Before he joined the Mets as part of the Steven Matz trade in late January, Yennsy Díaz had spent his his professional career in the Blue Jays organization. The 24-year-old right-handed pitcher has just one major league appearance under his belt, and aside from that, he hasn’t yet pitched above Double-A.
While Díaz has made a few relief appearances over the course of his minor league career, he has spent the vast majority of his time as a starting pitcher. Back in 2015, he split his time between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League and finished the year with a 2.88 ERA. But things didn’t go all that smoothly, at least in terms of results, over the next couple of seasons. In 2016, Díaz racked up a 5.79 ERA in 56.0 innings in the Appalachian League, and in 2017, he had a 4.79 ERA in just 77.0 innings at Single-A.
But in his age-21 season in 2018, Díaz took a step forward. He started that season in Single-A, and after pitching well in his first nine starts, he was bumped up to High-A. In total, he made 27 appearances that year, two of which were relief outings, and finished with a 3.05 ERA in 147.1 innings. With that, he started the 2019 season in Double-A, and while he was just so-so in 21 starts, he got called up and made one major league appearance in early August. That outing came in relief and did not go well, as he gave up two runs on two hits and issued four walks without striking out anyone.
After that appearance, the Blue Jays sent Díaz back to Double-A, and he put up a 2.27 ERA in five starts back at that level to finish his year. In total, he had a 3.74 ERA in 144.1 innings at Double-A for the season.
Heading into the 2021 season, Díaz figures to begin the year in the minors, most likely with Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets have more starting pitch depth right now than they’ve had in a while, and Díaz figures to be one of several pitchers who will begin the year in the upper minors. How he and his peers perform will likely determine which of those pitchers ends up getting a shot at major league innings with the Mets.