Jordan Diaz, 1B, OAK

We all love prospects who rocket to prominence, but what about the slow improvers? Meet Jordan Diaz

Video courtesy of Baseball Is Everything Clips
  • Born: August 13, 2000
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 5’10”, 175-lbs
  • Signed by the Oakland Athletics in 2016 out of Colombia

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Some of these numbers go up and down (OBP, wRC+), and some actually went down (BB%), and speed is not in the picture at all.

But the strikeouts, though slowly rising, and doing so at such a slow clip that after three years of increases Diaz is still in the Excellent column. In fact that’s what Diaz has ben known for, a freaky ability to make contact so that he rarely strikes out. That’s likely why his walk rate is low — if you hit ’em, you hit ’em, not wait for the walks.

What really is impressive is the ISO column. That’s steady and impressive progress. The book on Diaz was yes, the bat control is nice, but can he hit for power in order to be more than just a corner bench bat?

Challenge accepted! He has a Hard Hit % of just under 30%, so he really is doing it the right way. Midland is not known for being a hitter’s park. It’s legit.

After a slow April, his bat came alive in May, and he continues to hit for power in June. This is not a fast start masking a slow rest-of-the season. It’s just the opposite. He would be a much higher ranked prospect if he had that May in April instead.

He hit’s righties better than lefties. He has a 19% K% against lefties and just a 2% walk rate, and only gets on base against them at a .286 clip.

Against RHP, he only strikes out 15% of the time and walks 7% of the time, and gets on base at a .355 clip.

This could, if it continues, lead to him being on a good-side platoon.

The Scouts

Warnings

Even at his best, his OBP is not great. Someone who just gets the bat on the ball will be subject to the whims of BABIP.

If he struggles against lefties — and I’m not sure I could call hitting .274 against them “struggling,” but the OBP was not good — he could lack playing time in a platoon. He’d be the kind of player you bench when facing a week full of lefties.

Look at the video above. He’s not the slimmest of batters, so that might be an issue to keep a watch on.

Conclusion

Diaz is not a top prospect, but he’s doing the things he was told he needed to do. He’s consistently showing power — good power — to go with his low strikeout rate. If he can maintain that, he could be a useful major leaguer.

He’s leading all A’s minor leaguers in doubles, extra-base hits and total bases. He’s being productive.

That’ll get you promoted to Triple-A and then the majors.

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