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NorCal ProCase Spotlight: SS Davis Diaz


Blaine Clemmens
Northern CA Director of Scouting

    

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LINCOLN, CA. - Diaz has been a standout at the varsity level since his freshman year at Acalanes HS. The winning percentage for the Dons over his 2+ seasons is one of the highest among all California high school programs. He's also a multiple time member of Team USA medal-winning teams. So it stands to reason that one of the state's top shortstops would be a highly scouted desired talent for the upper rounds of the 2021 draft. However, it's not quite that simple. Diaz is the 12th ranked player in our 2021 California rankings, the 4th ranked SS.

Though Diaz is a very skilled and polished player, his raw tools aren't the type of eye-popping tools that generally are found with upper round middle infield prospects. Now, don't get me wrong, he's not lacking tools, but outside of the field tool, he doesn't project to have another plus tool. There is a reason that may not matter when draft time comes... because the best tool he possesses is the REALLY GOOD AT PLAYING BASEBALL tool, which generally outperforms all others.

THE REPORT:

Body: 5-foot-11, 170-pounds. Proportioned and athletic looking, when near him you can see that he's put time in to hone and develop lean strength. As he physically matures there is a chance that the tools do increase.

Hit: RHH, it's this tool that has been the one most scrutinized by scouts. However, it's also the tool that is the most subjective for high school players. At his best Davis can be seen lining line drives from gap to gap, grinding out at-bats, driving in runs with quality team-type at-bats, and laying off quality pitcher's pitches. Scouts who will have him high on their pref lists will project the future hit tool at least as average and I'd suspect even 55 for those who really like him. There is a valid reason for that. His hard hit % during BP was 60%, not super high but among the highest in the event. Davis also has the work ethic and aptitude to reach his ceiling and that means an awful lot in this game. Average bat speed was 67.1 mph, average peak hand speed 21.2 mph. The line drive that went whizzing past the pitcher off a 90+ mph FB in his first at-bat was perhaps the loudest contact in the competitive ABs portion of the event.

Power: Given his position and defensive chops, the power tool, while desired and frequently found among the top SS in MLB, will be modestly considered with Diaz. His average of 89.7 mph exit velocity (max of 100 mph) during BP at the ProCase ranked 8th among the hitters, 3rd among MIFs. Wood bats were used. His average attack angle of 9 degrees reflects a line drive hitter, which he is. The 4.03 average power kW rates within the ideal range (lower end) of MLB & MiLB hitters. What is likely to happen with Diaz is that he learns to elevate the ball a bit more, gains strength, continues to work gap to gap and as a mature man is able to produce near average power.

Field: Also a highly subjectively graded tool, Diaz generally gets big time grades as a defender. It's what got him on the field as a freshman and it's what had him manning the position for Team USA on multiple occasions. Soft hands, quick and efficient feet, takes excellent angles and gets rid of the ball quickly. He's comfortable around the bag and has the lower body strength to take contact and get off off-balance throws. Plays below and through the ball. The raw arm can still improve a tick or two and the raw foot speed can improve as well. However, as we have seen with the SS of the SF Giants, being a plus runner isn't necessary to be an elite glove man. Diaz grades out as a future plus defender at the SS position. The last play in his ProCase video will shed light on the field tool.

Arm: With a peak of 85 mph across the diamond, he has present arm strength that is more of a positive than a detriment. Arm strength can and will increase as he physically matures and works to develop that talent. Whatever velocity he's able to get to, is less important than his ability to make accurate throws and play on the move. His internal clock and release both allow his raw arm to play above average.

Run: 7.02 60-yard on turf surface. We have seen him get down the line at 4.28 during game action. The run tool may cause some scouts to downgrade him and/or his range capabilities, but that could be a mistake. He can perform as an average runner and his defensive skills rely on instincts and first step quickness more than raw foot speed.

Summary: When putting it all together, Diaz grades out as a future plus defender at SS w/an average hit tool, average power and well-above average playability. As a long time crosschecker once told me... the most important ability is USABILITY of the tools and Diaz has that. Now, all that said, he's very likely going to have to continue to prove himself, first at the college level, and looking ahead to the 2024 draft.

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