FRISCO — Thomas Diamond strode to the mound promptly at 11 o’clock this morning to make his seventh start of the year as he attempts to get back on track after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2007, and less than two hours later, he walked off with his best start of the year under his belt, having held Corpus Christi to two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings.
As Oscar Wilde put it, good writers borrow, great ones steal. Accordingly, I’m going to shoot for greatness and simply give you a pitch-by-pitch format created by my friend and Baseball Prospectus minor league guru Kevin Goldstein. (Check out Kevin’s rundown of a Neftali Feliz start earlier this year by clicking on this link).
Here’s Kevin’s explaination on the codes you’ll see in the pitch-by-pitch recap:
First, a quick primer on how I track pitches. This is not how teams do it or anything official, this is just how I keep track when I have access to gun readings. Basically, each notation has three pieces on information: TYPE–VELO–RESULT. Under Type,FB is fastball, CB is curveball, is slider; CH is changeup; Velo is simple enough. Under Result, ‘b’ stands for ball, ‘s’ for swinging strike, ‘c’ is a called strike, ‘f’ a foul ball, and ‘x’ is a ball in play. So, an 81 mph slider taken for a strike is SL81c.
Drew Sutton: FB 90 b; FB 89 c; FB 86 ; FB 90 s (K # 1)
Richard Paz: FB 89 c; FB 90 f; CB 73 b (up); CB 74 b (dirt); FB 91 f; FB 91 b; FB 91 x (foul out to RF)
Chris Johnson: FB 90 b; FB 87 b; FB 89 c; FB 91 x (g/o to SS)
NOTES: Diamond worked very confidently and quickly. When he missed, he generally missed low and away. He’s definitely working lower in the zone than he did before the surgery. The first curve started out above the right-handed hitter’s head and arguably should have been a strike. The second was a yakker that dove into the dirt. The fastball velocity was similar to what it normally was in the first inning back before the surgery and it seems to have a little more life than it did back then — I’m seeing some armside run. Not a lot, but some. In the old days, he’d normally add an MPH per inning and would be sitting 95-96 by the 6th.
Rob Cosby: FB 88 b; FB 89 x (flyout to RF);
Ole Sheldon: FB 88 c; FB 89 b (low); CH 80 x (flyout to short center)
Val Majewski: FB 91 b (low); FB 91 c; FB 90 s; CB 73 f; FB 90 f; FB 89 b; FB 90 f; CH 79 b (high); CH 79 f; FB 90 x (flyout to LF)
NOTES: None of the fly outs were hit hard. The curve to Majewski was a quality pitch and once again, he’s tending to miss low when he misses. The Majewski at-bat was disturbingly reminiscient of pre-TJ TD: he sometimes has trouble finishing guys off like you think he will. He’s losing a tick on the FB instead of gaining, but he’s locating better than he ever did before the surgery. He’ll work the fastball high and tight and then low and away with purpose. He’s pitching.
Lou Santangelo: FB 87 b; FB 88 c; FB 87 c; CB 71 b; FB 90 s (K #2)
Wladamir Sutil: FB 88 s; CH 80 f; FB 89 x (g/o to SS)
Orlando Rosales: FB 89 b; FB 89 b (way outside — threw across his body); FB 88 c; FB 89 b (low); FB 89 b (BB #1)
** First time from the stretch **
Drew Sutton: FB 88 b; FB 86 c; CH 79 b; FB 86 x (popout to 2b)
NOTES: Diamond spotted three of the four a first pitch ball. The Rosales at-bat was very disappointing in that Rosales came to the plate hitting .189 and Diamond couldn’t drive a nail through him to complete a third perfect frame. The last time I saw Diamond, I noticed that when he started to get a little tired, he threw across his body and so I made a note of that here to see if it would continue to pop up from time to time from here on out. As he did last time I saw him, Diamond immediately lost velocity when going to the stretch. The bender he threw to Santangelo should have been a called strike. Second time so far that the ump probably missed the call on a Diamond bender. The ump seemed to struggle reading the ball as it dropped into the zone. The near 12-6 break is really impressive and still hard for me to believe given how poor his breaking stuff was before the surgery.
Richard Paz: FB 88 c; FB 89 b (high); CB 73 b (dirt); FB 90 s (high — K #3)
Chris Johnson: FB 88 f; CH 80 x (g/o to SS)
Rob Cosby: FB 89 b; FB 88 b (low); FB 88 x (flyout to LF)
NOTES: Went right at the heart of the order. H’s starting to miss high a little more and the Paz whiff would have been a ball high. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun out there. Velocity is holding, but not gaining like it used to before the surgery.
Ole Sheldon: FB 87 b (high); CH 79 x (flyout to LF)
Val Majewski: FB 87 x (double to RF gap; runner out at 3b)
Lou Santangelo: FB 86 b (across body); FB 88 x (popoout to SS)
NOTES: Murphy had trouble digging the ball out from under the wall in RF, then hit Corey Ragsdale with the relay and Rags fired a laser to Foxy a little below 3b, who applied the tag as Majewski tried to slide under him. First solid contact made against TD all day. The next pitch after the double was arguably TD’s worst of the day. He just totally lost his action, threw across his body and had nothing on it. Luckily, it was a bad ball that Santangelo didn’t even consider swinging at.
Wladamir Sutil: FB 84 b; FB 85 b; B 87 s; FB 87 b; FB 87 f; FB 89 x (single to CF)
Orlando Rosales: FB 86 b; FB 87 b; FB 87 f; FB 86 f; FB 88 x (single back up middle)
Drew Sutton: FB 88 s; CH 80 b; FB 87 c; FB 88 x (flyout to CF)
Richard Paz: CH 79 x (single to CF)
Chris Johnson: FB 87 c; CB 73 b (wild pitch; runner scores); FB 89 b (high); FB 88 f; CB 71 b (left it up); FB 89 f; FB 89 b (high) (BB)
Rob Cosby: FB 88 s; FB 89 x (flyout to CF)
NOTES: The Frisco fifth lasted a long time and so I think that played a little part in Diamond’s roughest inning of the day. He’s elevating the ball now when he needs to muscle it up to the high-80’s: the singles to Sutil and Rosales were both chest high, fat part of the plate. All of the balls put into play were up.
And that was it. A strong showing to be sure. I think the mental part ot TD’s game is very strong right now. I think he’s pitching with a better idea than ever before and generally locating the ball much better than ever. I like it that, even though he doesn’t have his old velocity, he seems more courageous than he did before the surgery. Once again, all I can think of is that when his velocity comes back, he’s going to be a bad bad man.
A couple of other observations: Elvis Andrus (.277 / .335 / .335), who went 3-5 with a walk, really appears to be growing up. I’d noticed this before, but he’s very good in hit-and-run situations, which should come as no surprise given his ridiculous hand-eye coordination.
Every ballclub should be so lucky as to have an Adam Fox on it. There’s no way to quantify his leadership and or his baseball I.Q. He’s not a heralded prospect, but if you want to watch this great game played the right way, get yourself out to Frisco and pay attention to the nuances of Foxy’s game.