Back on February 22nd, we highlighted Cleveland Indians prospect Yandy Diaz. More than a month has passed so let’s check in.
It is going very well: Diaz has been the talk of Indians camp, hitting a robust .424/.537/.606 with seven walks and four strikeouts in 33 at-bats. As usual his plate discipline has been excellent. Speculation that his power will increase looks realistic. He missed time with a groin injury and despite the strong hitting has also spent a great deal of time focusing on his defense at third base, as noted last week by Jordan Bastian at MLB.com.
Diaz has quickly emerged as a fan favorite in the battle for infield playing time but there are other considerations. He is a non-roster invitee, so if the Indians want to take him north they will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. His defense, as noted, still needs work, making it less likely that Diaz is the best option to help cover for the currently-injured Jason Kipnis. As Terry Pluto at the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes, “the Indians will probably use Gio Urshela at third base. Jose Ramirez will move from third to second base as Kipnis recovers.”
This would put Diaz back in Triple-A playing regularly and working on his defense and waiting for a spot to open up. It’s a long season, and at some point such an opporunity will certainly appear as other players struggle or get hurt.
Pluto has no doubts about Diaz’s bat: “Yandy Diaz may be the best young hitter that I've seen in a Tribe spring training since Victor Martinez.”
That’s high praise. And if Diaz continues to add power to his already-excellent approach, it will be well deserved.