Hi everyone I am going to throw a name at you, one who unless you’re an Indians fan or spend a lot of time on Baseball Savant, will not know, he is a 3B/Corner Outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, his name is Yandy Diaz.
Now what makes Yandy Diaz so special that I am writing a piece about him, he signed as an amateur free agent out of Cuba in 2013 for 300k, you could always find him among Cleveland’s top 20-30 prospects but he only went as high as 7th and because his debut at the majors came as a 25-year-old, no one ever paid too much attention to him.
Here’s how he was graded by FanGraphs as a prospect:
Game Power: 30/40
Raw Power: 50/50
Future Value: 45
Scale: 20/80 Right Now/Potential
No one’s going to think too much of that, strong arm, some raw power, but other than that, very meh.
Because of my Baseball Savant mention earlier you probably have figured it out that he stood out in some StatCast area, and it actually is very simple.
Diaz hits the ball very hard. Check out some examples:
This is a Double Play GB against Zack Greinke at a 105.9 MPH Exit Velocity
This is a RBI Double against Chris Sale at a 101.1 MPH Exit Velocity
Lastly a RBI GB single against Jaime Garcia at a 107.6 MPH Exit Velocity
He also had 2 Batted Balls against Yu Darvish off 101 and 107 MPH Exit Velocity, a 99 one against Archie Bradley and a 108 one against David Robertson, even someone very skeptical, will admit, this is an impressive feat, but with so many GBs you`ll get results like the Greinke DP on very well hit balls, dude you`re not Dee Gordon, launch that ball up
Among all qualified hitters in the majors this year his Avg Exit Velocity of 91.5 ranks as the 8th highest, sandwiched in between Stanton and Goldschmidt, his problem is very simple he makes Eric Hosmer look like Ryan Schimpf, someone in that Cleveland organization should put him aside and say:
Son, STOP HITTING THE BALL ON THE GROUND. 59.0 GB%, are you joking with me.
Among all hitters with at least 30 Batted Ball Events he was the only one in MLB to avg more than 90 MPH on balls on the ground, 90.8 to be exact and lastly he was one of 6 players to have at least half of their batted balls at 95 MPH+, 50.8% to be exact.
You might say well, this is all small sample size, but take a look at his minor league play.
In AAA this year on 85 games he managed a:
350/454/460 slash line on a .412 BABIP, 163 wRC+ on a 63.5 GB%.
Are you kidding me, a 163 wRC+ on a 63.5 GB%, that’s insane, he had seasons along the same stat line the year before, split between AA and AAA, 2015 in AA, and 14 in A+.
His success alone at hitting the ball hard, with nothing pointing towards an adjustment in his Launch Angle, led Steamer to give him the following projection to 2018:
288/373/400 Slash Line
11.5 BB% 18.9 K%
.112 ISO .350 BABIP
.339 wOBA 109 wRC+
105 Games 422 PA 2.1 WAR
What does this show you, is that he is so good and has so much potential that he is projected to be an above-average hitter all while completely pounding the ball on the ground and basically dismissing all the power that resides on that bat, his raw power grade, and his exit velocity numbers are irrefutable evidence he has the power, is just physically impossible to hit for power with this GB%.
I know fixing such issues is a tough task, but with so, so many hitters adjusting for higher launch angles and the so-called “Flyball Revolution” with the whole the ball is juiced talk, Yandy is literally the perfect candidate and with this adjustment could truly become a great hitter.
Feel free to comment, subscribe, suggest and if you prefer hit me up on Twitter I’m @E_Max27.
I do not own any of these images/videos, they`re property of MLB and are here for illustrative purposes only