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Aledmys Diaz: Is He Really This Bad?

Of course not, but you only have one chance to make a first impression.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at New York Mets

I think it was Earl Weaver who once said to an umpire, “are you gonna always be this bad, or is this it?”

Whether or not he said that (or if anyone actually said that) it is the question every Astros fan is asking Aledmys Diaz after his first two games with the Astros.

“Are you really this bad?”

Maybe it’s an Astros thing. Remember what Will Harris did to him in the 2016 All Star game?

But wait. He was ON the All Star team. But so far with the Astros that doesn’t seem possible. In his first two games with the Astros he is 0-7 at the plate with 3 k’s after an absymal Spring Training.

But that’s not the real problem. He has 3 official errors, and for some reason when one of his errant throws drew Yuli Gurriel off first they gave that error to Gurriel, so he should really have two games.

In just two games Fangraphs has his WAR rating at -0.1. At this rate he will end the season costing the Astros 8.1 games more than a replacement player would, say, Nick Tanielu for example.

Which only illustrates the weakness in the WAR statistic in general, because Diaz has not cost the Astros 0.1 game, he has cost the Astros one whole game already.

After one of his throwing errors last night the Rays strung together some seeing eye singles off Gerrit Cole, scoring three unearned runs as a result. If Diaz had made that play the Astros would have won 2-1 and Gerrit Cole’s ten strikeouts would have been featured on Sportscenter, after the by-line, “the Astros juggernaut rumbles on.”

So is Diaz really this bad, or is this it?

Of course not. For his career Diaz is a 106 wRC+ hitter, last year going 102, one point better than Carlos Correa. Defensively, although he is credited with three errors in two games already this year, last year he had only seven in 95 games, and only six in 68 games the prior year. By comparison again, Correa had six errors last year in 110 games. Diaz’ career UZR/150 rating is slightly better than Correa’s, -6.2 compared to -8.6, although his career DRS is worse, -23 compared to -4. Diaz’ arm rates about average per Fangraphs, Correa slightly better.

Diaz has had a string of bad games, and is off to a slow start hitting. All this happens to be in his first two games with a new team. He is a professional, and it’s pretty obvious to a seasoned fan that it is too soon to give up on him. We may forget all about this come late October, or maybe we’ll remember what a great story it was how badly he started the season after he walked off game 7 of the World Series. Baseball.

On the other hand, competition for the 25th spot on the Astros roster is intense, so if this is not it, Diaz better show it soon.

Interview with Brian McTaggart