But you know what’s a hell of a good way to introduce yourself to the general public? Uncorking a pitch that defeats the laws of physics.
Diaz made a one-pitch argument for being featured on Pitching Ninja Tuesday night in Hudson Valley, tossing a slider for the ages on a 2-1 pitch in a one-run ballgame in the seventh. The sharpness of this break looks like the ball’s a remote-controlled drone — which, actually, can’t be ruled out at the minor-league level.
The 24-year-old reliever has, uh, a 6.75 ERA thus far in 2022, but a pitcher’s potential is only as good as his peak pitch. And Diaz’s best is one of the literal best.
Here’s Diaz’s all-world slider being featured on MLB Pipeline’s official Twitter, an early contender for Pitch of the Year.
Batter doesn’t think so, though.
Yankees prospect Wellington Diaz uncorked a whiffle ball slider for the Hudson Valley Renegades.
It feels like just yesterday that we were all watching Randy Vasquez highlights from the center-field camera at Hudson Valley, trying to make heads or tails out of how anyone could possibly hit that dude. Could Diaz be the next breakout, or is he just a one-trick pony? Either way, pretty good trick.
Diaz has been kicking it in the Yankees’ system since 2017, reaching full-season ball for the first time in 2019 with the Charleston RiverDogs. In 2021, coaches were forced to take the good with the bad during a full season in Tampa. He was barely hit (.209 BAA against) and struck out 53 men in 38.1 innings pitched — but, on the flip side, his slider had a mind of its own, and he registered 27 walks (!!!) and a 5.17 ERA.
He’s also a really good dude. Or maybe he stole the slider grip from this baby?
Perhaps 2022 is the year he puts it all together, spurred on by this extra attention.
So far, Diaz is an enigma, with some of the nastiest swing-and-miss stuff in the Yankees’ system, but without the control to match. The Yankees’ Gas Station likes a good project, though, don’t they? It’s not hard to see why the team’s invested in Diaz’s growth, and a little added deception could go a long way.
Yes, it really is possible to have a slider that breaks too much.