Fangraphs Ranking: 24th (Rangers)
MLB Pipeline Ranking: 17th (Brewers)
MLB Pipeline Tools Grade: Fastball- 60; Curveball- 50; Changeup-45; Control- 50; Overall- 45
It was definitely a lot harder to find much information on Marcos Diplan than it was the other two pieces of the Gallardo trade. It's not surprising though as Diplan is just 18 years old with one season in the Dominican Summer League under his belt. From what I can tell though, Marcos Diplan has an outside chance of making this trade look like a big win for the Brewers.
The Rangers signed Diplan, who was considered among the top prospects available, to a $1.3 million bonus during the 2013 international signing period. He has a fastball that currently sits anywhere from 89-92 mph and can hit as high as 96. As he grows and adds more strength that fastball should consistently hit that 92 mark, perhaps even better. He is also said to have a curveball and changeup that flash average at times.
Despite noting some inconsistencies with his pitches (understandable at 17/18 years old) Kiley McDaniel (Fangraphs), Ben Badler (Baseball America), and Mark Anderson (Baseball Prospectus) all remarked that Diplan showed an advanced fell for pitching relative to his age.
There are still considerable questions about his future major league role. With and above average fastball, 2 potentially average secondary offerings, and an advanced feel for pitching relative to his age Marcos Diplan has the ultimate ceiling of a mid-rotation starting pitcher. However because of his size (he's only 5'10'') and a some hitches in his delivery it's very possible durability will force him to the bullpen.
If Diplan were to reach his ultimate potential then the Brewers traded 1 year of a mid-rotation starter for 6 years of a mid-rotation starter and whatever Corey Knebel and Luis Sardinas end up being. That's pretty cool. Of course we won't know if that's the case for another 4 or 5 years if not longer.
MLB Pipeline sets his ETA for 2017. That seems a bit aggressive to me (unless he converts to relief). Diplan will start 2015 in one of the stateside rookie leagues next year. Let's say he starts in the advanced rookie league (which is possible given his relative polish). Let's also assume he tackles one level per year. That means he would arrive at the MLB level in 2020. That would be the latest ETA though.
Often once prospects reach AA (or A+ if they're really good or advanced) they'll start splitting seasons between levels. If we're lucky maybe he can stick as a starter and arrive in 2018 pitching alongside Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, Ty Wagner, Devin Williams, Kodi Medeiros, Miguel Diaz, Taylor Williams, and Wei-Chung Wang! (By 2018 MLB teams will be using tandem rotations, we'll have hover boards, and all food will be in pill form and MADE FROM PEOPLE)
It's going to be fun to dream on the potential of Diplan. But we also have to be prepared for the possibility he ends up as a reliever or flames out entirely. He is just 18 after all and has only pitched a handful of games in the lowest rookie league. Regardless of what happens, we're going to have to be really patient with him.