Name: Eduardo Diaz
DOB: 7/19/1997 (Age 21)
Acquired: 2015 International Free Agent Signing
Position: Center Fielder
Most Notable Tool: Speed
Season Stats: 33 games, 128 PA, .225/.262/.350, 5 2B, 2 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R, 3/40 BB/K, 3/3 SB
2018 Season Summary: Diaz had a solid 2017 season in which he lit up the Pioneer League enough to get the organization confident enough he could handle the jump to full season ball. That did not pan out as Diaz struggled for most of the year. He did pick up a solid string of games in late May through early June, including hitting for the cycle, but had some troubling peripherals. His strikeout to walk ratio plummeted from 47/11 in 268 PA in Missoula to 40/3 in Kane County. He struggled for a 7-game stretch with no hits and a lot of strikeouts before injuring himself on June 16th. He did not play another game at any level after that point, so the
Tools: Hit 30/55, Power 40/55, Speed 55, Defense 55
The tools and where they project to be are intriguing, but there is a lot of inconsistency in his game. The bad walk and strikeout numbers from Missoula got much worse in Kane County, which suggests perhaps poor pitch recognition on breaking balls since he hit .209/.250/.275 against RHP. However, if he’s able to put the bat on the ball enough to use his above average power (30 XBH in 268 PA at any level is worth nothing) and work on his walks he has enough bat to be an everyday center fielder. He probably will get moved to a corner with with McCarthy, Thomas, and Robinson equally as capable if not more in CF. The arm does play well for right field, so I do think that would be his long term spot should he figure out hitting.
Upside: Diaz has the potential for 5 above average tools despite lacking a plus tool like A.J. Pollock, who turned out to be a great outfielder despite just changing to that position in the pros. As I mentioned long term, the upside is a potential starting outfielder that can impact the game with his power, speed, and defense.
Risk: The most obvious issue is the inconsistency with the bat. A hitter with a low walk rate paired with a high strikeout rate has a pretty low floor as a hitter especially if he’s not barreling up balls consistently. In the case of Diaz, the XBH went way down in accordance to a significant decline in walks and increase in strikeouts. Even though he’s only 20, I do have concerns he will not be able to get past A ball until he can prove he can make consistent contact and draw walks.
Likely 2019 Assignment: It’s a difficult projection given how poorly he struggled in Kane County last year, but that was maybe perhaps the organization thinking he was ready for a challenge he truly wasn’t. I think they send him to Kane County again barring an awful minor league camp in Spring and see how he handles the first month before deciding whether to keep him there or demote him to short season ball. The tools will buy him more time than a prospect like Tra Holmes, who is a 1 tool guy, but despite having them time’s running out for him to make it as a prospect.
ETA: 2022 Season