Rays’ Yandy Diaz a 2020 breakout candidate?

By Seth Carter
Yandy Diaz (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Yandy Diaz (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Yandy Diaz (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

"“We knew when we acquired him that he has a knack for really hitting the ball hard,” Cash said. “That kind of proved it.”"

April 5, 2019 – Yandy Diaz sets a new career-high in home runs…with two. In a display of brute strength on an inside changeup, he hit it where it was pitched, broke his bat, and still muscled it out. This homer just demonstrates his power.

In the following clip, you can see Diaz hit his eighth and ninth homers against the Yankees. The first one against Sabathia was a line-drive bullet, despite being down in the zone. He absolutely powered that one out.

The second homer shows his swing. You can see he doesn’t have much lift in his swing despite hitting this one up in the air. The swing is still somewhat level.

Thanks to Nathan Dokken at FantraxHQ for putting these great stats together from the 2017 season.

Batted-Ball BABIP
Medium Hit Line Drives: .719
Soft Hit Line Drives: .664
Hard Hit Line Drives: .632*
Hard Hit Ground Balls: .445*
Hard Hit Fly Balls: .235
Medium Hit Ground Balls: .172
Soft Hit Ground Balls: .125
Soft Hit Fly Balls: .078
Medium Hit Fly Balls: .065


If a flyball is not a home run then it’s generally an out. Yandy lives in the hard-hit grounder and hard-hit line drive territory. That’s a nice place to live. Not everyone can live there.

Nick Markakis

He’s like the Hulk-version of Nick Markakis‘s Bruce Banner.

Player // Exit Velo // LD% // GB% // FB% // HR-FB%//Hard-hit (95mph+)
N. Markakis // 91.2 (45th) // 24.9 // 47.9 // 27.1 // 7.5 // 41.0
Y. Diaz // 91.7 (23rd) // 17.2 // 50.8 // 32.0 // 17.5 // 42.4

Markakis is closer to the 50% GB-rate than a lot of other hard-hitters. Markakis is a phenomenal hitter. His career slash line is .288/.358/.424.  Even if Yandy doesn’t turn into the next Matt Olson (44.6% FB rate) then his power and contact skills can carry him to a very high average with 20-25+ homers, just based on the minor adjustments he’s made already.

Eric Hosmer

Eric Hosmer is notorious for being a groundball-hitting, power-hitter. Here’s how Yandy’s batted-ball percentages stack up with Hosmer’s.

Player // Exit Velo //LD% // GB%//FB% // HR-FB% // Hard-hit (95mph+)
E. Hosmer //90.5 (80th) // 20.9 //56.0 // 23.1 // 20.8 // 40.1
Y. Diaz  //91.7 (23rd) // 17.2 // 50.8 // 32.0 //17.5 // 42.4

2019 Stats

Eric Hosmer: .265/.310/.425  – 22 HR// 99 RBI // 28 AB/HR // 93 OPS+
Yandy Diaz: .267/.340/.476 – 14HR // 38 RBI // 22 AB/HR // 116 OPS+