Catcher Elias Diaz, one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top prospects, made his winter league debut on Friday night.
Catcher Elias Diaz missed most of the 2016 season. This was due to multiple injuries. Before the injuries, Diaz was slated to be the everyday catcher for the Pirates’ Triple-A team.
Ultimately, Diaz caught 25 games for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in 2016. In these 25 games behind the dish he accumulated 97 plate appearances. Diaz slashed .266/.289/.298/.587 with a .268 wOBA and a wRC+ of 95 in these 97 plate appearances.
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Diaz also earned a brief promotion to the Major Leagues in 2016. He earned four plate appearances, in one start, going 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly.
Largely due to 2016 being essentially a lost season, Elias Diaz is playing winter ball in Venezuela this offseason. Diaz made his Venezuelan Winter League debut on Friday night. And, Diaz had a strong game.
On Friday night Diaz caught all nine innings for his winter team in Venezuela. Additionally, he went 2-for-4 at the plate.
Elias Diaz is a catcher that projects to be a plus defender, while being an average to slightly above average hitter. This is a good combination for any catcher to have. Due to this, the Pirates remain very high on the 26-year old Diaz.
It has been reported for a few years now that Diaz has the strongest throwing arm of any catcher in the Pirates’ system. This includes both the Major and Minor Leagues.
I expect Elias Diaz to being the 2017 season at Triple-A Indianapolis. Between Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, and even Eric Fryer the Pirates are in very good shape for catcher entering the 2017 season. However, as Pirate fans saw last year, this can change and quickly. I expect to see Elias Diaz in the Major Leagues at some point during the 2017 campaign.