Name: Edwin Diaz
Height/Weight: 6’2’’, 195
How Acquired: Drafted in 15th round in 2013
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Edwin Diaz’s name much higher on the A’s prospect list at this time next year. The shortstop from Puerto Rico made solid improvements during the 2014 season and really started to come on during the A’s fall Instructional League. His 2015 campaign could be a breakthrough year.
Diaz came to the A’s in the 2013 draft after competing at the same Puerto Rican high school that produced Yadier and Jose Molina (Ladislao Martinez Otero HS). Diaz’s father – also named Edwin – competed at the same high school and appeared briefly in the major leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The younger Diaz spent his pro debut season in 2013 competing in the Arizona Rookie League. Playing in the league as an 17-year-old until the final week of the AZL regular season, Diaz hit .238/.276/.359. He showed a little bit of pop, but also was susceptible to chasing outside of the strike-zone, walking just five times in 92 at-bats. Defensively, he flashed the potential of a solid glove and a plus throwing arm.
The A’s had Diaz repeat the AZL in 2014, and he showed significant improvement. Although Diaz’s batting average moved up just two points (.241), his OBP improved by more than 50 points to .343. His slugging percentage remained the same (.359). He walked 17 times in 145 at-bats. Defensively, Diaz flashed improved range at shortstop and logged some time at third base and second base, as well.
After the season was over, Diaz participated in the A’s fall Instructional League. He had an impressive camp, earning the “Light’s On” award, which is given to the player whose game is all coming together.
A’s special assistant to the GM Grady Fuson told OaklandClubhouse.com correspondent Kimberly Contreras that Diaz’s arm strength ranks alongside top prospects Matt Chapman and Yairo Munoz as the strongest infield throwing arms in the A’s system. Diaz has smooth actions at shortstop and could potentially stick at the position, as long as he doesn’t grow too big to play short. Diaz is currently 6’2’’, 195, but he is only 19 and could have some growth left.
At the plate, Diaz is still developing, but he has shown flashes of being able to barrel the ball. He has some pop in his bat already and could continue to develop power as he fills out his frame and learns how to add top-spin. Diaz has average speed.
After two seasons in the AZL and a good showing at Instructs, Diaz is likely to leave the Complex League in 2015 for short-season Vermont. He will be 19 until late August and could make a similar leap forward that Munoz did in 2014.