- Full name Matthew Edward Diaz
- Born 03/03/1978 in Portland, OR
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Florida State
- Debut 07/19/2003
Drafted in the 17th round (505th overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 1999.
View Draft ReportWhile OF Matt Diaz has hit more than 20 home runs in each of his first two seasons at Florida State, scouts still question whether his power is legitimate. A quality college hitter, Diaz hits a lot of balls to the opposite field, which plays well at FSU's cozy Dick Howser Stadium. His outfield skills are just average. The draft-eligible sophomore will likely return to school for another year.
Organization Prospect Rankings
A late-blooming prospect, Diaz has mashed his way into prospect status the last two seasons. After ranking second in the minors with a .354 average in 2003, he did nothing but rake again last season. He finished second in the minors with 47 doubles, and second in the International League in batting, hits, extra-base hits and slugging percentage. He also put together a 22-game hitting streak and drilled his first big league homer in September. However, Diaz faces a significant challenge because of Tampa Bay's crowded outfield picture. He's an adequate runner and right fielder with a solid arm, and his hustle and instincts help him on the bases and in the field. The Devil Rays toyed with the idea of making him a catcher but ultimately decided the conversion wouldn't work. Rocco Baldelli's knee injury has created an opening on the big league roster. While Diaz likely won't be an Opening Day starter, his chances of making the big league club have increased.
Diaz raked his way into prospect status in 2003 by hitting .354 (second in the minors) and leading Devil Rays farmhands with 86 RBIs. A Southern League all-star in his second stint in Double-A, he earned a brief callup in July. Diaz has a quick bat and is capable of hitting for average with 20 homers per season. He consistently makes hard contact, though because he rarely swings and misses, he also rarely walks. The problem for Diaz is that he doesn't have a defensive position. Tampa Bay's greatest strength by far is outfielders, and while he has an average arm he's a shaky defender. With his arm and frame, his best position might be catcher but he's just not consistent enough to move behind the plate. He worked on his defense in Puerto Rico this winter, and if he improves enough he could win a backup job with the Devil Rays this year. If not, he'll be a solid middle-of-the-order hitter in Triple-A.