Is there a question about the offensive potential for Yandy Diaz, or are the questions facing him more centered on his ability to stay on the field (whether it’s due to injury or a loss of playing time)? Obviously those types of concerns are going to cloud the issue, but when he’s on the field there’s little question about what he can do. Just look at the numbers from 2019:
307 At Bats
.267 Batting Average (82 Hits)
14 Home Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.340 On Base Percentage
.476 Slugging Percentage
.288 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Diaz missed time due to injury, and even when he’s been healthy the one question you can ask is whether or not he will put the ball in the air enough. Over 646 PA the past three seasons he owns a 53.5% groundball rate, though it has been trending in the right direction for a player with little speed (59.0% to 53.3% to 50.8%). If he continues on that path there’s going to be little question regarding his upside.
Last season he owned an exit velocity of 91.7 mph (matching his career mark), which placed him among the Top 20 qualified hitters. He also carried an above average Barrel% (10.4%, compared to the league average of 6.3%) and his 42.4% Hard% adds to the intrigue. He may never be a 30-35 HR slugger, but if he stays on the field is 20+ (with the potential for 25+) unthinkable?
He’ll play most of the year at 28-years old (he’ll turn 29 in August) and added 20 doubles and 1 triple last season. With all the numbers pointing in his favor, it’s easy to envision the power finally being put on display.
In terms of his AVG, the numbers also support an improvement in his BABIP and there’s little question that he carries an impressive approach:
- SwStr% – 9.3%
- O-Swing% – 25.3%
- Oppo% – 27.2%
You put that together, along with a spot in the middle of the Rays lineup, and you get the following projection for 2020 (assuming he can stay on the field):
.288 (151-525), 25 HR, 80 RBI, 70 R, 4 SB, .312 BABIP, .365 OBP, .495 SLG
You can argue that there’s even more in the tank and as far as playing time goes, if he’s hitting there’s little reason to think that he won’t be in the lineup on a daily basis. The biggest question is his health, but if he’s on the field it’s easy to envision him living up to the hype he’s received in recent seasons.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 preseason rankings: