Pittsburgh Pirates Officially Promote Elias Diaz

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

According to Elias Diaz‘s Facebook account he is headed up to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Diaz becomes another top prospect joining the big league roster.  This year has been full of the Pittsburgh Pirates calling up a lot of young players from the minors.  Diaz will now be called up for the second time in his career.  He was called up last September and received only two plate appearances during his time.  He did not get a lot of chances last year because he was the third catcher on the roster.  Now it looks like we will get a look at Diaz as he will likely have a chance to start a game or two.

With calling up Diaz the Pirates had to make an additional move.  The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that Eric Fryer has been placed on the paternity list.  This will give the Pirates a chance to get another young prospect some exposure to the big leagues this year. Once Fryer is ready to come back from his leave the Pirates will option Diaz back to AAA.

Diaz has worked his way up into being considered one of the top catching prospects in baseball.  He really put himself on the prospect map when he broke out at Double-A Altoona in 2014.  For the Curve he batted .328 in 91 games.  He led the Eastern League in batting average that year, and because of it he found himself in Triple-A for the last ten games of the 2014 season.  This was the first year that he broke out offensively.  He has always been known as a strong defensive catcher with many considering him to have the best arm in the system.  With his offensive outburst in 2014 he became a more complete prospect.

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Last year in Triple-A he put up another strong year.  He batted .271 with a solid .330 on-base percentage.  Yes, it was not as big of a year that he had in 2014, but still a very solid offensive year out of the catching position.  He also threw out 30 percent of attempted runners last year and was only charged with four passed balls in his 93 games played.  He entered the 2016 season ranked as the number six overall catching prospect.

Unfortunately Diaz missed the beginning of this season with an elbow injury.  Many thought that Diaz was going to require Tommy-John Surgery, luckily he only had to get chipped bone fragments removed (that is not very fun either, but better than missing 12-15 months).  All in all he played just 12 games in the minors this year, with most being rehab games.  He will find himself back in Triple-A when Fryer comes back, but it good to see that the Pirates feel he is a major league ready option, even with missing most of this year.

Diaz does not have one tool that really stands above the others.  He has a very strong arm, but he is just a well rounded catcher.  He projects to be a .265-.280 type hitter, with 10-15 home run power, average amount of strikeouts to walks, and sound pitch framing, game calling, and pitch blocking.  Essentially if he continues to develop he just could be a really good all around catcher, which would make him one of the better catcher in the league.

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In another move the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned relief pitcher AJ Schugel to the minors to make room for Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow will be up to make his second start for the Pirates. Schugel who has been a very good piece in the Pirates’ bullpen likely will be back soon.