Prospect Profile: Dennis Diaz

Dennis Diaz had some decent college credentials, but still found himself holding his breath throughout the draft this past June. The Phillies believe that with some work, this 24th round pick can be a true diamond in the rough. He also continues a trend toward speed that the Phillies have been keeping an eye on for the past few drafts.

Dennis Diaz can do some things and he can do them pretty well. The first thing that stands out is his speed. This past March, Diaz became the Sun Belt Conference All-Time Stolen Base Leader when he swiped the 126th base of his college career. It was a moment that stands out for Diaz. "It's pretty special to be able to do something like that," said the 22 year old Diaz.
Dennis Diaz set the Sun Belt Conference record for stolen bases in a career this past March.

Another thing that Diaz does well is move around. He can play a lot of positions and handles them all pretty well. The Phillies officially listed him as a second baseman when they drafted him, but he's played primarily in the outfield in his professional debut. In college, Diaz played a lot of shortstop and a return to the infield wouldn't be out of the question.

Diaz also fits the mold of being a good attitude type of guy. He just wants the opportunity to play and doesn't really care where on the field he plays or where in the lineup he hits. He just wants a chance. "I was holding my breath just waiting to hear my name. When I heard my name, I was so happy to be selected. My parents, who have been so supportive of me, throughout my life came over to hug me and my mom ended up crying," remembers Diaz about finally hearing his name in the 24th round of the draft.

2005 Batavia 0 1 .231 15 39 8 9 0 0 3 1 1 12

Acquired: Drafted in the 24th round of the 2005 Draft out of Florida International University.

Batting and Power: Offense is going to be the big question mark with Diaz. At FIU, Diaz was a career .306 hitter, which by college ranks isn't exactly burning things up. He also homered just 18 times in four seasons. The adjustment to wood bats is going slowly, as the Phillies sort of expected with Diaz. The hope is that he can develop a little offense and be able to put his speed to use.

Baserunning and Speed: This is where Diaz excels. Even hitting just .231 at Batavia with a .250 OBP, Diaz has swiped three bases. Especially once he is going on the bases, there are few players faster than Diaz. He also has good baserunning skills and is aggressive, but smart on the bases. Again, he needs to get on base more to put his speed to use.

Defense: Whether he's playing on the infield or in the outfield, Diaz is at least average at every position. His speed helps him get to balls hit in the gaps and he has good instincts that allow him to get a good jump on the ball. His arm is solid and accurate.

Projection: The Phillies told Diaz that they wanted him to be somewhat of a Placido Polanco type clone. He's going to have to develop some offense and add a little more power to equal Polanco. At this point, Diaz seems to be a utility type player who will be on a team primarily for his speed and defense. Many scouts do insist that he should develop some offense, but it may take a while for it to show.

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