Catcher/First Baseman Yainer Diaz
The Houston Astros acquired Yainer Diaz in the trade that sent Myles Straw to the Cleveland Indians. The backstop prospect ranks as one of the Astros’ top prospects, and he’s a bat-first catcher who hit very well last season.
Diaz accumulated 412 plate appearances, posting a .324/.362/.527 line with a .393 wOBA and 136 wRC+. Diaz only walked 5.6% of the time but avoided K’s like the plague. He went down on strike three in just 15.6% of his plate appearances. He showed off some good power with 17 home runs and a .204 isolated slugging percentage.
Diaz was one of the best hitters among minor league catchers. Diaz ranked 8th in wRC+, slugging percentage, 9th in wOBA, 10th in OPS, and second in batting average between all backstops with 300 or more PA’s. Overall, he was a phenomenal hitter. He has projected 50-grades for his hit and game power and a projected 60-grade for his raw power.
Diaz has a powerful arm that helps him catch runners trying to steal, but his overall fielding prowess leaves more to be desired. He typically sits in the below-average range in terms of defensive ability. But he has seen some time at first base, so a team can mitigate Yainer’s defensive shortcomings by sending him to first base from time to time.
The only major issue is that Diaz hasn’t played above High-A yet. Granted, he did have an insane 213 wRC+ with 11 home runs during 105 plate appearances at High-A. However, the Pirates lack quality or low-risk options at back-up catcher, DH, and first base, and all three positions Yainer Diaz could provide an option.