18. Eddy Diaz (224 points, 17 ballots)
Eddy Diaz is a trailblazer, representing Colorado’s first amateur free agent signing out of Cuba when he inked a contract for $750K in 2017 as a 17-year-old. From there, Fast Eddy stole our hearts (and 84 bases) with two strong debut years in the Dominican Summer League, then solidified that loving feeling with an excellent stateside debut in Grand Junction in 2019.
The 19-year-old middle infielder, who split his time between second and short with Grand Junction, was 1.6 years younger than the average Pioneer League pitcher, but he didn’t let that slow him down. In 177 PAs, Diaz hit a robust .331/.366/.440 with 15 extra-base hits (0 HR though) and 20 steals (9 CS), good for a 114 wRC+. He did that while striking out 18.6% of the time against 4.5% walks and his average was buoyed somewhat by a .414 BABIP, so there’s some area for improvement, but his production at that age was encouraging.
Diaz is the rare PuRP for which I can’t seem to find any video, so these scouting reports will have to suffice. Fortunately, Diaz’s successful stateside debut meant that there are several of those to offer you.
FanGraphs ranked Diaz 19th in the system with a 40 FV grade:
Diaz is the first Cuban amateur ever signed by Colorado. He’s an athletic, instinctive middle infield prospect with modest physical projection and promising bat to ball skills. For now those skills manifest as modest, all-fields line drive contact, and Diaz is likely a hit-only offensive player in the long run. He’s seen action all over the infield but we have him projected to second base, where he has a fair chance to profile because of the bat. It’s more likely he ends up in a utility role.
Jeffrey Paternostro of Baseball Prospectus ranked Diaz 20th in the org:
He has a slim frame and should fill out some, but he’s not a projection monster. He’s likely to remain a bit undersized and be a slash and burn guy at the plate, although the wrists are strong and keep the bat from getting knocked out of his hands at present. He’s been splitting his time between second and short, although the arm is a better fit for the keystone. He’s a smooth, rangy fielder, who should hold his plus speed as he ages. The lack of physicality limits the upside here, and there’s a risk that better velocity beats him as he moves up the organizational ladder, but there’s a potential speedy bench infielder here at maturity.
Meanwhile, MLB Pipeline puts Diaz 29th in the system:
Diaz is an aggressive player on both sides of the ball. The right-handed hitter has a contact-oriented approach and doesn’t draw many walks, though he also doesn’t strike out much. He’s already started adding strength and weight, so there could be more extra-base authority and power to come. A plus runner, he’s already shown a love for stealing bases, swiping 54 in 51 games during his second DSL summer. He’s played both shortstop and second base and shown the potential to be better-than-average at both spots.
There’s a long way to go for the 19-year-old infielder, but there’s a good amount of ceiling here. Already showing a penchant to hit over .300 and run, if he can continue to add strength, he has the potential to be an every day middle infielder in the future.
Diaz is a few years away from contributing to the Rockies, but he’s already one of my favorite prospects thanks to his plus speed/good contact profile. The big knock I see on Diaz is a lack of power and of power potential, which could limit his ceiling to that of a utility player. Even so, he’s one heck of an exciting prospect who I’ll be watching closely in his full season debut, presumably at Asheville next year. I ranked Diaz 23rd on my personal list with a FV 40 grade, but a strong full season performance could jump him up 10 or so more spots by mid-season.