Diaz has picked up right where he left off in 2016, and is currently showing that the power he displayed a year ago for Class A Wisconsin was no fluke. So far through May, Diaz is hitting .260 with a .201 ISO and .806 OPS. His strikeouts are down about 2% from 2016 and his walk percentages are about even (11.3% in 2017, 12% 2016). While it is still early, Diaz is a known quantity now and likely is not sneaking up on pitchers any more, so the early success after moving to High A is a strong indicator of his ability to adjust as the competition gets stronger.
Diaz is extremely quick through the hitting zone, and while his actions are smooth and easy, he generates above-average bat speed and tremendous torque for his size. He gets good barrel exit and creates excellent carry on his fly balls and line drives. To this point, the majority of his home-run power has been to the pull field, but he does have juice to left-center field and center field, with seven of his 19 extra-base hits going to that part of the park. He has always shown ability to hang in versus lefties (turning in almost even splits each of the past two seasons), and this year has been no different with and .343 average, 23 hits and seven walks in 74 plate appearances versus southpaws to-date. Diaz may get pull-happy at times and get caught trying to jerk the ball out of the yard, resulting in a fair amount of weak, roll-over ground balls – but his compact frame and easy actions are indicative of him growing into significant pop to the big part of the diamond. He may not have a ton of physical projection, but some of those left-center field doubles will soon start leaving the yard.
Whether or not Diaz stays at short is yet to be determined, but the ingredients are there for him to handle short and be an offensive minded player at a premium position in the big leagues. Diaz just turned 20 years old this month, so expect him to stay at High A for most of 2017 and hit Double-A as a 21 year old in 2018. Barring any sort of set-back, it looks as though Diaz is on pace to be in the big league conversation come late 2018, early 2019 – a trajectory that should have him ready to contribute for a very competitive Milwaukee club.