Yandy was twice caught and arrested while attempting to defect from Cuba, each time jailed for 21 days…on the third attempt, he and friend Leandro Linares waited in tall grass until their motorized raft arrived…they set out at around 2 a.m. and arrived in the Dominican Republic at about 2 p.m. the next day…Yandy reports to have seen sharks swimming alongside the raft...Yandy hasn’t seen his family in Cuba since he defected…he calls his mother, Elsa Maria Fernández, who still lives there, almost every day and says she influenced him to play baseball...His father, Jorge, played with inaugural Rays pitcher Rolando Arrojo for Villa Clara in the Cuban National Series and eventually defected to play a brief stint in the minor leagues…Yandy would later play for Villa Clara as well...Four days before homering twice in front of 54,005 fans at the 2019 AL Wild Card Game, Yandy was playing in his first action since fracturing his foot two months earlier…it was in front of an empty stadium in an Instructional League scrimmage…Rays senior advisor Mitch Lukevics was at both games and told the Tampa Bay Times, “Just amazing. You could not find two more opposite settings”…when asked by MLB. com about the stress of playing in front of such a large crowd, he responded, “There were people with guns when I played in Cuba.”...He is a gym rat whose muscles have been featured in Men’s Journal…he began weightlifting when he was 12 years old...Per the Tampa Bay Times, teammate Joey Wendle once saw Yandy swing a bat that had pennies taped around the barrel and “still crush balls as far as I could hit with a regular bat.
Appeared in 34 games and made 30 starts (22-3B, 6-DH, 2-1B) before suffering a right hamstring strain on Aug 31, ending his regular season… returned in time for the start of the postseason...At the time of his injury, ranked 2nd in the AL with a .428 OBP and 3rd with 23 BB…according to StatCast, his 18 opposite-field hits through Aug 31 tied for most in the majors...Hit .355/.444/.452 (33-for-93) with 3 2B, 2 HR and 11 RBI in August…min. 75 PA, led the AL in on-base pct. and ranked 2nd in avg. …this came on the heels of a 2-for-21 start through 7 games...Made 7 starts batting leadoff and reached base safely leading off the 1st inning five times...Hit .325/.460/.425 (13-for-40) with 2 outs...Walked in each of his first 7 games, the longest streak of his career and the longest streak to start a season in club history, passing Gabe Gross (5) in 2009…was the first player in the majors to start a season in this fashion since CIN Jonny Gomes (8) and ATL Jason Heyward (8) in 2011...Reached base safely in his first 22 games, the second-longest streak to start a season in franchise history behind Rocco Baldelli (24) in 2003…hit .301 (22-for-73) with 17 BB during the streak...Went 16 games (15 starts) before his first RBI, the longest stretch by a Ray to start the season since Logan Morrison (28) in 2016...Both homers came in back-to-back games from Aug 20-21 at NYY, vs. TOR…hit 2 HR in a stretch of 3 AB after going 110 AB without one...Made his third Opening Day roster…started at first base after Opening Day starts at third base in 2017 (with CLE) and 2019 (with TB).
Limited to 79 games due to three stints on the injured list, the third of which cost him over two months…hit 14 HR in 347 PA for the Rays, compared to 1 HR in 299 PA over two seasons with the Indians and 9 HR in 1,099 PA between the minors and majors over those two seasons...Sustained a left foot contusion on July 22 vs. BOS, when he fouled a ball off his foot with the Rays trailing 9-4 in the 9th inning…did not return until the final game of the regular season...While progressing back from his left foot injury, felt an increase of pain while taking ground balls prior to the game on Aug 7…CT scan results revealed an uncommon hairline fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot...Sidelined from May 20-June 1 with a left hand contusion and from June 17-26 with right hamstring discomfort...Hit .500 (8-for-16) with 1 2B, 2 HR and 3 BB leading off a game and .337 (28-for-83) with 5 HR and 10 RBI out of the leadoff spot in the order...Made his second Opening Day roster, both starts at third base (2016)…became the 11th Cuban-born player in franchise history...On March 29 vs. HOU, hit his first home run as a Ray, a solo shot in the 6th inning off Gerrit Cole…since StatCast was introduced in 2015, his homer tied for the club's lowest by launch angle (17°), joining Brad Miller on June 17, 2016 vs. SF...On April 7 at SF, homered off Drew Pomeranz for the first leadoff homer of his career...On May 11 vs. NYY, hit a solo homer off CC Sabathia in the 3rd inning and a 3-run shot off Nestor Cortes Jr. in the 8th for the first multi-HR game of his career…his 4 RBI were a career high...On July 2 vs. BAL, pinch-ran and scored in the 6th inning and walked and scored in the 7th… became the second player in franchise history to score multiple runs without an official at-bat, joining Geoff Blum on Aug 29, 2004 at OAK...On July 18 at NYY (G1), was the second of back-to-back homers with Austin Meadows to lead off the 1st inning…it was the second time in club history Rays hitters hit back-to-back homers to lead off a game, following June 15, 1998 vs. TOR (Quinton McCracken, Wade Boggs)...Started at first base in the AL Wild Card Game at OAK and started the first 3 games of the ALDS against the Astros, one as the designated hitter and two at third base…was replaced in the 3rd inning of Game 3...Hit leadoff in the Wild Card Game and homered in the 1st and 3rd innings, becoming the fifth Ray with a multi-HR game in the postseason and the first to do it in a "winner take all" game...Was the 10th player in postseason history with a multi-HR effort in a "winner take all" game but only the second out of the leadoff spot, joining BOS Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS…he became the first leadoff hitter to homer in each of his first 2 AB of a postseason...According to Stats LLC, was the first position player to homer in the postseason after not having any hits after July in the regular season.
Appeared in 39 games and made 26 starts (15DH, 6-1B, 5-3B) over two stints with the Indians… was on the active roster from June 20-23 and Aug 12 through the end of the season...Hit .407/.515/.519 (11-for-27) over his final 13 games (7 starts) of the season...In his season debut on July 20 at TEX, went 4-for-6 with 2 RBI and 2 runs in an 11-inning win…was the second 4-hit game of his career… was the first Indians player with 4 hits in his season debut since David Dellucci in 2009...On Sep 4 vs. KC, hit his first career home run, a solo shot off Jake Newberry in the 5th inning… came in the 244th plate appearance of his career, snapping the Indians longest homerless drought to begin a major league career since John McDonald in 2002...Finished the season as the International League leader with a .409 OBP…ranked 2nd with 70 BB and 6th with a .293 avg. …at the time of his last recall, was leading the IL in walks and was tied for 6th with 24 2B...POSTSEASON: Was the starting designated hitter in Game 3 of the ALDS, an 11-3 loss against the Astros…doubled in the 2nd inning off Dallas Keuchel.
Split the season between Cleveland and AAA Columbus, opening the season on the Major League roster after a torrid spring training and finished the season with a strong six weeks at the Major League level...Hit .458 (22/48) in Spring Training with 2 HR and 15 RBI (1.252 OPS) and made the club out of spring training as was the club's Opening Day third baseman...Collected his first Major League hit in his third at bat of his Major League debut on April 3 at Texas, a double off Yu Darvish...Hit .236 (13/55) with 9 runs, 1 2B, 2 RBI in 15 games in his first stint before being optioned to Columbus on April 21 when Jason Kipnis returned from the D.L...Was also with Cleveland, May 8-15, going 0-for-9 in 3 games...Recalled for a third and final time on August 22 and spent the rest of the season at Major League level. Around his tenure in Cleveland, he batted .350 (108/309) in Columbus with 56 runs, 17 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR & 33 RBI in 85 games (.454/.460/.914)...At the time of August 22 recall he was leading the International League in on-base pct. (.454) and batting average and was third in OPS (.914) and tied for sixth in walks (60)... He batted .371 (33/89) off LHP and hit .321 (16/57) with runners on base..At AAA he appeared in 42 games in third, 21 games in left field, 9 games in right field and 1 game at second base. With Cleveland he made 37 starts at third base, 5 starts at DH and 3 starts in left field...Made 2 errors in 71 total chances at third base (.972)....Enjoyed a career-game on August 24 vs. Boston, going 4-for-4 with 4 runs, 2 doubles, a triple and 2 RBI (single-game bests in hits, doubles, runs)...Walked or hit safely in 35 of 45 starts...From August 24 thru the end of his season he batted .326 (28/86) with 16 runs, 7 2B, 1 3B & 10 RBI in 29 games to end the season....Over his last stint in August and September he batted .304 (28/92) with 16 runs, 7 2B, 1 3B & 10 RBI in 31 games (.407/.810)....Díaz did not draw a walk in his last 53 PA's dating back to Sept. 7...Appeared in 11 games for Caracas in the VWL (10/30) before being shutdown on Nov. 26 with groin/abdominal sorenes.
Had an outstanding season in his third campaign in the Indians organization, leading the International League in on-base pct (.399) while participating in the MLB XM Futures Game in July...Was named International League Rookie of the Year following the season...Also finished among Int'l League leaders in average (2nd, .325) and OPS (3rd, .860)...Among orgnaizational leaders he finished 2nd in batting average (.318) and on-base pct. (.408) and 3rd in OPS (.854), 4th in hits (141) and tied for 5th in walks (71)... Was named an MiLB.com organizational all-star for the second straight season... Combined on the year he batted .318 (141-444) with 66 runs, 22 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR and 58 RBI in 121 games between AA Akron and AAA Columbus...Was promoted from Akron to Columbus on May 12... Reeled off a 28-game hitting streak from July 6 to August 10, the longest hitting streak in the IL since 2007 (Brandon Watson 43-games)...Combined on the year he appeared in 52 games at third base, 28 games in right field, 24 games in left field, 5 games at second base and 1 game in center field...After the season he hit .371 (56-151) in 40 games in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caracas (.451/.510/.961) ...Was second in the league in on-base and average and third in OPS (appeared in all but one game in the outfield)...Rated by Baseball America as having the best strike zone discipline in the system.