Baseball America announced their Captain’s Catcher award today, given out to the best defensive catcher in all of the minors and Elias Diaz is the 2015 recipient. Diaz has long been regarded for his outstanding defense and Baseball America has also recognized him as the best defensive catcher in the FSL in 2013, Eastern League in 2014 and International League this season.
Diaz threw out 30% of runners attempting to steal this season and had just four passed balls. He has thrown out 29% of runners during his career and he receives a lot of praise for his work with pitchers, as well as his quickness behind the plate and ability to block pitches in the dirt.
In one way, this is an odd year for him to win the award because he only caught 60 games, splitting time behind the plate with Tony Sanchez all season. Diaz was called up to the Pirates on September 1st for his big league debut, but only got into two games in the majors, both times as a pinch-hitter. He was working on his offense during the season, being used occasionally in the DH role, so he didn’t see much time behind the plate over the course of the season.
With Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart still under Pirates’ control next season, you would expect Diaz to be the everyday catcher at Indianapolis, and be the first player they call up if something happens to either player.