The Pirates Prospects 2016 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2016 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get free and discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting the 2016 book for free, and Annual subscribers getting $10 off. Both levels of subscribers can also get the book for just $5. Details on all three promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.
While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Willy Garcia, RF
19. Clay Holmes, RHP
18. Mitch Keller, RHP
17. Max Moroff, 2B
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP
15. Cole Tucker, SS
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP
13. Steven Brault, LHP
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP
11. Kevin Newman, SS
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
9. Nick Kingham, RHP
We continue the countdown with the number 8 prospect, Elias Diaz.
8. Elias Diaz, C
Over the last two years, Elias Diaz has emerged as the catcher of the future in Pittsburgh, at least for the short-term until Reese McGuire arrives. Diaz has always been regarded well for his defense, and had some raw offensive tools that finally developed in the second half of the 2013 season. This led to a breakout 2014, and has him currently lined up to take over for Francisco Cervelli in the future.
The Pirates called Diaz up in September, and he shadowed Cervelli, learning from the starter, while seeing very little playing time in the majors. Aside from his work with Cervelli, he also worked with the pitching staff, getting to know each guy. Cervelli called Diaz a special kid, citing his hard work.
The bigger praise this year came from a veteran MLB pitcher signed as a minor league free agent who called Diaz the best catcher he has ever thrown to. Diaz gets a lot of praise for his work with the pitching staff, along with his strong blocking skills and excellent framing work. He’s got one of the strongest arms in the system, with a quick release and good agility.
Diaz has some power potential, and the ability to hit for average and get on base. His defense is strong enough that he could be a starter, even with below-average offense for a catcher. But there is enough offensive potential that he has a shot at being a two-way player and an above-average starter.
The Pirates have entertained the idea of extending Cervelli. If that happened, they could bring Diaz up as a backup in 2017. He could make a real debut in 2016 if Cervelli or Chris Stewart go down with an injury. If Cervelli leaves after 2016, Diaz will be the guy who takes over as the new starter.