Position: Relief Pitcher
Birthday/Age: January 21, 1987 (26)
Ht/Wt: 6' 4", 200 pounds
How he became a Phillie: Drafted by the Phillies in the 30th round of the 2007 Draft.
Repertoire: Diekman has a strong, low-to-mid 90s fastball, which is his best pitch. Initially, it was average to maybe a little above, but the Phillies worked with Diekman to lower his arm slot a little and the result was that after working through the nuances of his new mechanics, he was able to maintain velocity, but get more movement on the pitch, which has made him much tougher to hit. His secondary pitch is a slider and it's slightly above average, but again, the new arm slot is helping gain some movement.
Scouting Report: Initially, Diekman was a starter, but he simply didn't have enough quality pitches to stay in that role, so he wound up in the bullpen and it's proved to be the right move. Diekman is a competitor and pressure situations don't bother him, so mentally, he's suited for a bullpen role. Some believe that his stuff is only good enough to be a left-handed specialist, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but he's showing enough development that he should be able to at least eventually, work out of that role and become a solid reliever against any type of hitter. Proof in point is that last year at Lehigh Valley, Diekman held lefties to a .200 average and righties didn't even reach the Mendoza Line against him, hitting just .194, while posting just a .295 on-base percentage against him. In a small sample size, right-handed hitting major leaguers did do better against him, hitting .258, while lefties in the majors managed no better than the minor league lefties, hitting the same .200 against him.
"I think some of the young relievers, like Aumont and Diekman were pretty impressive. They showed that they can pitch for us and I'm looking forward to seeing them again and seeing what they can do this spring," said manager Charlie Manuel.
Ceiling: While it's not out of the question that Diekman could go as far as being a closer, it's not likely that he's going to be quite that good. A set-up role is a possibility and he certainly is a good enough pitcher that he should be able to have a nice major league career as a reliever. ETA: Diekman was up with the Phillies in 2012 and he'll be in the mix for a bullpen job again in 2013. There is going to be a lot of competition for the pen, so there are no guarantees Diekman will go north with the club, but he's certainly in the mix.