Throughout the offseason, we here at FH Freeway will go over some minor league players to watch out for in 2020. Our first installment of our “Players to Watch” is on Athletics prospect Jordan Diaz.
Players to Watch: Jordan Diaz
Diaz was one of the A’s signees from the 2016-17 international signing period, a big one for the Athletics. The A’s were quite active that year, handing out seven figure bonuses to Yerdel Vargas ($1.5M) and Marcos Brito ($1.1M). Both Vargas and Brito have been underwhelming in the pros thus far, but Diaz, who signed out of Columbia for $275,000, has emerged as an interesting prospect.
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Standing at 5’10” and 175 pounds, you wouldn’t think someone like Diaz would be a strong power hitter. But Diaz does have quite a bit of pop, thanks to a simple approach at the plate. Diaz also has a smooth bat plane, which allows him to get good leverage on the ball.
Diaz put up pedestrian numbers in his first couple of seasons in pro ball, posting a .563 OPS across two levels in 2017 before improving his numbers a bit in 2018 in the Arizona League (.277/..371/.390). This past season was a breakthrough season for Diaz, as he put up strong numbers in the New York-Penn League with Vermont (SS-A).
Diaz batted .264 with the Lake Monsters in 2019, but it was his power numbers that got a lot of attention. After producing 14 XBH in 48 games in 2018, Diaz had 27 XBH in 70 games in the NYPL, including nine home runs. Diaz finished the season with 48 RBI’s, which led the league, along with a .430 SLG (10th in NYPL) and a .736 OPS (15th in NYPL).
While he’s certainly grown as a hitter thus far, there are some other areas he’ll need to work on. First, he still has a projectable frame. While Diaz does look a bit stocky, he doesn’t actually weigh all that much, so he should be able to add a bit more strength to his frame. Second, he needs to refine his discipline at the plate. Diaz drew just 18 walks in 70 games, and was prone to chasing out of the zone from time to time last season.
There’s a lot to like with Jordan Diaz. The third baseman should move up to full-season ball in 2020, with a promotion to Beloit (A) most likely. While he may not be a household name just yet, Diaz has a lot upside and should be a prospect to watch out for in 2020. For more news, opinions and scouting reports, be sure to keep checking out the FH Freeway site.