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  • Diamond Getting Away From His Game

    Scott Diamond delivers for the Minnesota TwinsLast year, Scott Diamond emerged from the wreckage of an awful rotation to establish himself as the unit's lone long-term building block. At the conclusion of the season, Terry Ryan was clear in stating that only Diamond was assured a spot among the 2013 starting five.

    As it turned out, Diamond was not be a member of the Opening Day rotation this year; his recovery from offseason elbow surgery stretched a bit longer than expected, but when he rejoined the club in mid-April he was every bit the breath of fresh air that he had been a year ago. Recently, however, he’s begun to unravel as the aspects of his game most responsible for his success have gone by the wayside.

    Diamond’s outstanding results last year – 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 173 innings – were met with skepticism by many for two principal reasons. For one, his previous campaign had been utterly horrendous; between Triple-A and the majors in 2011, the lefty went 5-19 with a 5.44 ERA – an inauspicious introduction to his new organization after being acquired in the Rule 5 draft. Secondly, Diamond’s vastly improved numbers came along with a 4.7 K/9 rate that ranked as the third-lowest in all baseball.

    However, Diamond offset his extreme contact tendencies by excelling in the two areas where low-strikeout pitchers must stand out to sustain effectiveness: walks and ground balls. His 1.6 BB/9 rate ranked as the lowest in the American League while his 53.4 percent GB rate put him in the top 5. Because of his elite standing in these two key categories, Diamond separated himself from the rest of the organization’s contact-heavy pack and looked like a decent bet to become a rotation fixture going forward.

    He certainly looked that part in his first handful of starts this season, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first five starts while issuing just three walks in 29 innings with plenty of grounders. But after hurling seven shutout innings at Fenway Park on May 7, Diamond took a sudden turn for the worse. In four outings since, he’s 0-2 with an 8.41 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. He has failed to complete six innings in any of these four starts.

    Lately, the skills that had been so vital to the southpaw’s game are nowhere to be found. Opponents have hit more fly balls than grounders over those last four starts, and during that span Diamond has uncharacteristically issued eight walks in 20 1/3 innings.

    What’s the explanation? Are there lingering effects from his elbow injury and surgery last year? Or are old habits manifesting? Whatever the case, Diamond needs to work with pitching coach Rick Anderson and get back to his bread and better of locating the ball down in the zone effectively. Because when he’s not consistently doing that, he becomes part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    This rotation has enough problems as it is.
    This article was originally published in blog: Diamond Getting Away From His Game started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      When you're a weak control type pitcher you're going to have stretches like this. Diamond will get better as he studies the mistakes and looks back at the tape from last year.
    1. Aaron Cross's Avatar
      Aaron Cross -
      He is what he is. A 5th starter. He'll always be a .500 ptcher with an era in the mid to upper 4's.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Last year will turn out to be his career year. To have banked on him repeating was and is folly. As far as 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP being ..... outstanding?........ standards for outstanding sure have slipped.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Last year will turn out to be his career year. To have banked on him repeating was and is folly. As far as 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP being ..... outstanding?........ standards for outstanding sure have slipped.
      I don't think most people were counting on him to repeat last year's performance, but he sure seemed like a good bet to maintain as a solid mid/bottom of rotation guy as long as he kept throwing strikes and getting grounders.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      He is what he is. A bottom of the rotation guy who got overhyped by DickNBert.

      BTW, if you look at numbers like WHIP, K/9 and K/BB DeVries was better than Diamond last season. But the Twins look at W-L and ERA.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      BTW, if you look at numbers like WHIP, K/9 and K/BB DeVries was better than Diamond last season. But the Twins look at W-L and ERA.
      You honestly believe this or is this a bit?
    1. a-wan's Avatar
      a-wan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      BTW, if you look at numbers like WHIP, K/9 and K/BB DeVries was better than Diamond last season. But the Twins look at W-L and ERA.
      And what their scouts say, even if what the scouts say contradicts 10 years of stats for Correia pitching in the NL.
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post

      BTW, if you look at numbers like WHIP, K/9 and K/BB DeVries was better than Diamond last season. But the Twins look at W-L and ERA.
      I think you are over-analyzing and looking into the stats too much. Why should WHIP, K/9, or K/BB matter if he has a better W-L and ERA? Isn't the objective of the pitcher to limit the other team's runs through any means possible and win the game?
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tibs View Post
      I think you are over-analyzing and looking into the stats too much. Why should WHIP, K/9, or K/BB matter if he has a better W-L and ERA? Isn't the objective of the pitcher to limit the other team's runs through any means possible and win the game?
      Because the pitcher has more direct control over those underlying stats then he does over his ERA and W/L record. Those numbers are better predictors of future performance, and are why he has quite predictably regressed to the mean.
      ERA gives you a snapshot of what a player has DONE, but doesnt necessarily predict what he will DO.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      ERA gives you a snapshot of what a player has DONE, but doesnt necessarily predict what he will DO.
      This is actually true of all statistics, including WHIP, K/9, K/BB, WAR, xFIP, whatever.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      This is actually true of all statistics, including WHIP, K/9, K/BB, WAR, xFIP, whatever.
      A pitcher has much more control over many of those stats then he does his ERA. There are too many variables to ERA over small sample sizes to control.
      The numbers that go into FIP and xFIP have been proven, over massive sample sizes, to be much more accurate predictors of future ERA, than past ERA.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      The numbers that go into FIP and xFIP have been proven, over massive sample sizes, to be much more accurate predictors of future ERA, than past ERA.
      Stated much better. Thank you.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      I don't think most people were counting on him to repeat last year's performance, but he sure seemed like a good bet to maintain as a solid mid/bottom of rotation guy as long as he kept throwing strikes and getting grounders.
      Were the Twins? Do we think they were counting on him being an above median pitcher? I think they did feel that.
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Because the pitcher has more direct control over those underlying stats then he does over his ERA and W/L record. Those numbers are better predictors of future performance, and are why he has quite predictably regressed to the mean.
      ERA gives you a snapshot of what a player has DONE, but doesnt necessarily predict what he will DO.
      A pitcher still has most of the control over his ERA and also a lot of control whether his team wins or not. The point of the pitcher is to limit the runs and win the game. Saying a pitcher performed better yet had a higher ERA and less wins is not true.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Were the Twins? Do we think they were counting on him being an above median pitcher? I think they did feel that.
      They had every reason to feel that way. He was an elite GB pitcher with an elite walk rate last year, and as we're talking now about things a pitcher can control, those both definitely qualify. I guess you could say that his success in those two areas might have been flukish, but he's always been a big ground ball guy and the strides he made with his control seem to be holding up.
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      A pitcher has only a part of whether or not he will get the win or not. Jeremy Hellickson pitched 7.2 with 8 ER and still won this year. He clearly did not deserve it. On the other hand Jordan Zimmerman pitched a game where he went 8 innings with 1 ER and got the loss. I would say that he deserved the win for that outing but he didn't. W-L is a TERRIBLE measure of a pitcher's success. The best example is to go look at Slowey's game logs. Can you really say he deserves a 1-5 record with those numbers?
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Diamond's velocity is down over 1 mph over last Apr-May. His walks and K-rates have taken small hits. Batters have gotten ahead of him more this year. I think its safe to say Diamond is not operating at 100% right now, and I suspect its because of the elbow/surgery.
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