Pittsburgh Pirates: The Three Gifts That Will Keep on Giving in 2019

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Diaz
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When the Pittsburgh Pirates entered the season, Francisco Cervelli was the clear-cut starter behind the plate with Elias Diaz being the foregone conclusion as the backup.  However, Cervelli once again saw himself off the field throughout the season which led to Diaz getting a significant amount of playing time.  The former Eastern League (Double-A) batting champ took advantage of it.  Not only was Diaz a suitable backup and fill in for Cervelli, but he also showed that he very well could be a starting catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Diaz ended up having a really strong season both offensively and defensively.  Through 82 games at the plate, Diaz batted .286/.339/.452 with 10 home runs.  What was even more impressive was that Diaz only struck out 14 percent of the time showing strong plate discipline.  Meanwhile, behind the plate, he helped the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff become the strongest part of their team.  He also threw out 28 percent of attempted base stealers.

All in all, Diaz posted a WAR of 2.0 in just 82 games.  There is a chance that he will once again be in a part-time split with Francisco Cervelli next season, which could be one of the best tandems in baseball.  However, there have been a lot of rumors around Francisco Cervelli.  It is very likely that Diaz could become the team’s primary catcher next year.  If he plays anything like he did in 2018, then the Bucs will not miss a beat behind the plate.