Diaz struck out the heart of the Orioles' order Friday to preserve a 3-2 lead, giving him 26 strikeouts in 14.1 innings since his callup. The tying run reached on a single after a leadoff strikeout of Adam Jones, but Diaz came back to strike out Manny Machado and Chris Davis. He got ahead with a 97-100 mph fastball and then rang up each on an 88-mph slider. Diaz has impressed in his short time up with the Mariners. He'll likely continue to be leaned on his high-leverage situations.
Diaz ended an eighth-inning, bases-loaded threat Tuesday with a four-pitch strikeout against the Tigers. Diaz entered with runners in scoring position and two out, trailing 4-2. He hit his first batter, but then got out of the jam to keep the team within striking distance. It was a big moment for the 22-year-old, who is the organization's top pitching prospect. Diaz was converted from being a starter earlier this year because he never could develop an adequate third pitch to go with his high-90s fastball and power slider. Those two pitches should work in relief, though. He's shown promise in limited work since his early June callup, pitching eight innings (seven appearances) and allowing two runs with 12 strikeouts and three unintentional walks.
Diaz had his contract selected by the Mariners on Saturday and he will be available out of the bullpen for their game against the Rangers, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The Mariners' top pitching prospect will likely major league debut in the coming days after having his contract selected Saturday, which allowed him to take the spot on the 40-man roster previously occupied by Joel Peralta. "The guy has a chance to be a pretty good reliever. Edwin has plus fastball velocity, plus fastball life and what at times is a plus breaking ball," said Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Diaz will add a power element to the Mariners bullpen that has been lacking this season, according to Divish.
Diaz will transition into a relief pitcher, Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider reports. Diaz is widely considered to be Seattle's top prospect, but even then, he wasn't expected to be the club's future ace while spending the past four seasons working his way up the farm system. The ability to reach high-90s with his fastball certainly suggests a role as a closer could work out just fine, but he's still not in line to join the Mariners until the 2017 season.
Diaz, 22, has a 1.64 ERA and 16:1 K:BB ratio through 11 innings for Double-A Jackson. The top prospect in the Seattle system, Diaz has been scorching to begin the season. He did fan 145 batters in 141.1 innings between High-A and Double-A last year, though also posted 4.57 ERA once he was promoted to the higher level. Still, he has a high-90's heater, improving off speed stuff and pretty stellar control. The Mariners have a rather poor farm system, but Diaz is the cream of the crop.
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