Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 26…of 286. Stay tuned.
Chris Diaz is a 5’10”, 190 lb. right-handed shortstop from Miami, FL. Born on this date in 1990, Diaz was initially chosen in the 11th round of the 2012 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the 346th overall selection out of North Carolina State. You can follow Diaz on Twitter @cdiaz2.
Only 12 percent of players chosen with the 346th pick have made the major leagues. Michael Stutes (2008, Philadelphia Phillies, 0.4 career WAR), Andrew Albers (2004, Milwaukee Brewers, 0.4), and Matt Blank (1997, Montreal Expos, 0.3) are the only ones to have a WAR above zero.
In three seasons of division I ball with the Wolfpack, Diaz slashed .325/.387/.439 in 165 contests, with 104 RBI. In his final season, he was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Conference team at shortstop. After his selection, he joined the New York-Penn League’s short-season-A State College Spikes. He played every inning through that season for the minor league club, slashing .222/.287/.280 in 67 contests.
In 2013, Diaz split his time between the rookie-league GCL Pirates and the single-A South Atlantic League club, the West Virginia Power. In 42 games combined, he hit .239/.316/.321, drawing 12 walks and striking out 12 times in 157 plate appearances.
2014 would see Diaz spend his entire season with the Power, where he put up a .233/.312/.281 slashline in 82 contests. A promotion to the high-A Bradenton Marauders in the high-A Florida State League would follow in 2015, and produce a similar slash figure of .248/.314/.295 over 96 games.
Despite pedestrian hitting numbers, Diaz’ defense would see him promoted to the double-A Altoona Curve in the Eastern League in 2016. For them, he put up a .226/.328/.296 slashline along with a .959 fielding percentage and a 4.81 range factor/9 at short. He played 10 more games for the Curve in 2017 before going onto the disabled list. He wouldn’t appear in another game for the Pirates organization, next resurfacing with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on June 8th. Three days later, he collected a career-high four RBI with a single and a double in a 13-1 victory over the Biloxi Shuckers. For Jacksonville through the season, Diaz appeared in 55 games and slashed .207/.286/.250 with 13 RBI.
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Diaz started the 2018 season with the Jumbo Shrimp after spending Spring Training with the parent club, going 1-for-3 in game action. For the Shrimp, Diaz played in 57 games and slashed a familiar looking .214/.335/.221, with 27 walks in 191 plate appearances. He also got his first look at the triple-A level, with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League. He appeared in 25 games for the Cakes, slashing .188/.268/.188.
Defensively, Diaz has a .959 career fielding percentage in 1477 career chances at shortstop. His long term outlook for remaining with the Miami Marlins isn’t very good. Although he’s technically fourth on the Miami Marlins Depth chart at shortstop behind Miguel Rojas, JT Riddle, and Peter Mooney, Mooney is the same age, and a much better hitter. If Diaz remains with the organization, he will likely start the 2019 season with the Baby Cakes.
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