Less than a month after getting shortstop Yunel Escobar in a 12-player trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Miami Marlins traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor-league SS/2B Derek Dietrich.
Dietrich played for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in 2011, hitting .277 with 22 HR and 81 RBI in 127 games. He was one of my favorite players to watch in the Midwest League that year, and at Bowling Green Ballpark, I snagged a ball he hit for a home run.
Dietrich, ranked No. 14 on the Rays’ Top 20 at the time of the trade, has some upside with the bat. The Georgia Tech product slugged .500 in his first full season in 2011, and while his power numbers dropped a bit in 2012, he still has pop from the left side. He hit well enough in Class A Advanced Port Charlotte to earn a promotion to Double-A Montgomery in July. Originally a shortstop, he started to move to the right side of the infield after his promotion to Double-A, largely in deference to shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee. But most feel Dietrich is better suited as an offensive-minded second baseman. If his plate discipline can improve, the power will continue to come and the 2010 second-rounder might not be that far away from being ready to test out big-league pitching.
The baseball field isn’t the only place Dietrich has shown talent. Here’s an interesting tidbit about him from the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
Off the field, Dietrich is a real circus act.
According to his bio in the Georgia Tech baseball media guide, Dietrich “spent two years as a member of the St. Ignatius Circus Company, where he juggled for community service events and charities around the Cleveland area. … Also juggled for the Rady’s Children’s Cancer Hospital during his stay in San Diego for the 2006 Aflac All-America Game.”