The Yankees have recently stated that they’re going to spend a lot of money on international free agents this year. The team is plans to replenish its farm system with a lot of talented players from the international free agent market. One specific player that the Yankees have been linked to is Aledmys Diaz, a shortstop from Cuba.
Diaz cannot sign until February 19th due to an age discrepancy in 2013. Diaz was actually born six months after his initial claim to the MLB, which is noteworthy to mention because most cases have players claiming younger ages. This is due to the collective bargaining agreement, which states that any player 23 or older is exempt from international bonus pools. Essentially a player 23 or older from Cuba would make more money than a player under 23 because they'd be placed in an unrestricted free agent market. If the Yankees were to sign Diaz, the signing would not dip into the international pool.
As Mike said in his post about potential Cuban players and Aledmys Diaz here, there isn’t much film on him. From the limited videos we have, I have come to some conclusions that should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s hard to scout a player that you’ve only seen a couple of videos of. So this is going to be a combination of film, stats, and other scouts’ opinions on Diaz.
Name: Aledmys Diaz
Age: 23 years old
Weight: 185 lbs.
I’m going to agree with everything Mike said. His set up is simple, however, his front leg has a lot of movement. His toe tap never really leaves the ground, but he does lift the back of his foot and brings his front leg and knee in so that he can stride into the ball. I think he has good hands and bat speed, but Mike did bring up his long swing. Yet, his walk numbers have been higher than his strikeouts over the past couple seasons. Looking further into his stat line he should hit a lot of doubles and home runs. I could see him being a 20 home run hitter in the bigs. Scouts say he’s a major league ready hitter right now. If I had to guess it seems that he should be around a 60 hit tool and a 60 power tool.
Defensively, Diaz looks to have an extremely strong arm. From the videos I’ve seen of his he looks to have the arm strength to throw runners out from the hole. He has an above average arm, maybe a 60-70 on the scouting scale, again there’s not much to work with here. Range wise he should be okay. In the gif above Diaz makes a throw while moving towards the third base side across his body showing both range and arm strength. I have yet to see him make a play up the middle however. Some short scouting reports I read on him say he has solid range which should be more than enough when he has three plus tools.
The Yankees and Diaz might be the perfect match. With this season likely being Derek Jeter’s last year and no real solutions at shortstop in the minor leagues, Diaz could be the next Yankees’ shortstop for a long time. This also would help Diaz as he wouldn’t be thrown into the fire right away against major league competition. He could develop and readjust in the minors and then earn a call up in 2015.