FRANCISCO DIAZ
CATCHER
  Born: March 21, 1990
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 158
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Signed: International Free Agent, 2006 (Phillies)
How Acquired: Rule 5 Draft, Minor League Phase
Country: Venezuela
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates selected Diaz from the Phillies in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.  He was still young, only 21 when they selected him, and didn’t have a lot of pro experience yet.  He has modest hitting ability with limited power, although his eye at the plate appears is good.  Diaz is a good receiver with a good arm.  He’d thrown out 40% of opposing base stealers when he joined the organization.  He hasn’t thrown out as many since, but the Pirates haven’t, at least prior to 2013, put a lot of emphasis on their young pitchers holding runners.

2007
VSL:  234/262/297, 158 AB, 8 2B, 1 3B, 6 BB, 25 K, 3-4 SB

Diaz hit very little in his VSL debut, with no power or walks.

2008
VSL:  289/369/369, 187 AB, 9 2B, 3 3B, 22 BB, 22 K, 8-15 SB

Had a much better season, due in part to dramatic improvement in his plate discipline.  He threw out 55% and had only two passed balls in 37 games.

2009
R:  222/323/222, 54 AB, 8 BB, 11 K
A+:  167/444/167, 6 AB, 3 BB

Diaz got only limited playing time in the GCL, as he divided time with two other catchers.  He didn’t hit when he played.

2010
R:  307/376/387, 75 AB, 6 2B, 9 BB, 9 K, 1-1 SB

Diaz returned to rookie ball and hit a lot better, although still with no power.  He threw out 41% and again had only two passed balls, but he still played less than half the time.

2011
A-:  211/315/257, 109 AB, 5 2B, 16 BB, 19 K, 3-4 SB

Did about half the catching in the NYPL and struggled at the plate, except that the good walk and K rates continued.

2012
A:  302/388/397, 126 AB, 9 2B, 1 HR, 17 BB, 31 K, 0-1 SB
A+:  167/211/167, 36 AB, 2 BB, 14 K, 0-1 SB

Diaz opened 2012 as the backup catcher at Bradenton, but he moved down to West Virginia once Kawika Emsley-Pai recovered from a wrist problem.  He hit surprisingly well with the Power, but the backup catcher/small sample size caveat applies.  It did get him more playing time, though; after he hit .423 in July, he roughly shared the catching job with the struggling Elias Diaz.  While with West Virginia he threw out 21% of base runners.

2013
A:  255/348/335, 212 AB, 12 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 28 BB, 35 K 

Diaz opened the season at West Virginia, backing up Wyatt Mathisen, but ended up sharing the position with Kawika Emsley-Pai when Mathisen got hurt.  Diaz had a decent season at the plate, drawing a lot of walks and hitting for an OK average.  He threw out 31% of base stealers.

2014
A:  209/270/304, 148 AB, 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 13 BB, 28 K, 1-1 SB

Diaz was a free agent after the 2013 season but re-signed with the Pirates.  He returned to West Virginia as a backup to Reese McGuire, although Kawika Emsley-Pai eventually assumed most of the backup duties.  Diaz ended up playing a little less behind the plate than in left field on a team beset with injuries to its outfielders.  Diaz’ hitting fell off from the previous year.  He did throw out 43% of base stealers in his limited time at catcher.

Diaz became a free agent again after the season and again re-signed with the Pirates.  The catching situation in class A figures to be very crowded, so it’s uncertain how much playing time he’ll get.  He’ll open the season backing up Taylor Gushue at West Virginia.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
July 2, 2006: Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an international free agent.
December 8, 2011: Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
November 5, 2013: Became a free agent.
November 15, 2013: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
November 4 2014: Became a free agent.
December 4, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.