Elias Diaz Works to Refine Offensive Game

While Elias Diaz has been solid on both ends of the game for the past two seasons, he will be the first to admit that he is still looking to polish his game at the plate on the offensive end.

Even despite this, Diaz had a solid month of May after a so-so April. In April, Diaz picked up hits in nine of 17 games for the month. However, coming into Thursday, he was hitting .308 with hits in 19 games in May.

In addition, his OPS went from .559 in April to .782 in May. As for the success, Diaz looks to trying to be consistent and trusting his preparation.

“I am trusting the process and staying with the plan the whole time no matter what,” Diaz said. “I just try to get better every day and every night.”

With this work, Diaz has earned the confidence of Indianapolis hitting coach Butch Wynegar.

“If I had to go on the record today, I am going to say that this kid is a big league catcher,” Wynegar said. “He is going to be in the big leagues soon. Maybe not this year, but he has all of the tools to be a good hitter and a good big league catcher.”

However, Wynegar admitted that Diaz does have some work to do yet on the offensive end.

“He’s 24, but he’s still a little bit young hitting,” Wynegar said. “I don’t mean that as a bad thing. What I mean is that he struggles yet to control himself at the plate. I’m big on stop trying to do more and think about doing less. Your legs are really important on your swing. When he stays on his legs to swing, he’s good. Then he’ll jump out at the ball and come off his legs and get himself out.”

According to Diaz, there is no issue with pitch recognition. When he jumps out at the ball, it is completely fundamental.

“We have been working on staying balanced and drive the ball middle away,” Diaz said. “That is the key for me, staying balanced in my legs and stay behind the ball. I have good pitch recognition with the breaking ball and change ups.”

Diaz also mentioned that he does not let the catching situation and mixing playing time with Tony Sanchez affect him because it is out of his control. He said that he just has to keep his focus and stay ready when his number is called.

Wynegar said that the success will come when Diaz is able to slow the game down when he is at the plate. He also said that he expects “terrific power” at the next level from Diaz.

Wynegar also said that he would be very surprised if Diaz doesn’t play in the big leagues for 10-plus years.

Outside of an injury to Francisco Cervelli, Diaz will have a hard time being anything more than a September call-up at absolute best this season, but he is still making large strides nonetheless. The Pirates have high hopes in Diaz with both his hitting and defense. This is something that the catcher knows and he works each day to live up to that hype.

  • Neal Huntington and his scouts knows how to build the minor leagues. He is not to shabby in finding pitchers that need their mechanics re-adjusted by the coaching staff. My only gripe with him is he has 4 haired boys he keeps on the team that are anchors on the team.

    • That is about the most contradictory comment I have seen in a while here. Good job.

  • Is there a point in time where too much depth becomes a hindrance for some of these prospects?

    • I think one could quibble over if “hindrance” is the best way to describe it, but its an issue to look at. Having quality depth at multiple positions does make it tough to promote guys without a logjam. I think it does give NH a lot of room to play with at the trade deadline, as losing certain guys can let you promote guys that earned it while helping the big league club.

      OF is an area i see trade potential, as a guy like Mel Rojas is solid but not likely to do much for the big club apart from 4th OFer stuff for years. Personally catcher is a spot i dont like to trade from, as you never know when you need 4+ in a year.

      • not getting much for rojas as he is garbage right now

        • Yeah im sure his value will be mostly related to his stats and little on ability.

          • on the trade market- ability will be questioned when you fail at AAA at his age.

            • His ability was a quality bat with average defense. If this year and his 25 at bats end his career, everyone is laughable dumb. 100 at bats, over 3 years, 2 of which were with serviceable PH type numbers. Im not claiming he is a future star, but using his ML stats at this point to write him off is dumb.

              26, so certainly not old enough teams are afraid his prime is totally gone. Clearly able to hit AAA well for both average and power. With basically no ML time outside of PH-ing and starting 1 game every two weeks. You wont trade an A prospect for that, but he’s a guy a team will look to in need. He can play a corner OF spot without being Matt Holiday. As he is right now, he’s not a borderline 4th OFer, he’s a solid 4th OFer.

              His BABIP most years was at least slightly north of .300…currently at .059. Bad hitters are gonna see normal BABIP at .250-.260. Lambo has seen ML BABIP of over .300 in his first two SSS stints. Trying to determine the worth of any player from 30 at bats is stupid. Future star he is not, but capable option? Yeah.

              • 26 and not playing well in AAA, will not get you much back in a trade. If you think otherwise, you are delusional.

                • Lukas Sutton
                  June 14, 2015 9:30 pm

                  When was Lambo not playing well in AAA? You keep saying this, but its either false on purpose or stupid. The last time Lambo didnt play well in AAA was 2011. Unless .328 with 11 HRs in 60 games is struggling.

                  Its not really worth arguing, because you apparently either ignore his AAA stats or will argue away them and tell me how his 100 games in the bigs defines his future.

          • especially when his ability was already borderline 4th outfielder- if he played well this year, you might be able to cash in on a potential starter in someone’s eyes, but certainly not now.

  • Thanks ryan, looks like the pirates grew their own martin.

  • It’s nice to have the problem of not needing Diaz or Tony or Valle with the way that Cervelli and Stewart are playing.

    • Do not sell Jacob Stallings short. I don’t seen Valle being a significantly better catcher.

      • I think Jacob will become a good coach/manager. He is 25, his best shot is as a backup, but probably not for us.

        • C’mon now, say what you really think, foo. On your original statement, we were all looking at Diaz as inevitable by June of this year. I doubt anyone thought Cervelli would be this good at the plate and his skills behind the plate blocking and receiving are ++. But, listening to an interview of Stewart is definitely like listening to a MLB Manager – it will be hard to replace his worth as a clubhouse personality, teammate, and as another Coach on the field. He’s a winner, and like AJ, adds a lot just by his presence.

        • And where do you think Valle will end up ? I have a pretty good idea myself….and it won’t be in Pittsburgh either.

  • why no love for Granberry in the DSL?

    • Granberry is far, far away from the major leagues. If he got there by 2020 it would be impressive.

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