I am going to throw a name at you, a name that unless you’re an Indians fan or spend a lot of time on Baseball Savant, you will not know. He is 3B/Leftfielder for the Cleveland Indians, and his name is Yandy Díaz.Embed from Getty Images
Game Power: 30/40
Raw Power: 50/50
Future Value: 45
No one’s going to think too much of that, strong arm, some raw power, but other than that, very meh. Because of my Baseball Savant mention earlier you probably have figured it out that he stood out in some StatCast area, and it actually is very simple. Díaz hits the ball very hard.
You might say well, this is all small sample size, but take a look at his minor league play. In AAA this year on 85 games he managed a 350/454/460 slash line on a .412 BABIP. 163 wRC+ on a 63.5 GB%? Are you kidding me? A 163 wRC+ on a 63.5 GB% is insane. He had seasons along the same stat line the year before, split between AA and AAA, 2015 in AA, and 14 in A+.
His success alone at hitting the ball hard, with nothing pointing towards an adjustment in his launch angle, led Steamer to give him the following projection for 2018:
288/373/400 Slash Line
11.5 BB% 18.9 K%
.112 ISO .350 BABIP
.339 wOBA 109 wRC+
105 Games 422 PA 2.1 WAR
What this shows you, is that he is so good and has so much potential that he is projected to be an above-average hitter all while completely pounding the ball on the ground. Even dismissing all the power that resides in that bat, his raw power grade and his exit velocity numbers are irrefutable evidence he has the power, but it is just physically impossible to hit for power with this GB%.
I know fixing such issues is a tough task, but with so many hitters adjusting for higher launch angles and the so-called “Flyball Revolution” with all the juiced tball discussion, Yandy is literally the perfect candidate and with a small adjustment could truly become a great hitter.