It seems like most young starters in the Twins organization can be cast into a similar mold, doesn’t it? They don’t necessarily throw hard and they don’t generate a ton of strikeouts, but they have pinpoint control and therefore are at least intriguing players to fantasy owners.
One such pitcher is Scott Diamond (though he was a Rule 5 pick from the Atlanta Braves, not a pitcher solely developed in Minnesota) who got an extended look in the Twins’ rotation a year ago:
90 Strikeouts (4.68 K/9)
31 Walks (1.61 BB/9)
73.3% Strand Rate
Obviously, for most the strikeout rate is a virtual non-starter. He only had one month over 4.90 (he was at 5.97 in 31.2 May innings) and he doesn’t throw particularly hard with an average fastball of 89.4.
Granted, he never is going to be a tremendous strikeout option, but he did post a 7.10 K/9 for his minor league career, including a 6.27 mark in 39 Triple-A starts. There is at least a little bit of upside and seeing him post a mark in the 5.00-5.25 range would not be unthinkable.
His control is his calling card, as he showed last season. That said, it is easy to argue that he isn’t THAT good, given his 2.44 mark at Triple-A. Prior to his recall in 2012 he was at 1.82 over six starts and he was only above 1.56 in one month in the Major Leagues (2.52 in September). Sure, it is easy to project a little bit of a regression, but it is hard to be this consistently good. Think in the 2.00 range heading into the year.
You couple that with an ability to generate groundballs (48.0% in the minor leagues the past two seasons and 53.4% for the Twins last year), and things start to look a little bit better.
I am not about to sit here and try to sell you on him as a tremendous pick. The truth is there is just as good a chance that he falls flat on his face (4.50 Triple-A ERA) then there is of him being successful. That said, he calls a pitcher’s park home, generates a solid groundball rate with very good control and the potential for growth in the strikeout department…
That just screams of the right formula to gamble on late in your draft, especially when you take into account that 2012′s luck metrics are realistic. If nothing else, he could be a poor man’s Scott Baker, helping you in the WHIP department. However, with the potential for more, I would be willing to grab him in deeper formats at the end of your draft as the ultimate flier. If he fails, you don’t lose much but he has the potential to be a productive option (think high 3.00s ERA with a solid WHIP at around 1.30).
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Make sure to check out all of our extremely early 2013 rankings: