Big season helps Cleveland Indians prospect Yandy Diaz land International League Rookie of the Year honor
While Tyler Naquin has put together a solid rookie campaign with the Indians, Yandy Diaz was doing the same for Triple-A Columbus.
The International League announced Tuesday that Diaz has been named the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Through play on August 29, Diaz was tied for the league lead with a .322 batting average and led the IL with a .396 on-base percentage.
The 25-year-old made his Triple-A debut late last season, appearing in four regular season games for the Clippers before joining them for their postseason run to the Governor’s Cup title. Diaz opened this season with Double-A Akron before being promoted to Columbus, for the duration, on May 12.
The Cuban-born Diaz reeled off a 28-game hitting streak from early July to early August, which marked the longest hitting streak in the IL since 2007 when Brandon Watson hit safely in an International League-record 43 consecutive games.
Diaz also hit a blistering .335 with 14 extra-base hits, 26 RBI and 24 runs scored in 40 games after the All-Star break.
However, this season wasn’t just about the offense for Diaz. The career infielder has also developed into a more versatile defender, playing 50 games in the outfield for Columbus this season after exclusively playing the infield in 2014 and 2015.
With over 430 professional outfield innings now under his belt, it’s possible Diaz could be following in Jose Ramirez’s super-utility footsteps, as Indians Farm Director Carter Hawkins eluded to on his Reddit AMA a couple weeks back.
Whether he gets the call when rosters expand in September or stays with Columbus through the postseason, Diaz will be worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.
–TribeVibe contributor Robert Davidson