Name: Thomas Diamond
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: April 6, 1983
The Rangers selected Thomas Diamond with the tenth overall pick in the first round of the 2004 Major League draft. Coming off of an outstanding junior season at the University of New Orleans, Diamond was known as a true power pitcher who garnered comparisons to Roger Clemens due to his fastball and bulldog-like attitude on the hill.
Diamond dominated right off the bat in the Rangers organization, as he posted a 2.15 ERA while yielding just 31 base hits in 46 innings between Short-Season Spokane and Single-A Clinton.
The right-hander began the 2005 campaign with High-A Bakersfield, where he posted one of the more dominant halves for a Ranger Minor Leaguer in recent memory. In 14 starts, the native of New Orleans went 8-0 with a 1.99 earned run average. Diamond surrendered only 53 hits in 81.1 innings, walking 31 and striking out 101.
The dazzling performance with Bakersfield earned Diamond a promotion to Double-A Frisco, where he pitched the second half of the 2005 season. Diamond finished with a 5.35 ERA while struggling to control his pitches. In 69 innings, he walked 38 batters while uncorking 10 wild pitches.
Though Diamond's 2006 numbers with Double-A Frisco were markedly better, his command and control problems remained an issue. Diamond was often unable to go deep into games because of high pitch counts. He issued 78 free passes in 129.1 frames, an average of 5.43 per nine innings.
Repertoire: Fastball, Changeup, Slider.
Diamond possesses a true power fastball that runs into the mid-90's, though it typically sits at 92-93 MPH. A very good changeup gives the righty a solid secondary pitch. Diamond used an inconsistent curveball in college, but he has started to work with a slider. The slider is still a developing pitch, and Diamond must have it to blossom into a successful starting pitcher.
Projection: The 23-year-old appears to be ticketed for the middle of a Major League rotation if his slider pans out. If he is unable to add a serviceable third pitch to his arsenal, the Rangers could use Diamond as a potential setup man or closer. The righty has both the stuff and attitude for the job. However, the Rangers will give Diamond plenty of opportunities to prove himself as a starting pitcher before turning their focus to the bullpen.
2007 Outlook: Diamond will begin the season in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma, where the Rangers hope he will regain control of his stuff. Holding opposing hitters to a .219 average last year, Diamond was still incredibly tough to hit. He also struck out 145 batters in 129.1 innings at Double-A Frisco. If Diamond shows that he can cut down on his walks, he will more than likely see time with the Rangers in some aspect later in the season.