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Yandy Watch 2017: King of Columbus

You’re going to like Yandy’s AAA numbers this season

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, our friend Yandy Diaz returned to Columbus as we all expected. I waxed philosophical during our last meeting, and I apologize for that. I do want to point out that Yandy’s performance in AAA right now shatters his previous best efforts in the minors. It once again highlights the unending drive that powers Yandy’s efforts.

I want to get right into the numbers, because it’s hilarious.

Yandy Watch By The Numbers and this title is now much smaller than it used to be because Matt R. Lyons said we can’t afford to waste ink on the nice, big, sexy Headline 2 fonts anymore

April 22: 1-4, 1 BB, 1 SO

April 23: 1-4, 1 2B (YAY).

April 24: I’m just going to assume that Yandy went to Karaoke Night at Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace downtown.

April 25: 2-3, 1 2B (YAY), 2 BB, 2 R

April 26: 1-4, 1 R

April 27: 2-5, 1 R

April 28: 2-3, 1 2B (YAY), 1 RBI, 2 BB

April 29: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB

April 30: 0-3. Just 0-3. (Boo)

May 1: 3-5, 1 R, 1 HR (YEEAAAHHH), 5 RBI, 1 SO

May 2: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B (YAY), 3 RBI

May 3: 1-2, 1 R, 3 BB

Totals, as presented by Kevin Dean:

We could end the Watch right now and just start the cocktail hour if you’d like. In lieu of the usual snacks we have a cash bar in the back this afternoon. If we did that, however, we wouldn’t ever find out how Yandy fared in the field this week. So, before we carouse, let’s take a moment to assess Yandy’s defense. He’s played five games at 3B, one game in RF, and four games in LF. Can you say, versatile? Yes. It seems that all of you can. And in unison. Um.

In all of those positions, how has he fared? If we considered only traditional metrics, Yandy has a fielding percentage of 1.000, converting one double play while at third, a putout while in right, and nine putouts and an assist in left. His range factor in left field at the moment is 2.5, which would be more or less the best in the Major Leagues. Sure, small sample size, but a guy who is “learning” how to play outfield gunning people down and zooming all over the field to make plays? Awesome.

Best case scenario: Yandy continues to gain experience at all of these positions. He becomes Zobrist of the Corners, with biceps that can crack a ball bearing like a walnut. Timken sponsorship imminent.

Well, I believe it’s time we show the latest version of the matrix. Jim?

If Yandy put together a string of games like this with the Indians, I’d simply paste his face over Robinson’s. As it stands now, I can only get too excited about Yandy slaying AAA. We know that he’s capable of that already. What we need to see next is that he’s not a AAAA guy.

I don’t think that he is. The most encouraging thing from his time in Columbus this year is the extra-base hits. Even if Yandy never quite harnesses his the full extent of his power as a home run hitter, he’s certainly capable of hitting 40+ doubles if he can find the gaps. Doubles are useful, too.

But what’s Yandy’s timetable for a return to Cleveland?

Right now, we don’t know. The infield is entrenched right now, so barring an injury the most likely route back involves time in the outfield. However, Abraham Almonte, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Austin Jackson are all producing right now. Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer both play with Yandy in Columbus and will almost certainly see time this year. Brandon Guyer, who signed an extension this offseason, is struggling, but we can expect that to change.

It’s crowded. Yandy’s path back requires him to start slugging. Doubles and dingers will make it impossible for Cleveland to ignore him. Even if he doesn’t return in a full-time role, he could replace Michael Martinez. While I don’t necessarily trust Yandy to cover shortstop, he can play third on a Lindor or Ramirez off-day. He can play left or right field if Michael Brantley or Landon Guyerhall needs a rest. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that, between pinch hits and backup duties, Francona could find a significant number of plate appearances.

For now, Yandy hasn’t forced the Indians hand permanently. The only other way he gets back to the Major League club is the result of a trade.

That’s the watch for this week. The #FreeYandy movement persists after a taste of victory; now, it strives for a deep, sustained swig.

Speaking of which, the bar is now open.