Scouting Mets' Prospect #10: Victor Diaz

The New York Mets acquired Victor Diaz from the Dodgers in the Jeromy Burnitz trade after being drafted by the Dodgers in the 37th round of the 2000 draft. Diaz, who has two minor league batting titles to his credit, ranks #10 among the Top 50 Mets' Prospects. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

Vital Statistics:
Name: Victor Diaz
Position: Right Field
DOB: December 10, 1981
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Even if Victor Diaz never plays another game in the major leagues, he'll always be remembered in Cubs lore as the guy who killed yet another postseason chance on the North Side of Chicago. Diaz blasted a game-tying three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 25, a game that was won by the Mets in 11 innings and effectively ended Chicago's 2004 playoff hopes.

But with Diaz's huge power potential and the good vibes he created in just 15 games with the Mets, the chances of his big league career coming to a close there are remote.

Diaz came to the Mets from the Dodgers organization in the Jeromy Burnitz trade two summers ago. He was selected by Los Angeles in the 37th round of the 2000 draft out of Clemente (Ill.) High School in Chicago, and signed with the Dodgers as a draft-and-follow before attending Grayson (Tex.) Community College. Interestingly, two years later, Diaz stands a good chance of filling the same role for the Mets that Burnitz did, as a power-hitting corner outfielder. He did nothing to dissuade those projections with a solid session of winter ball, and Mets GM Omar Minaya characterized the organization's reports on Diaz as "very, very positive."

"I think it was a good trade for me, coming over here to a developing team," Diaz told us. "I was traded for a major leaguer, which made me feel good, however at the same time I was disappointed because I had a lot of friends over there. However, life goes on and you just have to deal with all that it throws you. In the end I am just thrilled to be a Met."

Diaz has been compared by some to Boston's Manny Ramirez, and while those comparisons are a little off base (at Diaz's age, Ramirez hit .308 with 31 homers and 107 RBI in the big leagues), they are similar type players. Ramirez has a better eye and more power, but they do compare defensively – not necessarily a great thing. But Diaz – who played his first full season in the outfield in 2004 – is prepared to work at his craft, and should be able to improve his glovework with some additional time at Triple-A.

"I still need to polish myself a little bit more so I can be the tremendous outfielder that I want to be, and that I know I can be," Diaz said. "The work is coming along, and I am doing a lot of work to get better. It is a different experience changing positions for the third time, and something you just have to get accustomed to."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

New York

.294

51

15

3

8

8

0

1

15

.321

.529

2004

Norfolk

.292

528

154

24

94

81

6

31

133

.332

.491

2003

Binghamton

.354

175

62

6

23

29

7

8

32

.382

.520

2003

Jacksonville

.291

316

92

10

54

42

8

27

60

.353

.462

2002

Jacksonville

.211

152

32

4

24

22

7

7

42

.258

.336

2002

South Georgia

.350

349

122

10

58

64

21

27

69

.407

.521

2001

GCL Dodgers

.354

195

69

3

31

36

6

16

23

-

.533


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Diaz is a free swinger and a hacker at the plate. He goes up there with one thing in mind: driving the ball! He has been prone to striking out due to aggressiveness but still manages to put good wood on the ball. He's a powerful player that has had some problems keeping weight off at times. A career .310 minor league hitter with two minor league batting titles to his credit, Diaz can flat out hit. He hit 27 homeruns in 2004 at the tender age of 22. There's still some room for more power and he has been compared to Manny Ramirez for his physical appearance and stance at the plate. That said, he does not have the patience that Manny has. Diaz projects to be a .300 hitter with 25+ homerun power.

Base Running and Speed. Diaz had much more speed in his skinnier days but he still does have good speed. He's better in motion, running from first to third, and from second to home. He's an aggressive base stealer, but that might not be a good thing. Diaz only has a 60% stolen base success rate in his four minor league seasons.

Defense. Diaz came up through the minor leagues as a second baseman that also played some third and first base. He was continually moved around due to his lack of defense in the infield and the Mets moved him to right field at AAA this past season to get his bat in the lineup. Diaz has a good arm in the outfield, but does not have the best range. He still learning to get better jumps on the balls hit his way and needs to take some better angles. He's been playing right field but projects to be more of a left fielder where his arm would give him a plus tool at that position.

Projection. Like Manny Ramirez, it is the offensive potential of Diaz that has him in the outfield. He just knows how to hit and he has developing power. Diaz can play an adequate outfield and can be a big run producer. He has the look of a starting corner outfielder at the Major League level who would be a great fit at the #5 or #6 spot in the lineup where he would have the opportunity to drive in some runs with the contact he makes.

ETA. 2005/2006. Diaz impressed people with his power and run production in his 15-game cup of coffee with the Mets in 2004. He just turned 23 years old and has only been playing the outfield for one year. The Mets may be tempted to send him back to AAA-Norfolk for some more seasoning in 2005 and will probably the first option in the outfield to be called up to the Mets should the need arise for a corner outfielder or bench help.

Outfielders

2004 Team

Victor Diaz

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Prentice Redman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Jeff Duncan

AA - Binghamton Mets

Angel Pagan AA - Binghamton Mets
Wayne Lydon AA - Binghamton Mets
Ron Acuna AA - Binghamton Mets
Bobby Malek AA - Binghamton Mets
Alhaji Turay A - St. Lucie Mets
Jonathan Slack A - St. Lucie Mets
Joseph Jiannetti A - St. Lucie Mets
Lastings Milledge A - Capital City Bombers
Jamar Hill A - Capital City Bombers
Ryan Harvey A - Capital City Bombers
Rashad Parker A - Capital City Bombers
Caleb Stewart A - Capital City Bombers
Ambiorix Concepcion A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Corey Coles A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Dante Brinkley A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Derran Watts A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Seith Pietsch R - Kingsport Mets
Carlos Gomez R - Kingsport Mets
Joshua Wyrick R - Kingsport Mets
Jesus Gamero R - Kingsport Mets


Comments

Two years ago, the Mets were really devoid of any real threat in the outfield among their prospects. They currently have a handful of legitimate outfield prospects, players that could become full-time starters at the Major League level. While Victor Diaz and Prentice Redman are the closest to the Major Leagues, Lastings Milledge, Jamar Hill, and Ambiorix Concepcion give the Mets a very athletic look in the future. The Mets could have a very, very good outfield down the road.

1) Victor Diaz - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Diaz, making the switch from second base to right field in 2004, looked pretty comfortable in the field and at the plate. There's never been a question about his bat (he has won two minor league battle titles), just his attitude and defense. It will be interesting to see if the Mets make the commitment to Diaz in their outfield after a very good AAA debut in 2004, or use him as a trading piece for an established Major League talent.

2) Prentice Redman - AAA-Norfolk Tides - Redman does a little bit of everything well. He can run, hit, hit for power, and possesses speed. The problem is he doesn't any one of them very well. His future at the Major League level is as a reserve outfielder.

3) Jeff Duncan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Once patrolling centerfield for the Mets, Duncan was demoted all the way down to AA this past season. With Cameron tied up for the next two seasons, and with Milledge right behind him (or ahead of him in many ways), Duncan needs a change of scenery with a new organization.

4) Angel Pagan - AA-Binghamton Mets - Pagan is developing into a very good reserve-type outfielder that can play all three outfield positions and can hit at the top or bottom of the lineup. He make very good contact at the plate, has excellent speed, a good arm, and brings good enthusiasm into the clubhouse.

5) Wayne Lydon - AA -Binghamton Mets - Lydon is all about the speed. With 227 stolen bases the last three seasons, Lydon's a light-hitting defensive player that has a knack for the stolen bases. His ticket to the Majors is as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.

6) Bobby Malek - AA-Binghamton Mets - There's a reason the Mets made Malek their 4th round selection in the 2002 draft. Malek is a very good defensive player that possesses a rare combination of power and speed. After struggling last season after elbow surgery, Malek regained his college form in 2004, hitting 14 home runs and stealing 15 bases. Malek still has the potential to be a starting outfielder at the Major League level. 2005 could be a breakout year for Malek.

7) Ronald Acuna - AA - Binghamton Mets - A very good contact hitter and excellent defensive player, Acuna's lack of power is his downfall as a prospect. He has just 5 HRs in his last 1,441 minor league at-bats. He's a 4th or 5th outfielder at the Major League level.

8) Joseph Jiannetti - A-St. Lucie Mets - Originally drafted as a 3B, the Mets moved him to 2B back in 2002 and then moved him to the outfield in 2004. Jiannetti is a nice hitter with decent pop. He's got the potential to be a reserve outfielder or as a possible utility player.

9) Jonathan Slack - A-St. Lucie Mets - Slack is a good defensive centerfielder much in the same mold as Lydon. Good defensively, decent hitter, great speed, and not much power. He's got the look of a possible reserve outfielder.

10) Alhaji Turay - A - St. Lucie Mets - The talent is there. A good defensive player, Turay has big time power potential and excellent speed. He has 30-30 potential and is easily one of the Mets' best run producing prospects....WHEN HEALTHY! Turay has to put together a full, healthy season before he becomes an elite prospect, but he does have that kind of talent.

11) Jamar Hill - A - Capital City Bombers - Hill, with 26 HRs & 20 SBs in 2004, had a breakout season this past year and showing the promise he displayed in Kingsport back in 2002. If he can duplicate the same success at St. Lucie in 2005, Hill could make that leap into one of the better outfield prospects in all of baseball.

12) Lastings Milledge - A- Capital City Bombers - Already considered the Mets' top prospect after the Mets trade Scott Kazmir, Milledge had a very good first year of long-season baseball. Milledge does it all: power, speed, defense, hitting, etc. He strikes out a bit too much, but could learn more selectivity as he matures. Easily the top outfield prospect for the Mets!

13) Ryan Harvey - A - Capital City Bombers - Harvey certainly gets overlooked by many despite being a very solid outfielder. Harvey, the Bombers' lone All-Star in '04, does a little bit of everything. Currently, he has the look of a reserve outfielder at the Major League level but he could be a late bloomer much in the same manner Jason Bay was. He's one to keep an eye on.

14) Rashad Parker - A - Capital City Bombers - Parker's a defensive and speed replacement at the minor league level. There's no reason to expect anything else.

15) Caleb Stewart - A - Capital City Bombers - Stewart is a big kid that moves very well. He has a very good batting eye and decent power. He could develop into a Major League starting outfielder down the road.

16) Ambiorix Concepcion - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - The player formerly known as Roberto Solano, Concepcion is a five-tool talent that has the raw ability to be an elite outfield prospect for the Mets. Voted by Baseball America as the top prospect in the NY-Penn League this year, Concepcion reminds scouts of Vladmir Guerrero at the same point in development.

17) Corey Coles - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Coles had a tremendous start to the 2004 season for Brooklyn and then had a disasterous finish. At 23, he's going to have to have some success at higher levels before we get too excited about him.

18) Dante Brinkley - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Brinkley is a nice player that can do a little bit of everything. He has the look of a future reserve outfielder.

19) Derran Watts - A - Brooklyn Cyclones - Has more speed than Brinkley, a better arm, and is better defensively. But has a long way to go to become legit outfield prospect.

20) Carlos Gomez - R - Kingsport Mets - Gomez was a wide-eyed 18-year old kid playing rookie ball this past season, but has the raw talent to be a special prospect. He's got a cannon for an arm, good batting eye, and developing power. He could be atop this list next year along with Lastings Milledge and Jamar Hill as the Mets' best outfield prospects.

21) Seth Pietsch - R - Kingsport Mets - A little old for the Appy League, Pietsch is a strong kid with good power and speed. He needs to show some success at the higher levels.

22) Joshua Wyrick - R - Kingsport Mets - Wyrick, an 11th round pick in the 2004 draft, had a decent professional debut. He's a speedster with great range.

23) Jesus Gamero - R - Kingsport Mets - Has an excellent batting eye and developing power.

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