Edwin Diaz was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week (June 20-30) after completely dominating opposing hitters in his first three starts.
Diaz, selected in the 3rd round (98th overall) by the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft, didn't quite live up to the hype in his first professional season. Diaz struggled in the Arizona League, compiling a 5.21 ERA in nine appearances (one start). His biggest problem was command, as he walked 17 and hit five batters in just 19 innings of work.
However, Diaz has "stuff." After all, he did strike out 20 batters in Arizona last year. When scouts use the word "stuff" when talking about pitchers, it's a good thing. It was a matter of if he could command a fastball that sits at 94-96 miles per hour, paired with a hard, wipeout slider. The development of his third pitch - a changeup - could promote Diaz through the Seattle farm system quickly.
But it's all up to his command, his growth.
Remember, Diaz is only 19-years old.
After a bump to the Appy League in 2013, Diaz is growing up quite fast. With one season of professional baseball under his belt, Diaz has looked like an entirely different pitcher from last season. Through three starts, Diaz is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He's thrown 16 innings, allowing just nine hits and two walks. He has already struck out 20 batters, with a season-high nine in his first Appy League start at Burlington. Diaz was perfect through five innings at Burlington before allowing a leadoff double in the sixth, the only hit he allowed in six innings of work.
The Mariners wanted command out of Diaz, and with a 20:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio, it appears command is no longer an issue.
He's grabbed the "ace" title of the Pulaski rotation and has run with it.
He may be taking that title to the next level in the Seattle Mariners organization very soon.