Friday, August 10, 2012

The Twins Have Found a Diamond In The Rough

It's no secret that the Minnesota Twins' pitching staff is having a horrendous season. Their 4.69 FIP is last in the American League and is only ahead of the Colorado Rockies 4.70 FIP. Overall there isn't much to be excited about when a Twins pitcher takes the mound. Recently that has changed though. In 2010 the Twins selected starting pitcher, Scott Diamond. Diamond was with the Braves at the time of his selection. As spring training was coming to a close the Twins traded relief pitcher Billy Bullock to Atlanta, and that allowed them to send Diamond to the minors. Diamond struggled in the seven games he started last year, but this year has been a whole different story.

Going into the season Scott Diamond started out in the Minnesota Twins AAA affiliate, the Rochester Redwings. He wasn't there long though, after six starts he got the call to the big leagues. Even though he was called up a month after the season started he leads the Twins with 2.3 rWAR after 114 innings pitched. He currently has a 3.66 FIP which is a good number, and in the end probably makes him a solid #2-#3 starter. He doesn't have overpowering stuff, far from it actually as the velocity on his fastball sits around 89-90 mph. As a result Diamond has to a good job at locating his pitches. He's achieved that so far and has also done a tremendous job at limiting walks. As of today he's only walked 3.4% of all batters, that's good for the lowest in baseball.

It's hard to say if Diamond remains this good heading into next year. His GB% is a relatively high 55.9%, that's a number that will likely come down as he continues to pitch in the big leagues. That doesn't mean that he won't be a groundball pitcher though. As of right now it seems extremely plausible. He has a four seam fastball and a two seam fastball and when he throws either he gets a groundball 59% of the time. More often than not he throws his four seam fastball. While it seems like we can count on him being a groundball pitcher don't expect him to strikeout tons of batters anytime soon. This year he's only struck out 13% of all batters that he's faced. Going forward that's probably what we should expect.

In terms of what to expect going forward and to see what type of pitcher Diamond could become I looked at this leaderboard. Shockingly a familiar name comes up for Twins fans. That name is Brad Radke. Radke had a very good and possibly underrated career in Minnesota. He finished his career with 42 rWAR and shares some traits with Diamond. Both rely, or in Radke's case relied, on pinpoint control. Neither were big strikeout guys, although Radke hit above 16% a few times. Their fastball also topped out in the 89-90 mph range. Radke wasn't as big of a groundball pitcher as Diamond is though. Radke had some really good seasons though, he went over 5 rWAR four times. It will be interesting to see if Diamond is able to accomplish that.

Diamond is only 26 years old and hasn't even entered his prime, pitchers also age much differently than hitters so it's highly possible that Diamond has a solid 10 year career ahead of him. I would say his floor right now is a number three guy, but it's possible that he develops into a solid number two.


  1. I would consider his ceiling as a #3 guy. He's never walked so few hitters, so you can expect that number to double in the future. His GB rate has been in the low 50's throughout the minors, so the homers will probably go up a bit. His K rate could go up a bit, but this is probably as good as he will ever pitch in the majors.

  2. Over a full season could one expect 3 WAR?