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Lewin Díaz, Peter O’Brien win Dominican Winter League awards

One of the top Marlins prospects was voted Rookie of the Year for the 2019-20 season, while a familiar face receives league MVP honors.

Photo courtesy of @lewin_dh19/Instagram

With the regular season schedule ending on Thursday, the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) has announced its 2019-20 award winners. It features several names that Marlins fans ought to be very familiar with. Promising first baseman Lewin Díaz has been voted Rookie of the Year while (Hialeah’s own!) Peter O’Brien earned league MVP honors.

Díaz’s victory is the more surprising of the two. As chronicled weekly in our offseason section, he impressed as one of the youngest players on the Estrellas Orientales roster. A native of Santiago in the D.R., he slashed .276/.331/.422—comfortably above league average in LIDOM’s low-scoring conditions—with three home runs and 20 runs batted in.

But Díaz played in only 29 of 50 total games. And, through no fault of his own, the Estrellas were a dumpster fire while he was active. Their 9-20 record was easily the worst in the six-team league, which led to a midseason firing of manager Fernando Tatís and reportedly a lot of public unrest.

Anyway, please check out where the 23-year-old ranks on the updated Marlins top prospects list.

Very different circumstances for O’Brien. By Halloween, he had emerged as a leading MVP candidate for the dominant Toros del Este and never slowed down. The 29-year-old led all LIDOM players in home runs (9), runs batted in (35), walks (36)...and yes, strikeouts (58). His .865 OPS ranked fourth among qualified batters.

Toros del Este

O’Brien served primarily as their designated hitter, but also got some reps at right field and first base.

Remember Jordany Valdespin?! The former Fish player from 2014 and 2015 was the league’s reigning most valuable player award winner. He finished second in the balloting this time around.

After putting up encouraging numbers as a 2018 September call-up for the Marlins, O’Brien regressed severely this past season. Overall, he is a .231/.306/.426 hitter in 121 plate appearances for the club. That’s underwhelming for somebody who is seen as a liability with the glove and on the base paths.

O’Brien became a free agent in October, and as far as I can tell, he hasn’t inked a contract for 2020 yet. But the LIDOM Round Robin gives him an extended opportunity to continue flaunting his skills (while competing for a championship).