20. Indigo Diaz
Personal Rank: 24
Indigo Diaz had arguably the best season of anyone in the Braves minors in 2021. The former 27th round pick out of Michigan State shot up rankings after a dominant year.
Diaz split time between High-A Rome and AA Mississippi and impressed in both locations.
Starting with Rome, Diaz appeared in 18 games, pitched 27 innings, and racked up a 1.00 ERA, 0.65 FIP, 1.61 xFIP, and an 18 K/9! Diaz struck out 52.9% of batters in Rome!
He was not wild, only walking 6.9% of batters in Rome. This performance earned him a midseason promotion to Mississippi.
He kept up the impressive work in AA, appearing in 14 games, pitching 18 innings with a 1.50 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, and 14.5 K/9. He still struck out 39.7% of batters at the next level, showing his strikeout potential.
The biggest issue was the walk rate rose in AA, jumping to 12.3%. This could mean that the High-A pitchers he faced while in Rome were free swingers, which would also explain a high strikeout rate.
Diaz will need to keep the walks down if he wants to be a lockdown reliever, but the potential to be a back end member of the bullpen is evident.
Diaz faced 175 batters and struck out 83 (47.4%)! That is elite work, no matter the level or talent faced.
The strong season from Diaz has garnered him a ton of hype. This has pushed him up rankings, honestly about as high as a relief pitching prospect will ever be ranked.
Relief pitchers are volatile. Prospects are volatile. Pitching prospects are especially volatile. A relief pitching prospect carries a lot of risk but watching Diaz work shows why there are so many excited about Diaz in a major league bullpen.
Diaz has an electric fastball, and a curveball that needs to become more consistent. When both pitches are working, it is tough for minor league hitters to touch him.
Another impressive start in the minors could see Indigo Diaz force his way into the Braves bullpen, sooner rather than later.