his ability to draw walks and get on-base, his prospect stock should go through the roof. If continues going as it has, it's not insane to think that Dietrich could be in a Marlins uniform by the All-Star break.