Prospect Scouting Report: Javis Diaz

Visa problems delayed the start to Javis Diaz' year in this country but he was tearing it up down in the Dominican, a trait he continued in Peoria.

The common phrase among Latin imports is "they try and hit themselves off the island." Meaning they are free-swingers that take time to develop any semblance of awareness regarding the strike zone.

But one thing Javis Diaz does better than most players coming from the Dominican is show an uncanny knack for patience at the plate.

"He really showed a nice eye for the zone which is rare from players coming from that area," Jeff Kingston explained.

Diaz played in 20 Dominican Summer League games, hitting .322 with a .447 on base percentage. The outfielder drew 14 walks while striking out just eight times during his tour down south. He also added ten stolen bases, which lead the team upon coming to the states.

When he came to Peoria to suit up for the Arizona Rookie League squad, Diaz had 92 walks to 77 strikeouts over a two and a half year career that began in 2003.

While he struck out more times, 30, than he walked, 17, with Peoria, he made up for it by hitting .352 to notch an on base percentage of .425 with Peoria. And at the end of the year he was promoted to Eugene where he saw action in five games.

A week into his year with Peoria, Padres management saw something in his swing that needed to be tweaked.

"We thought he was pulling off the ball," said Tye Waller, the Padres former director of player development. "After he made an adjustment, he went on fire."

Diaz was dropped from the leadoff spot to the three-hole in the lineup and began knocking in every run with consistency, hitting .395 with runners in scoring position.

"He has some speed and is pretty strong," Grady Fuson, the Padres vice president of scouting and player development, explained. "Much better plate discipline than I had thought."

In just 39 games played, Diaz stole 19 bases. He had a hitting streak of 11 games snapped in his final game with Peoria and had 17 multi-hit games.

Diaz profiles as a top of the order hitter who at 21 still has a lot of room for growth. If he can continue to get on base and add power to his arsenal, it appears he can be a solid number two hitter down the road. He is an excellent bunter, gets on base and will take the extra base when given an opportunity.

He has the ability to play centerfield but seems to have found a comfort zone in left. It would not surprise to see him in full season ball next year, especially with some of the changes to the minor league system, but he could also wind up in Eugene as they take it slow with his progression. He has played three years now and logged over 60 games in each so it may be time to test how he does over a schedule that is twice as long as what he is accustomed to.

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