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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Danny Diaz doesn’t want to get lost in the third base shuffle

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A top international signee was inconsistent in his first year as a pro.

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As we continue down the home stretch of our top prospect voting, things are becoming tighter. There are more reasonable options to get vote with each spot, and it really depends on what kind of prospect you prefer. In the last edition, Travis Lakins took the 15th spot as a multi-year pro on the cusp of the majors. Now, for the 16th spot, we go to an inexperienced position player coming off his first season as a professional. Grabbing 14 of 28 (50 percent) of the votes, Danny Diaz is the 16th-ranked prospect in our community rankings.

Diaz was part of Boston’s big international class of 2017, the first in which they were really able to participate in a couple years due to spending penalties and punishment for circumventing those penalties. Diaz had the second-biggest bonus in that class, with the top going to catching prospect Daniel Flores. Flores, of course, tragically passed away just a few months later. Along with those two, Antoni Flores was the third big bonus. Although Antoni has surpassed Diaz in prospect rankings thus far, they are still very early in their careers. The latter was ranked seventh among all international amateur free agents in that 2017 July 2 class.

There was plenty of anticipation to see Diaz and Flores on the field in 2018, as the Red Sox have obviously had a ton of success in developing Latin American position players in the recent past. Diaz made his debut in the Dominican Summer League this past year, and came in a little less athletic than some were expecting. He ended up playing in 26 games down in the DSL, hitting .238/.283/.476. Obviously, the batting average and on-base percentage are disappointing, but he did hit six homers and seven doubles with a .238 Isolated Power. If you extend those numbers out to 150 games (obviously it’s not that simple, but just go with it) he’d have hit 35 homers. Overall, it wasn’t the big splash some were hoping for, but it wasn’t a total disaster of a pro debut either.

In terms of scouting, it seems that Diaz has come to camp a little slimmer this year, which is a good sign. As we saw with his numbers last year, the calling card here is and likely will always be power. He has plus raw power, and as long as he is making consistent contact that will play up in games. That contact is where the questions come in. Diaz has strong hands and a good understanding of the strike zone, but there are holes in the swing that can be exploited. At just 18 years old he’s clearly not a finished product, and this is where most of the work will be needed. Defensively, he should be able to stick at third base, though we shouldn’t expect Gold Gloves in his future.

The year ahead and even beyond that is going to be fascinating to watch for Diaz and the Red Sox organization as a whole. Obviously Rafael Devers is the guy in the majors and then Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec both primarily play third in the upper minors. Moving down, 2018 draft picks Triston Casas, Nicholas Northcut and Brandon Howlett all play third base. Casas, to be fair, is basically certain to move across the diamond at some point soon. Still, that’s a lot of competition at the hot corner, and Diaz doesn’t want to get lost in the shuffle. Look for him to head to extended after camp breaks and likely open the season in Lowell once short-season ball begins.

Here is our full list so far:

  1. Michael Chavis
  2. Darwinzon Hernandez
  3. Triston Casas
  4. Bobby Dalbec
  5. Jay Groome
  6. Tanner Houck
  7. Durbin Feltman
  8. Bryan Mata
  9. Antoni Flores
  10. Mike Shawaryn
  11. C.J. Chatham
  12. Nick Decker
  13. Brandon Howlett
  14. Jarren Duran
  15. Travis Lakins
  16. Danny Diaz

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number seventeen. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...