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Get To Know The Baby Birds: Yusniel Diaz

February 11, 2019 - 9:15 am

By Joe Schiller 

Heading into the trade deadline last season, Manny Machado’s fate was ultimately decided, it was only a matter of which team at what price.

The Orioles struck a deal in mid-July, sending the All-Star third baseman to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for five prospects – led by 22-year-old Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz.

Diaz signed with the Dodgers at just 18 and in a short time, has quickly progressed into a top prospect. Known for the power he possesses, Diaz is one of the young faces of the Orioles you should begin to become acquainted with.

Heading into the 2019 season, Diaz is considered one of the Orioles’ top prospects – No. 1 depending on who you ask. He’s ranked as the 37th best prospect by Baseball America, 44th by Baseball Prospectus and 64th by MLB.com.

There’s a reason he’s receiving the hype.

Diaz spent 59 games last season with the Tulsa Drillers – LA’s Double-A affiliate – before being traded to the Orioles and thrived. He hit .314 at the plate along with 6 home runs and 30 RBIs.

He also earned MVP honors in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game after smacking two home runs.

Upon arriving to Baltimore, Diaz finished out the season with Double-A Bowie. He endured a slow start but found his footing, batting .239 with 5 home runs and 15 RBIs in 38 games.

Diaz has spent the entirety of his young professional career in the minors but that’s not expected to be for much longer. He was one of 18 non-roster invitees to join the Orioles in Sarasota, Florida for Spring Training. There, he’ll have a chance to bolster his case to make the active roster ahead of Opening Day.

Entering a rebuilding period will give plenty of young players including Diaz a chance to gain experience at the major league level.

The question becomes figuring out an already crowded outfield group. With players such as Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, Joey Rickard and D.J. Stewart all fighting for playing time, where will Diaz fit in?