Throughout the offseason, I’ll be sharing a series on Tribe Strengths, highlighting one area in which each player excels. Up next is Yandy Diaz.
Yandy Diaz is still a work in progress, and may not even make the opening day roster this season. But he’s already made a strong impression with his development in certain areas of his game.
Despite struggling with his launch angle and mostly driving the ball into the ground, Diaz’s patience at the plate allowed him to generate a .352 OBP during his rookie year.
The area where Diaz’s patience was most noticeable was in pitcher’s counts, where Diaz chased just 19.3 percent of the pitches he saw outside the strike zone. While Diaz didn’t play enough games to qualify for the leaderboards, among qualifying players only the Reds’ Joey Votto had a lower chase rate in pitcher’s counts (18.6 percent). Of the Indians everyday players, Edwin Encarnacion’s 28.0 percent was the lowest.
The heat map below shows a visualization of Diaz’s swing rate in pitcher’s counts:
The fact that Diaz is able to remain patient even when he gets behind in the count is extremely encouraging, and virtually guarantees him some amount of success in the majors. He obviously has to make better contact on the pitches he does swing at, but his .350 batting average in Columbus last season indicates he has that potential in him.
Now the Tribe just has to find a way to create at-bats for him at the major league level.