Aledmys Diaz’s 2016 Season: Outlier or Maturation?

Good day all, been a while. I thought I’d dust off the keyboard and talk about one of my favorite stories of 2016: Aledmys Diaz.

Last year, Diaz hit .300 with 17 homers and 65 RBI in 460 PA’s. He also had healthy .369 OBP.

While we knew he had talent, the year exceeded all expectations, and that’s kind of the problem.

Was what he produced in 2016 a sign of what’s to come? Or was 2016 a case of a rookie catching the league by surprise?

To get some insight into that, let’s take a peek into his minor league history.

He joined the Cards in 2014, at the age of 23 (that’s another thing to keep in mind, he’s older than I thought. He’ll be 26 next year, 3 years older than, say, Bryce Harper.)

In 2014 he started poorly in the Florida State League, hitting .227 in a brief 13 game cameo. The Cards must’ve seen something they liked, though (perhaps it was the .352 OBP that came with that .227 average.) as he moved on up to AA Springfield, where he hit .291 in 125 PA’s. The OBP leveled off though, as it was only .311. He showed a little pop with 5 homers and 10 doubles combined between the two levels (179 PA’s total).

Diaz started 2015 in AA, where he hit .264 with 10 homers and 46 RBI in 409 PA’s. The OBP rebounded a bit, to .060 points above his average at .324.

His performance earned him a promotion to AAA. Like he had when he was promoted to AA, he hit. In a 58 PA cameo, he hit .380(!) with a .448 OBP and a .620 Slugging Percentage, or SLP. Combined, he hit 13 homers between the two levels in 467 PA’s. His OBP was 60-70 points higher like it has been at all levels, save for that brief period in AA at the end of 2014.

In 2016, save for a 2 game cameo in the FSL, he spent the entire year in the bigs. Save for the power, everything he achieved is consistent with past performance. ability to hit for solid average, an OBP 60-70 points higher than his batting average.

Plus, looking closer at the power, it’s not that far (if at all) out of line. If you calculate what he did in 2015 out to 600 PA’s, he gets 16.7 homers. Do the same thing for the 17 homers in 460 PA’s in 2016 and you get 21.9, which seems more like maturation than an outlier.

Diaz may have gotten results faster than expected, but everything I’m seeing here points to 2016 as the simple maturation of a very talented young hitter.

All of this makes me very excited to see what 2017 brings on the offensive side of the ball for Aledmys. The defensive side? That’s another post.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

 

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