The Milwaukee Brewers have named former Ruffneck, Isan Diaz, their 2016 Minor League Player of the Year. The recognition continues a string of successes for the Springfield, Massachusetts native who came to the Ruffnecks as a 15 year old. Diaz found the Ruffnecks when Dan Brookes, who was then the head coach of the Ruffnecks 18U squad, recognized his talent and interest in baseball while teaching at Springfield Central High School. The Diaz family quickly embraced the Ruffnecks experience, though it was not without some frustrations for the young Diaz, who credits Brookes and Coach Kirk Fredericks for much of his growth and development. Isan’s father, Raul, recently said, “None of this would have happened without the Ruffnecks. We will always be thankful for the opportunity.”
Diaz led his Single A team, the Wisconsin Rattlers, in home runs and RBI. He was recognized as an all-star during the minor league season for the second consecutive year. He just turned 20 this past May, and the future looks bright for one of the top prospects in professional baseball. A standout in high school, Isan Diaz, found his rhythm and was noticed during his time with the Ruffnecks. He had intentions to do a PG year at Salisbury School, and then head to Vanderbilt, but becoming a second round supplemental pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the June draft of his senior year changed his course. Arizona packaged Isan in a trade to Milwaukee at the end of last season. He continues his ascent, and everyone in the Ruffnecks organization enjoys watching his growth and success.
Adam Ravenelle & Diaz in Arizona Fall League
Diaz joins another former Ruffneck player, Adam Ravenelle, on the roster of the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, which gets under way on October 11th. The Arizona Fall League is Major League Baseball’s most select off-season developmental league for top MLB prospects. Ravenelle and Diaz never played together with the Ruffnecks, and find themselves on the same roster by coincidence. Ravenelle, a top pitching prospect for the Detroit Tigers, was a 5-year Ruffnecks player who began when he was 13. He and Isan Diaz share some of the same baseball influences, namely Coach Fredericks, who continues to be one of the most respected coaches in the Ruffnecks organization, and in all of New England. Coach Fredericks was Ravenelle’s high school coach at Lincoln-Sudbury. “Fred” and former Ruffnecks pitching coach/coordinator, Matt Blake, were instrumental in Ravenelle’s development. “Rav” went on to a terrific career at Vanderbilt University, closing out the 2015 Championship season on the mound for the Commodores.
We wish both a healthy and successful fall in Arizona. And thanks for being Ruffnecks!