John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
On November 11, 2014 Toronto signed Jonathan Diaz to a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training. Diaz spent the past off-season playing for Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican League (same team as Moises Sierra and Juan Perez). He appeared in 45 games hitting .261/.444/.328 and helping Gigantes del Cibao to a 22-28 season.
Jonathan Diaz was originally drafted by Toronto in 2006 with their 12th round selection out of North Carolina State. Diaz spent seven seasons appearing in over 700 games as light hitting infielder. He spent 2013 in the Boston Red Sox organization, making his major league debut on June 29th at 3rd base against, guess who, the Toronto Blue Jays. He would only appear in 5 games and would not collect a hit.
Diaz is a poor man’s John McDonald. At the plate Diaz has good discipline, a slap hitter who utilizes his speed to get on base. His high number of sacrifice hits tells me that he is willing and able to lay down a bunt to move a guy over, which is good because he doesn’t hit for power…at all. Diaz is primarily a singles hitter and will accidentally run in a pitch every year and if the wind is blowing towards the outfield the ball will find the stands.
Watching Diaz in the field one would think he would have better stolen base numbers, but you would be wrong. Just like John McDonald, he has good speed but not base stealing speed.
He was a utility infielder through his minor league career, getting into about 90-100 games a year. Diaz averaged a triple slash of .230/.358/.297 to John Mac’s .260/.321/.327. So it is very easy to see that Jonathan Diaz is a placeholder for last year’s AA New Hampshire infielders Andy Burns, Kevin Nolan, or even Ryan Schimpf; who may all see time in AAA Buffalo this year. I imagine that we would see Munenori Kawasaki in Toronto before we see Jonathan Diaz and this writer would be very surprised to see Jonathan Diaz still playing in the Blue Jays system at season’s end.