Yusniel Diaz

Position: CF
Level: Double-A
Affiliate: Bowie Baysox
League: Eastern League
Born: 10/07/1996 (Age: 26)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195
B/T: Right / Right
Acquired: Signed as international free agent, November 21, 2015 (LAD); Traded to BAL 7/18/2018

Prospect Spotlight

The Dodgers spent $15.5M to sign Diaz in 2015 after he defected from Cuba. He had an eventful July, hitting two homeruns in the Futures Game before being the headline prospect in the five-for-one swap that sent Manny Machado from Baltimore to Los Angeles. I saw his first two series as an Orioles’ prospect after the trade, sitting on Bowie for back-to-back series against Erie and Binghamton.

Diaz passes the eye test with a 6’1’’ and 195-pound frame that’s athletic and rangy. He has a well-rounded skillset with a bevy of 55-grade tools—no one attribute dominates, but there’s contributions offensively, defensively, and on the bases. Diaz hits from a simple stance, and while there’s minimal movement through his load, he might need to get more relaxed before the pitch to keep his hands quick and inside the ball. The weight transfer is rigid and deliberate, and he’s a “dead hands hitter” that has a hole exposed on the inside part of the plate. Otherwise, it’s a whippy path that drives the ball when he squares one up, though I saw more present ability to barrel fastballs than adjust to spin. He alternates between CF and RF, and while he’s adequate in center, his defense that high on the defensive spectrum is likely to play closer to average. He would be a plus corner outfield glove, and his above-average arm doesn’t prevent him from slotting in at any of the three positions.

The best-case ceiling is that of an above-average big leaguer, bringing a good bat to a CF profile with enough defense to stay up the middle. Diaz probably is closer to a FV 50 type if he moves to a corner given the increased offensive threshold. Either way, the Orioles did well to acquire a player with a nice blend of upside and safety.