Mariners Top Prospect Edwin Diaz Dazzles in Season Debut with Jackson
Edwin Diaz was electric in his first outing of the season on Thursday, striking out 9 across 6 shutout innings for the Jackson Generals
The minor-league baseball season officially kicked off on Thursday night, as it was opening day across all full season levels. There were obviously a number of intriguing storylines to follow last night, but none more so than Edwin Diaz‘s dominant performance for the Seattle Mariners Class-AA affiliate in Jackson.
Diaz was brilliant for the Generals, hurling 6 shutout innings against the Montgomery Biscuits en route to earning his first win of the season. The wiry right-hander allowed just 2 hits, fanned 9 and did not issue any free passes. Diaz had excellent command on the bump, as 59 of his 83 pitches found the strike zone. Clearly, his showing was an ideal way to start the 2016 season.
Success is nothing new for Edwin, as he entered the season widely regarded as one of the Mariners top young pitchers. MLB.com lists Diaz as the M’s second best prospect, and top pitching prospect. We ranked him as Seattle’s fifth best prospect this spring.
Originally selected by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2012 draft, Edwin Diaz has quickly become one of the top young hurlers in the organization. The 21-year-old was named the M’s Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2015, and represented the Mariners at last season’s Futures Game.
The Puerto Rican born pitcher split the 2015 season between the Bakersfield Blaze and the Jackson Generals. Diaz started the year in the California League, and he was electrifying. He went 2-0 with a paltry 1.70 ERA across 7 outings. Diaz fanned 42 and issued just 9 free passes in 37 innings pitched. He also limited the opposition to 0.811 walks/hits per inning.
Diaz’s remarkable performance in Bakersfield prompted the M’s to promote him to their Class-AA affiliate in Jackson. Diaz pitched well with the Generals, but he was unable to duplicate the numbers he posted in the California League. He went 5-10 with Jackson, and registered a 4.57 ERA across 20 starts. He stuck out 103 and walked 37 through 104.1 innings.
Combined, Diaz went 7-10 with a 3.82 ERA in 27 starts last season. He led all Mariners’ minor-leaguers with 145 strikeouts in 2015, and placed 9th in all of minor-league baseball by averaging 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings. He has excellent command of his arsenal, and he issued just 2.9 walks per 9 innings last year. Perhaps most impressive of all, Diaz limited the opposition to a dismal .237 batting average across 141.1 innings of work.
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Diaz possesses a three-pitch repertoire, and all three of his offerings are considered above-average. His fastball hovers in the 92-94 mph range, but it has been known to touch 96 on the radar gun. Diaz’s slider is his out pitch, and his changeup took great strides in 2015. What makes him so difficult to hit is his funky delivery to home plate. Diaz has a low three-quarters delivery, and that gives hitters fits.
Most scouts believe Diaz’s ceiling is as a number three starting pitcher in the big leagues. He has great numbers in the minor-leagues, but some have questions about his frame. Diaz has solid height (6’3) to be a starting pitcher, but his slight build (165 lbs.) has led some to wonder if he can stay healthy over the course of 200 innings.
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The Seattle Mariners are not flush with top notch prospects right now, but Edwin Diaz is a young pitcher M’s fans should be excited about. Diaz will be pitching with the Tacoma Rainiers before long if he continues to dominate the Southern League like he did last night. He has big league stuff, and Diaz should make his debut in the Emerald City at some point in 2017.