Thomas Diamond, Gem or Not?
The Rangers were high on Diamond, and according to MLB.com, he was described as a right-handed pitcher with a big-time arm and dominant stuff. They went so far as to say he had the stuff to become a No.1 or No.2 starter at the Major League level.
Initially, Diamond looked like he was a sure thing. In 2005, he was named the Texas Rangers Minor League pitcher of the year, winning the "Nolan Ryan Award."
In spring training 2007, Diamond's fast track to the big leagues came to a quick stop. He experienced elbow soreness and discovered that he had torn an elbow ligament.
The torn ligament required Tommy John surgery. After surgery, Diamond struggled to regain his dominant stuff until the Reds' new Minor League pitching coordinator Mark Riggins (then with the Chicago Cubs) began working with him.
In my article "Is Thomas Diamond turning into a Gem for the Chicago Cubs," I spoke with Riggins about Diamonds' progress. At that time (January 2010) he felt Diamond needed to have other pitches working in the strike zone to keep hitters guessing.
Apparently, Riggins' work paid off. Diamond was called up to the Cubs in 2010 and pitched very well out of the pen. In 12 of his 13 relief appearances, he posted a 1-0 record with a 3.00 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. In addition, he fanned 21 and walked only five in those 12 games.
At the age of 28, Diamond is not young, but with his very good mound presence and aggressive approach, he is worth taking a chance on. I believe with Riggins now in the organization, Diamond would have a good chance of becoming a presence in the pen.