Editor’s Note: This is a guest post, written by a friend of the program, Scarey from Sons of Ivy. When it comes to Cubs prospects, few know the organization better than Scarey, and he’s offered to throw us some of his insights, teed up here for you with minimal editing from yours truly. Enjoy.
Thomas Diamond, who will make his Major League debut tonight for the Chicago Cubs, is an example of why the word prospect is such a fluid term. He’s a 27 year old starting pitcher who has yet to make his major league debut. However, Diamond has had some setbacks in his career that should be taken into account when evaluating his prospect status.
Drafted out of the 2004 draft by the Rangers as the 10th overall pick, Diamond created a name for himself in a hurry. He, Edison Volquez and John Danks, were considered the big three pitching prospects in the Rangers’ system, otherwise known as “DVD,” [editor's note: no, seriously, they were], which the Rangers planned to use as the front three of their future rotation. This obviously never came to fruition after Volquez and Danks were packaged in trades, while Diamond struggled with control probles and eventually had Tommy John surgery in 2007. It’s interesting to note that Diamond was thought of as the best of the three, at least by Baseball America, who had Diamond ranked above his teammates as the 52nd best prospect in the country.
While recovering from surgery, Diamond struggled for the better part of two years, including a 6.20 ERA in almost 54 innings of AA ball in 2008. He was eventually designated for assignment by the Rangers in September of 2009. After signing with the Cubs that same September, Diamond made his comeback this year, dominating the Pacific Coast League in 2010. In 21 starts, Diamond has posted a 3.16 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP and 8.6 Ks/9.
Diamond is finally getting his opportunity to make it in the bigs after a call up from Iowa, following the Ted Lilly trade. He will bring with him a fastball that sits in the 89-92mph range, a good curveball, and a ridiculous changeup. By all accounts, his fastball and curve are usable pitches at the major league level, but his changeup is his bread and butter, averaging a scant 74mph. That 16mph difference in fastball to changeup is substantial relative to other MLB pitchers. With a hearty 6’4 240 lb frame and a new elbow, there’s a good chance Diamond can be a contributor to the Cubs in the future, even at 27 years old.
Diamond should soon be getting some AAA company in Chicago beyond fellow starter Casey Coleman. Iowa shortstop Darwin Barney is a lock for a September call up, so keep an eye out for his write-up.