Dodgers’ Yusniel Diaz Shines In 2018 MLB Futures Game, But Keibert Ruiz Exits Early
Yusniel Diaz, Futures Game
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of Los Angeles Dodgers prospects made appearances in the Futures Game on Sunday, the matchup pitting international and domestic prospects against each other during All-Star week.

Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz and Venezuelan catcher Keibert Ruiz appeared for the World team, with Diaz starting in left field and batting third, while Ruiz came off the bench in the fifth inning.

Diaz was one of the stars of the game. After flying out to right field in his first two plate appearances, the 21-year-old squared off with Detroit Tigers’ hurler and former first rounder Matt Manning in the fifth.

After getting ahead 1-2 in the count, Manning elevated a 96 mph fastball and Diaz smashed a line drive over the wall in right-center field, tying the game.

Then, in the seventh inning, Diaz came to the plate again after the World team had fallen behind by a run.

Facing San Francisco Giants’ prospect Shaun Anderson, Diaz took a 95 mph heater over the wall just left of dead center, once again tying the game. He finished 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs.

While Diaz isn’t known for his power, it was encouraging to see him handling velocity with such aplomb. Hammering a pair of mid-90s fastballs for homers doesn’t really change his power projection, but it shows that he’s not simply a singles hitter.

Ruiz didn’t start for the World team in the Futures Game, entering the game as a defensive replacement. He got an at-bat in the sixth inning, but was over-eager, striking out on three pitches, swinging at all of them and only making contact once. An expected performance from a 19-year-old.

Things got worse during the following inning, as Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prospect Jo Adell foul-tipped a pitch that caught Ruiz on his throwing hand, forcing him to leave the game.

X-rays came back negative and it was classified as just a bruise, a lucky break for the young backstop. He could miss some time as it heals, but it could have been a lot worse.

Both Diaz and Ruiz will return to Double-A Tulsa, where they’ve been mainstays in the lineup. Ruiz likely won’t play for a while, but expect Diaz to return to action very soon.

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