Join Jays From the Couch in covering several minor league prospects with a chance of taking his game to the next level
Some feel that Yennsy Diaz had a ‘Breakout’ season in 2017.
I don’t agree.
But I think Yennsy Diaz will be even better in 2018.
Yennsy Diaz joined the Lansing Lugnuts on June 8th, two months into the 2017 season. He made his first start on June 10, throwing 2 shutout innings with one BB and four K’s.
Diaz looked good in four June starts. He was a welcome addition to a struggling Lugnuts pitching staff. Yennsy Diaz struck out 8 batters and walked 2 over 5 innings in his final June start.
Unfortunately, the 20-yr-old Diaz hit a rough patch with two poor starts (11 ER) to kick off July. Diaz was 50/50 in July, making 3 good start and 3 not so good. Including his first two rough starts, he also allowed 4 runs over 5IP in his final July start which resulted in 15ER over 13.2IP. He would allow just 3ER over 17IP in his other 3 July starts.
August was much the same. In 6 starts, the 6-foot-1 righty finished with a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 5.76 while allowing 19 ER over 29.2IP.
What Went Right?
First, Diaz continues to show a strong arm and excellent projection as a starting pitcher or a very good bullpen arm. He fastball touches 96mph while his secondary pitches (change and curve) are trending in the right direction.
Diaz set career highs in innings pitched (77IP), starts (16), strikeouts (82), and opponents batting average (.249). His K/9 increased from 7.71 in ’16 to 9.58 in ’17, matching his career of 9 striking outs in a game twice.
He pitched deeper into games averaging 5IP per start and pitching a season-high 7IP in his second last start of 2017. He threw more pitches (which could be view as a negative) throwing over 90 pitches in four starts, including a season-high 101 pitches.
He also did a better job stranding baserunners (73.0 LOB%).
Despite throwing 77IP to Mike Ellenbest‘s 122.2IP, Diaz’ trailed the Lugnuts K leader by 11. His 5 wins put him 3rd on the team.
You Gotta Do Better
Control. Control. Control.
While slight, Diaz’ BB/9 has increased each year in the minors. In 2017, Yennsy went from 4.34 BB/9 up to 4.79 BB/9 in 2017 with a season-high of 4 BB in a game which he did four times.
The native of Azua, Dominican Republic saw his FB% increase from 38.5 to 47.1 with his GB/FB going from 1.13 down to 0.76. While his 10.4 HR/FB decreased from 13.4 HR/FB, he still surrendered 10 HR.
Last season, Yennsy Diaz remained in Extended Spring Training before kicking off his season in June. Yennsy can be expected to open the season on Opening Day and reach 100 IP and 100 K in 2018.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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