Welcome back, friends. Let’s begin today’s meeting by summarizing what we know to be factual - the things we can see in the numbers.
It’s been approximately two weeks since Yandy Diaz returned to the Cleveland Indians roster. He’s played fourteen games in that time period. The Indians have lost only one game - the very first, against the Boston Red Sox on August 22nd.
His batting line since returning? .333/.517/.476 in 58 plate appearances. That’s good for a wRC+ of 176.
He’s drawn fifteen walks, compared to fourteen hits. The only players with more walks during the last two weeks in all of baseball are Mike Trout and Joey Votto.
Yandy leads all of baseball in the percentage of batted balls struck at greater than 95 MPH: 56%. Only a handful of players share an average that is greater than 50%.
Yandy helped score the city of Cleveland some free WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWindows.
He has committed no errors since returning to the ballclub, though he has split time at third base and designated hitter.
Things have been good for Yandy since his return
And they’ve been good for the Indians, too. It appears that Jason Kipnis may never become healthy this season. The continued development of Yandy’s bat helps to provide immense roster flexibility. The bulk of that flexibility is owed to Jose Ramirez’s ability to play anywhere in the infield, outfield, either wing, or in net, but third base is no longer an offensive black hole.
The main thing to be concerned about at the moment is that Yandy took a fastball to the funny bone in yesterday’s game. While some speculated that the pitch hit his biceps, I think we all knew that wasn’t true; the ball would have flown over the left field fence in about four seconds if it had.
Early reports on the injury suggest that there is nothing to worry about. The Indians are taking a conservative approach to injuries at the moment, so we might see Yandy on the shelf for a little while. Despite this, I think it’s time we reintroduce our Yandy Watch 2017 Matrix. Jim?
You can’t be too upset with a wRC+ north of 150, no matter how a player gets there. Do we want Yandy to keep lifting the ball? Yes, but as his time in Columbus showed, you can do a fair amount of damage by slapping the ball past infielders all day. His launch angle, on average, is still below zero, but we’ve seen that he can get the ball into the air now. It’s just a matter of practice. I hope.
As for the fielding, it’s hard to judge him too much one way or the other. Since returning, he’s been inoffensive. Due to the small sample size he hasn’t had many opportunities to wow us. I believe he’s capable of being a very good defender at the major league level, but it takes quite a while to properly evaluate a player’s defense.
The one thing I believe all of us here at the Watch are waiting for with baited breath is the first Yandy Diaz home run. He came close to going yard several times at Yankee Stadium, settling instead for extra bases. The first ball to rise over the outfield wall feels like it will be an important milestone on our journey; a marker we can return to years from now and remember it being the first time we truly saw the full promise of what a fulfilled prophecy might look like.
Keep on swinging, Yandy. You have an imaginary meeting hall filled with random people on the internet rooting for you all the way.