There will be plenty of panic attacks in the ninth inning of close games
While I expect Diaz to put up one of the best seasons for a closer in franchise history, I still expect to be terrified 99% of the time he takes the mound. While in a perfect world walks wouldn’t be an issue, for them to come down from 4.5/9 to an elite number is just hard to imagine.
Diaz’s walk rate was an absurd 12.7%. According to FanGraphs, a walk rate above 9% is considered “awful.” In order for him to get his walk rate to average, he would need to walk 2.9/9 and have a 7.7% walk rate. He has managed to get to average twice in his career, once in his rookie year and also in his outstanding 2018 season. If Diaz can get to the “below average” category which would see him walk 3.2/9 with an 8.0% walk rate, that would be a win.
I expect there to be a lot of days when there are a ton of base runners. This would remind me a lot of the 51 save Familia season. I remember vividly a game in Chicago against the Cubs where he walked two and allowed an infield hit to load the bases and with a one-run lead he managed to get out of that jam and hold on for the save.
Diaz has had plenty of performances like this where he would lose the ability to throw strikes for a batter or two and then find it and strike out the side. I expect there to be a lot of games that see Diaz allow baserunners due to his inability to throw strikes consistently sometimes and give me some panic attacks before nailing down a save.