Yankees might’ve landed a steal in Lucas Luetge trade

lucas luetge, yankees
Apr 16, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Lucas Luetge (63) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees executed a trade with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, sending left-handed bullpen pitcher Lucas Luetge in exchange for two minor-league prospects. The Bombers added Caleb Durbin, a low-A infielder and Double-A prospect, Indigo Diaz.

The Yankees might’ve landed a steal with Indigo Diaz:

Of the two, Diaz represents the player with the most upside, showcasing solid stuff as a potential bullpen arm at the MLB level in the future. At 24 years old, he pitched in 49 games for Atlanta’s Double-A affiliate last season. He hosted a 3.08 ERA and 5.37 xFIP, including 11.42 strikeouts per nine and a 75.8% left-on-base rate. He tallied 49.2 total innings, picking up four saves in the process.

Ultimately, Diaz has a long way to go before he can be a legitimate contributor for the Yankees if not utilized in a trade down the road. At 6’5″ and 250 pounds, Diaz has quality stuff, including high-end velocity the Yankees can extrapolate on.

Per MLB Pipeline, Diaz is headed in the right direction toward being an MLB contributor, potentially as a late-inning reliever:

The 6-foot-5 Diaz has shown he can miss bats with an effective two-pitch mix. He throws his fastball in the 93-97 mph range and it plays well not only because of the velocity, but because it has carry and Diaz gets very good extension coming down the mound. During the 2020 shutdown, he worked to develop his power breaking ball. He calls it a curve, and it does have good depth, but the mid-80s velocity makes it seem more like a slider.

Diaz has done a better job of finding the strike zone as a pro compared to his time with the Spartans. He attacks the zone and goes right after hitters consistently now, pointing to a potential future pitching out of a big league bullpen.

Diaz has a fastball that can reach 98 mph, hovering in the 93–97 range. With tweaked fundamentals, he could even touch triple digits over time, but he’s also adding a few additional pitches to his repertoire, including a curve that looks like a slider, according to MLB Pipeline.

Considering his age and the fact he spent the last two seasons in Double-A, the Yankees could elevate him to Triple-A Scranton in the near future, at least until he gets acclimated with the team’s farm system. Hosting a 3.08 ERA is solid, especially given he pitched nearly 50 innings last season. There is a bit of concern regarding his command at times, but he throws his fastball like an arrow, and if he can build upon his curveball, there could be a role for him in the future if the Yankees need to supplement any injuries.

While trading Luetge certainly wasn’t necessary, at 35 years old, adding a promising young arm like Diaz could end up being a steal.