Good Morning all.
The Cardinals have started 0-3, but rather than focus on that and go all gloomy and doomy, I thought I’d take a look one of our youngsters who made his way onto the roster and may play a key role in the future.
Diaz, as you probably know, came over from Cuba. We signed him 2014, when he was 21. Now he’s 25, getting close to his prime years, so it makes sense to bring him on to the roster to see what he has, especially in light of Jhonny Peralta‘s injury.
So let’s look at this in two phases: Foreign stats and minor league stats
Obviously foreign stats aren’t always the best indicator, as the competition level is higher over here. The foreign stats *do* provide us a glimpse into what the Cards saw when they signed him though, so they are helpful in that regard.
He played in Cuba from 2007 to 2011, and those stats show a kid who could always hit for average, starting with a .281 average his first year, followed by a .341 average the following year. The average regressed a little after that, with a .282 season followed by a .293. He finished with a .315 season though.
So he could hit for average in Cuba. What about power?
He had some doubles power, but didn’t really show any home run pop, at least not until his last season, where he hit 12 homers in 270 AB’s a fluke, or a sign of developing strength and discipline as he got older? Time will tell.
Speaking of discipline, how about his OBP?
Obviously is sucked at first, but it seemed to have developed well over there, in his second last year in Cuba, he hit .294 with a .437 OBp, then in his last year, he hit .315 with a .404 OBP.
So his bat looked promising, what about his glove?
Well, he only played one year at SS, the position we signed him for. He did ok that year, showing good range (a 4.97 Range Factor per Game, or RF/G), but committing 18 errors in 69 games for a .950 fielding percentage.
So what do the minor league stats tell us?
In 2014 combined between Single A and Double A, he had a .278/.339/.445 slash line, with 13 homers and 28 doubles in 425 AB’s. in 2015 he spent most of the year at AA, where he had a .264/.324/.421 slash line, with 10 homers and 25 doubles in .375 AB’s. He made a brief cameo in Triple A in 2015, where, in just 50 AB’s he had a .380/.448/.620 slash line. Nice stats, but too few AB’s to mean anything. Only reason I mention it is to show he did at least put on a AAA uniform and didn’t jump straight from AA to the pros.
As for fielding, he only played 17 games at SS in 2014, so really, we’re relying mainly on 2015, where he played 105 games total at SS. He had a combined .964 fielding percentage, with a 4.38 RF/G. He had 17 errors in 105 games.
For comparison’s sake, lets look at Andrelton Simmons, the gold standard at SS when it comes to fielding. Simmons had a .988 fielding percentage with a 4.62 RF/G and 8 errors in 143 games in 2015.
Diaz has the range for the position it seems, now he just needs to work on being more sure handed.
I think Diaz needed a full season at AAA, even with Peralta’s injury. He may be 25 already, but it seems like he still needs some polishing. I want to see what he does in a full season at AAA, not just a 50 AB cameo. We have Jedd Gyorko and Ruben Tejada. Use them for now.
As always, thanks for reading.