Matt Diaz

I don’t know what to expect, and I don’t think anyone else does, either. Diaz, after two outstanding years of half-time play, was completely useless — worse than Francoeur — in 2008 before tearing up his knee on a fielding play. He made a couple of efforts to come back, but couldn’t.

In previous seasons, he had been somewhat better against lefties but didn’t have that dramatic of a platoon split. In 2008, he hit .319 .333 .420 against lefthanders and .167 .191 .182 against righthanders. It should be noted that even the rates against lefthanders are below average, and that he had essentially no secondary offense, making Francoeur look like Rob Deer. (His batting average was a few points above Francoeur’s, but Francoeur’s isolated power alone was higher than Diaz’s secondary average.) In previous seasons, Diaz had been batting-average-heavy, but had some power, a few walks, and would get hit by a pitch. Basically none of that was left in 2008, as his secondary average went from .202 and .215 in his first two years as a Brave to .111. You can’t survive as an outfielder with that little offense outside your batting average, and Diaz would have been hurting the team if he’d hit .300. It’s just that hitting .244, it was obvious.

So, what is Matt Diaz? A platoon player? A guy who got lucky, a guy who got unlucky, a guy who got both in succession? I don’t really know. I tend to think that he really is a .300 hitter and that he probably had an injury before the knee injury. I doubt he’s really good enough to slug .497, as he did in 2007, and thus he’s probably not good enough to play every day. I guess that makes him a platoon player.

Matt Diaz Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

109 thoughts on “Matt Diaz”

  1. I also tend to think that Diaz is a slow starter and heats up as the season goes on. I bet he would have hit around .300 had he not gotten hurt.

  2. Diaz had extreme problems in platoon split during his first “cups of coffee” with the Royals and maybe with the (then) DEVIL Rays. In minors, it was not a problem.

    I really think the new contact(s) and stuff the Braves got him made him (1) a MUCH better fielder (from below average everywhere to above average in left) and (2) a much better hitter against righties.

    However, if my conclusion about his hitting righthanders above is wrong, then he will probably never be of any use against righthanders.

    As to the power, Diaz has commented that guys he went to college with or played in college against that are now in MLB (I can’t remember who) have been surprised that he did not show more power since he has been with the Braves. I think if he could lay off a few pitches out of the zone (just the ones 4 inches or more out) and SLIGHTLY undercut the ball, doubles and homers would be fairly common. Particularly against lefties.

    So, IF Diaz knees let him cover ground like in 06 and 07 and IF the batting in those years was close to legit, he gives us a right handed pinch hitter and a right handed platoon partner in left. MAYBE if Ganderson were to go down, he can carry left against righties (but with the lack of power that way, I don’t think so).

  3. I like a player like Diaz. Can get a big hit and will play whenever or where he is told. No bitching. He knows his role, as the Rock would say.

  4. @dix… .350? that puts him around the top 400 seasons of BA by a player ever. BA of .350+ would put league leader in one or both leagues in 25 of the last 33 years (if I count correctly). What is he doing so poorly that he’d need THAT good an average to compensate?

  5. I’m not going to worry about the things that I know Diaz & Ganderson can’t do. So I’ll look for what they can do.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed for a better-than-NL-average platoon in LF. Combine for 20+ HRs. Don’t drop the fly balls they can get to. Win some games late. Stay relatively healthy.

    Yes, the last part worries me.

  6. so far today vs Phils

    Braves up 3-1 through 2

    Schafer singled
    Frenchy signled
    Diaz Doubled
    Jo Jo Doubled
    Sammons HR

  7. Jo Jo and Sammons continue making the Glavine and Ross signings look like a waste. I know, I know, it’s Spring Training, but still…

  8. I hope that Diaz is platooned with Ganderson. That is the best baseball move.

    I have a feeling that Ganderson was told he would be an every day player, though. The Braves may have used that to get him here. That’s certainly what the press around the signing has said. And supposedly, Ganderson has been making noise about going for 3000 hits. At his rate that would take a lot of years in a platoon. Promises of playing more or less every day may have really enticed him.

  9. @11

    You might have something…

    Clint Sammons just got his second 2 run jack today and Jo Jo just got his second hit

  10. You may be on to something Parish. That makes a lot of sense and would explain about how they talked him up when he was signed.

  11. You may be on to something Stu, looks like we have a third player who’s coming in under the radar.

  12. If he’s only giving up solo homers and not walking anybody, I’m a happy man.

    I prefer my pitchers to also record outs.

  13. If Anderson and Diaz platoon exclusively Anderson will play “more or less every day.” The leftie always gets more at bats than the rightie in straight platoons.

  14. Anybody know the percentage of lefty starters in MLB?

    I bet it’s higher than we think. (That’s the collective “we”, not the royal “we”, btw.)

  15. From SI’s Tom Verducci on WFAN a few minutes ago.

    Host: “Is there a team that will be very different this year from where they were last year—good or bad?”

    Verducci: “The Braves. I’m not sure I can say they’ll make the playoffs, but they can be good.

    “They seem to have improved their rotation dramatically and their whole key is going to be this kid, Tommy Hanson. As soon as they have a hiccup in their rotation, he’s going to be in the rotation.

    “You’re looking at a team that lost 90 last year and, best-case scenario this year, could win 90.”

  16. Some anagrams for “Mets Stadium” –

    Mutated Miss

    Distaste Mum

    Amidst Mutes

    Stat Dummies

    Must Aid Mets

    Aids Test Mum

    Must Emit Sad

    Sad Emu Mitts

    Tad Semi Smut

    Ma Edits Smut

  17. As far as potential “hiccups” go, I vote Tom Glavine will be it. Hanson is coming up in June, if not earlier.

  18. @27,
    According to B-R’s Play Index, there were 19,012 games started last year, 5,361 by left-handers. So lefties started approximately 28% of games last year.

    To look at it another way, 170 pitchers started at least ten games in 2008, 53 left-handed. That’s roughly 31%. Using 20 GS as the benchmark also yields 31% southpaws. 30 GS? 29%.

    And just for one last test, in the three-division era, a player started at least ten games in a season 2,453 times, 659 times it was a left-hander — or 27%.

    I wonder if the relative increase in left-handed starters last year indicates increased knowledge of platoon splits, or if it’s just coincidence. I’m guessing the latter.

  19. @27

    Couldn’t find that, but last year, lefties faced 46,803 batters and righties faced 119,911 batters.

    Or…about 2.5 : 1 righties to lefties last year.

    Therefore if it’s a straight platoon split, 60% ab’s for Ganderson and 40% for Diaz.

    Obviously, this isn’t completely accurate (a lot of other shit is in play) but a decent starting point

    EDIT: @31

    That’s interesting. Fairly large discrepancy between batters faced and starts made.

  20. LOOGY’s cause the replacements for pitchers to be lefthanded at a higher rate than the starters. Thus PA will not equal starts.

    Also, in NL East, the percentage of starters (as to Braves opponents) has been higher the last few years. I expect Mets to be 2 of 5 (Perez and Santana), Phillies 2 of 5 (Hamels and Moyer) and I think Marlins and Nats are the same.

    So, the need for a RIGHT HANDED outfield bat continues to loom large. (Partly because I believe stronger in the Easter Bunny than in the concept of “good Francoeur”).

  21. Wow! Ask and ye shall receive.

    Thanks, guys.

    Maybe I can return the favor sometime – if asked about putting graphics on a bus or building, or Kentucky Basketball, or C.S. Lewis, or thoroughbred racing, or Pamela Sue Brown …

  22. or Kentucky Basketball, or C.S. Lewis

    These two are certainly on opposite ends of Stu’s Love-Hate Spectrum.

  23. From ESPN’s Baseball America chat today:

    Scott (Tucson): Hey Ben. My question is: This time next year in 2010, who do you see as the #1 prospect?

    Ben Badler: Jason Heyward

    Word.

  24. Diaz is yet another symbol of this era of the Braves. Just good enough to be on THIS team, not good enough to make a difference on a WINNING team and organization.

  25. Stu,

    I think Billy Clide is gone at UK.

    28, if we are banking on a rookie pitcher to be the key to our rotation, we are screwed.

  26. Billy might have another year, his teams seem to fall apart though. I wouldnt be surprised if they cut ties with him

  27. I confess to being flummoxed at UK’s outrageous fortune. At one point, we were 5-0 in the SEC and looked like Team Harmony.

    Somehow, we fell utterly apart. Much gnashing of teeth and I’m quite surprised at how open our usually diplomatic AD is leaving the question.

    Any fan of C.S. Lewis needs to find a recording of John Cleese’ (yes, that John Cleese) Grammy-nominated reading of “The Screwtape Letters”. It is a treasure.

    Here’s a bet: who gets broomed first – Gillispie or Kiffin? (Actually, it will be Orgeron first, won’t it?)

  28. #37

    I’ve always been a bit of a Willingham fan, mostly because he destroys the Mets.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked in on a Marlins-Mets game & Willingham lit up some Met middle reliever. He’s was the Marlins’ mini-version of Pat Burrell.

  29. OK, I looked it up. Couldn’t help it. The topic of Met Killers will always intrigue me:

    Josh Willingham Lifetime vs. NYM in 191 PAs: 285/382/533 incl. 10 HRs

    Pat Burrell lifetime vs NYM in 630 PAs: 246/357/527 incl. 42 HRs (!), more than any other Met opponent in history.

    And what the hell, Chipper Jones lifetime vs NYM in 800 PAs: 329/422/568 incl. 39 HRs.

    Burrell has more homers, but Chipper’s still the King of the Met Killers.

  30. Bowman: “Francoeur’s new approach starts to produce

    Coming into today’s 2-2 day, Francoeur’s spring training OPS was .430.

    Bowman also wrote that big positive Francoeur article like a week ago after one good game.

    So I guess it takes just one good game now for someone to “break out” and “start to produce.”

  31. Stu,

    I think that Pearl and Donavan have an agreement in place where they tank games against UK to keep Billy around becasue they know the bottom feeders of the SEC will beat the Cats.

  32. hankonly,

    Do you know where I can find a copy of Cleese’s reading of The Screwtape Letters? That sounds very interesting.

  33. Watching the WBC; I don’t care waht anyone says, Gregor Blanco is a solid little ball player.

  34. francoeur is drawing more walks. that’s at least worth something…..right? RIGHT? he, along with greg norton, is leading the team in walks.

  35. Jorge Campillo is about to start for Mexico in their elimination game against Australia on The MLB Network.

    And, a Charlie Steiner sighting.. I’ll be damned. I thought he was dead. Seriously, I could swear I saw one of those remembrances pieces on SportsCenter with the tinny music, faded video clips and everything. Shocking.

    The WBC rocks.

  36. I wonder if SportSouth is going to play that horrible song again this year that they played endlessly last year. There is one thing I certainly did not miss.

    “Load up the bases….”

  37. And, a Charlie Steiner sighting.. I’ll be damned. I thought he was dead.

    Steiner is the Dodgers radio play by play guy. He does TV for the games Vin doesn’t travel. I like him, the ‘kill me now’ vibe he gives off every time Rick Monday speaks mirrors my own feelings.

  38. Rob,

    The Screwtape recording seems to be out of print, but you can find cassette versions on Amazon. I’ll look again to see if anyone has fashioned a cd of it.

    It’s simply amazing.

  39. Okay, I guess I can’t embed images after all. Anyway, I made a Jeffycat, though I normally can’t stand LOLcats.

    However, it was a pretty good night for the Braves in the Classic tonight. Brian McCann went 0-2 in the USA’s loss to Venezuela, but Gregor Blanco went 3-5 again, making him 6-10 in the WBC. And Jorge Campillo looks like he’ll pick up the win in Mexico’s blowout of Australia; he went 4 2/3 innings, giving up just one run (a solo shot) on 6 hits, striking out two and walking nobody.

  40. #66
    When Steiner worked radio for the Yankees with John Sterling, it was a similar situation.

    There were times when I’m sure he wanted to strangle his partner, who remains the most self-absorbed announcer this side of Howard Cosell.

    I still find it very amusing that Steiner was on the mic when Aaron Boone hit his pennant-winning HR. I’m sure it still kills Sterling when that Steiner/Boone call is played—and it’s played a lot around here.

  41. KC–I am guessing that whether the Braves win or lose you will have a lot to smile about this summer. We will see a lot of Frenchy and I know that many on this side will respond….

  42. Just flashed on Phoebe Buffay of “Friends” singing her favorite song:

    “Jeffycat, Jeffycat,
    What are they feeding you?
    You stink, but it’s not your fault…”

  43. Wasn’t planning to submit a Jeffycat, but a picture in today’s AJC proved irresistible.

    ” rel=”nofollow”>Jeffycat

  44. Does anyone else find the method of seeding in the WBC dissatisfying?

    The U.S. splits with Venezuela, winning a game by 9 and losing one by two and Venezuela wins the pool?

    I would much rather see pure double elimination a la the CWS or a pure round robin first round like the World Cup.

  45. Ganderson will start until he sucks so bad that even Bobby can’t stand it (assuming he can actually get on the field, of course.) Ganderson “plays the game right” and that counts much more for Bobby than actually having ability. Sigh!

  46. Will somebody wake me up when the WBC is over and real Baseball starts? I hope all the missing Braves return soon to start working on the season.

  47. I don’t see Ganderson totally stinking up the place. He’ll give the Braves about 15 home runs and his BA will be about .280 with an OBP that isn’t much higher. The point is that we could have done much better externally and our internal options most likely wouldn’t have been a whole lot worse. Ganderson is and average player at this point and he would be a great addition as a platoon partner for a team that has two solid outfielders. Unfortunately, since we have a total of 0 solid outfielders (Diaz could regain his form from 07 and be considered solid), he is not a great pickup.

  48. #29

    Here, here, Verducci.

    I agree…I realize winning in S.T. is completely meaningless, however, what you can take away is a) how good so many of our kids look, B) the general team confidence seems to look pretty good, and you have to look at the two biggest rivals:

    1. The Mets drastically improved their ‘pen, but if Santana goes down, their bullpen won’t matter.

    2. The Phillies will be solid but have some pitching issues, did not really improve themselves, and lost some offense as well.

    Not saying we will win the division, but I am not sold at all about the Mets or Phillies.

  49. I agree with TD about Ganderson, as I’ve stated before. His numbers last year were better than anything from our 2008 outfield. Especially Francouer.

    But I realize by trying to stick up for Garrett Anderson, I just open myself up to being attacked by most in here. Whatever.

  50. Time for my annual plug for my fantasy league. I know that many are already signed up, but I started a free league on ESPN.com. It is a head-to-head points league, draft will be an auction draft, and I tweaked some of the categories to make stat-heads happy. Ok, so it probably won’t make them (who would “them” be anyway, to all be grouped together), but it made me happy in comparison to the default values. I mean, do we really need to have a -1 penalty for every strikeout? Especially when there is no penalty (by default, not my version) for GIDP? Crazy I tell ya. Anyway, I’m sure there is a way to do it, but I don’t know how to just post a link to sign up since it is a private league (it’s not like Yahoo where you can just put in a number & PW). If I get an email address, I can send an invite through the league to the address. So drop me a line at mrfyde – at – yahoo . com. Thanks!

  51. With the change in leadership following Bowden’s exit, Josh Willingham may be available from the Nats.

    I’d love to see The Hammer on the Braves and Shamderson on the bench/cut.

    (I guess Nick Johnson may be available as well if you’re inclined to go that route.)

  52. Shamderson is Garret Anderson because it was a sham to sign him in my opinion. Not that we’d cut him now. But we could use him less/rest him more.

    But Ganderson works for me most times when I’m not out and out trying to make the point that he’s done. I just think the signing was a cynical joke.

  53. Rumor has it Bryce Brown is visiting Knoxville this weekend and will sign with the Vols on Monday.

  54. Well, that’s just confusing, Cary.

    Garret Anderson is “Tanderson.”

    Josh Anderson is “Shanderson.”

  55. Smitty, yeah and he wont be eligible to play next year because his coach is a jackass and mentions him by name on the radio

  56. why not Ganderson and Janderson, thats just as easy or we could say Josh and Garrett, maybe thats too easy

  57. Not as confusing as the Vols wanting Bryce Brown, but I’ll grant that it went against established board phraseology.

    I thought the Vols finally got David Oku. They’d be taking both then, Smitty? Could work out, but yikes.

  58. Ganderson is too easy to confuse with Granderson, who is actually good.

    Tanderson and Shanderson are unconfusing and easy to remember. Come on, we went over this weeks ago!

  59. What are you talking about, AAR? It’s Njones and Rjones.

    And, Mac, it’s hardly easier to remember. I’m still with you, jjschiller.

  60. Nothing wrong with having lots of great running backs.

    csg,
    Brown can still play next year, no matter what Kiffin said on the radio.

  61. Haha I appreciate the support Stu.

    And AAR, I think it’s obvious that even IF Shanderson and Tanderson works, it’s only because the last names begin with a vowel. Perjones and Donjones are exaggerations that in themselves are a bit too ridiculous to even bring ridicule to the subject you wish to ridicule. Shwillingham? Your barb brings me no sting, friend. I feel you’ve missed the mark.

    Mind you, Ganderson and Janderson works just fine for me. I just do most of my Braves-talk verbally rather than on this board, and Shanderson and Tanderson are kind of fun to say out loud.

  62. Njones and Rjones are pretty fun if you pronounce them like they rhyme with cojones.

    Actually, if Brandon makes the team, we could call them The Co-Jones. Did somebody already think of and use that when Andruw was around?

  63. I actually like Shanderson and Tanderson, Mr. Schiller. I was one of the first people to argue against Ganderson because it sounds like Granderson. But you can’t possibly tell me that “Shwillingham” isn’t great. It is great, and it’s my idea.

    Stu, I really like the idea of pronouncing Njones and Rjones as “Nohones” and “Rohones.” I’m happy to get behind that.

  64. I have to say the pitching staff has been impressive so far this spring. There could be a potential for some deals if pitchers like Medlen can force their way onto the roster.

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