Diaz Making the Adjustment

TAMPA, FL - Dominican outfielder Andy Diaz, 19, had a solid pro debut last season, hitting .275 with 22 extra-base hits and 40 walks in 61 Dominican Summer League games, and quickly became a sleeper prospect for the Yankees. Now States-side in the Gulf Coast League, he is trying to adjust to a new level and a new country.

“It’s very different here because I am still getting used to the weather and the people,” Diaz said through the help of a translator. “My friends in the Dominican told me America is like Disney World, but I quickly realized this country wasn’t like that because when you come here you can achieve whatever you want but you have to work very hard.”

And working hard is exactly what Diaz has done. He was told to stay around the same weight when he came to America which is around 190 pounds, but this 5-foot-11 athlete continued to work out in the gym and practiced an extra three or four hours every day on the field to ensure he was doing everything he could to be prepared for this year's Extended Spring Training and regular season.

“He can run, he has power, he throws decently well," Gulf Coast League manager Marc Bombard said. "Now it’s just a matter of him becoming more consistent, which is what this league is all about. You don’t want them to make mistakes, but sometimes you kind of hope they do so they can learn by them. But overall, he is carrying himself well down here.”

Diaz bats and throws left-handed, and has hit safely in nine of his first eleven GCL games with three doubles, one home run, and four RBIs. He credits his current success to the effort he puts forth in every practice and game.

“I think he is a great kid and a hard worker,” Gulf Coast League hitting coach Kevin Mahoney said. “I enjoy having him around because he shows up every day ready to strap on. He’s an exciting player and he’s been fun to watch these past couple of weeks.”

Both of the coaches and the manager applaud Diaz for his most recent game highlight, throwing a guy out in the ninth inning to keep the game tied and ending with a win for the Yankees.

“He’s put himself in a great position to succeed,” Mahoney added.

What's been evident so far is that Diaz can do a little bit of everything; he can play all three outfield positions, he can run, he can hit for some extra-base power, he has a good approach, and few can out-work him.

As for improvements, Diaz thinks he needs to work on running faster so he can steal more bases. His coaches agree and add that the game is all about consistency and if he can become consistent, there won’t be anything stopping Diaz from becoming one of the better prospects.

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