Díaz, 26, was originally signed by the Twins and was highly-touted as a prospect due to his power bat and strong first base defense. Baseball America ranked him one of the top 30 Minnesota farmhands in four straight seasons from 2015 to 2018. The Twins flipped him to the Marlins in a 2019 trade that sent Sergio Romo and Chris Vallimont the other way.
Díaz has spent the past few seasons in the Marlins’ system, hitting well in the upper levels of the minors but struggling in the majors. Over the past three MLB seasons, he’s made 343 plate appearances but has a paltry .181/.227/.340 batting line to show for it. In Triple-A over the past two seasons, however, he’s hit 39 home runs in 680 plate appearances and has a much more palatable .250/.325/.504 line. That production was 15% better than league average, as evidenced by his 115 wRC+.
On the defensive side of things, his big league numbers are much more positive. He always was graded well for his glove work as a prospect and that seems to be holding true as he’s reached the majors. Defensive Runs Saved has given him a +16 grade so far, with Ultimate Zone Rating coming in at 3.4 and Outs Above Average at +9.
That work in the field gives Díaz a solid floor as a glove-first option, with his strong offense in the minors giving some hope that he could develop into a two-way contributor. He’s now out of options but is still young and has just over a year of MLB service time. There’s enough intrigue in his profile to attract clubs around the league. The Marlins designated him for assignment in November but he has since landed with the Pirates and Orioles on waiver claims. The O’s will now have a week to trade him or pass him through waivers.