Kim: The new and exciting Rays slugger, Yandy Diaz

From Sung Min Kim at FanGraphs on April 11, 2019:

If you’re talented enough to make it to the majors, you often have had to make a series of adjustments to maximize your potential and survive in the league. If you are really talented, knowing yourself and being open to changes can really put your name on the map. Yandy Diaz is really talented. We’ve raved about his tools and uber-muscular physique. The Rays are giving him a starting opportunity pretty much every day, which is exciting; they have to be excited by the return as well.

So far in 2019 (all statistics are as of April 9), Diaz has turned in a .308/.386/.615 line with a 183 wRC+ and three home runs. The Rays have gotten what they have hoped to get from him in the first 10 games. Diaz’s underlying numbers — not only this year, but also from the years prior — testify to his strength. In 2017 and 2018 with Cleveland, Diaz hit for average exit velocities of 91.5 and 92.1 mph, respectively, which was well above the league average of 87.4 mph. He also was an extreme ground-ball hitter. In 2018, his launch angle was 4.4 degrees, much lower than the league average of 10.9. As a result, 53.3% of his batted balls last year were grounders, which, if he had had a qualified number of at-bats, would have ranked in the top 10 in the entire league.

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Originally published: April 11, 2019. Last Updated: April 11, 2019.