Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted catching prospect Elias Diaz to the major league roster. Here’s a quick take on what to expect.
Diaz was originally signed by the Pirates as a free agent from Venezuela back in 2008. He has always been a top-flight defensive performer but didn’t do much with the bat until 2014 when he hit .328/.378/.455 in Double-A. He split 2015 and 2016 between Triple-A Indianapolis and visits to the disabled list for various injuries, with a couple of tiny cups of coffee in the majors.
Diaz ranked 16th on the Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 prospects for 2017 list with the following commentary:
16) Elias Diaz, C, Grade C+: Age 26, Venezuelan catcher missed much of season with elbow injury; hit .266/.289/.298 in 94 Triple-A at-bats with three walks, 17 strikeouts; line drive hitter with aggressive approach and not much power; draws constant praise for superior defensive ability and leadership skills; prototype glove-oriented reserve, more valuable for a real team than in fantasy so keep that in mind; other sources love his glove enough to rank him much higher than this on prospect lists. ETA 2017.
He was hitting well in Triple-A before his promotion this year, .305/.317/.441 through 15 games.
Diaz is a right-handed hitter and thrower, listed at 6-1, 215. He has a 70-grade arm and above-average mobility for a catcher While prone to the occasional error, he is death on baserunners and has developed into a very reliable receiver who works well with pitchers.
He is an aggressive hitter and won’t draw many walks. His raw power is also below average and overall he projects as a .250ish hitter without much OBP or SLG.
Diaz’s defense should keep him in the majors, but unless he suddenly gains power or a sharper batting eye, he won’t hit enough to play regularly for most teams.
Moore Baseball has some slo-mo throwing looks
He did hit this home run in spring training last year