When the Colorado Rockies inked catcher Elias Díaz to a three-year deal this fall, it did not send shockwaves throughout Major League Baseball. Diaz had already spent the past two seasons with Colorado and is still relatively unknown around the league, but he is becoming one of the most underrated players at his position and if the second half of last season is any indication, he may be about to break out.
By the end of 2022, Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Díaz could be discussed as one of the better all-around catchers in the league.
In just over a hundred games in 2021, Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Díaz set career highs with 18 home runs, 18 doubles, and 44 RBI. His 18 home runs were third-best by a National League catcher. By themselves, those numbers are already a massive offensive improvement for Colorado catchers over the last several seasons. But they don’t tell the whole story.
Like many of his teammates, Díaz got off to a slow start before a torrid second half gave fans hope that he might be the long-awaited answer to the team’s offensive black hole behind the plate.
In his final 65 games of the season, Diaz hit 16 home runs, 14 doubles, and 35 RBI, all while batting an impressive .294 with a .943 OPS. Though this was a limited sample size, in 2018 with Pittsburgh, Diaz hit 10 home runs with a .286 batting average and 116 OPS+ in 82 games, so there’s reason to believe his 2021 power surge was no fluke. It’s worth mentioning though, that the following season he hit only 2 home runs in 101 games.
There’s no question that if Diaz can repeat his offensive outburst from last season it would be a huge boost to the Rockies’ lineup, but it’s not just what Diaz does at the plate, but also his work behind it that makes him so valuable. Diaz posted a .995 fielding percentage and threw out an incredible 42 percent of would-be base stealers.
It is his unique ability to produce offensively and defensively at such a high rate that makes Diaz a rare commodity at his position. Historically, the Rockies have not much to show in terms of great all-around catchers. Perhaps Elias Diaz is finally going to change that.