- Full name Thomas Nicklaus Diamond
- Born 04/06/1983 in Metairie, LA
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School New Orleans
- Debut 08/03/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (10th overall) by the Texas Rangers in 2004 (signed for $2,025,000).
View Draft ReportDiamond was Louisiana's top high school pitching prospect three years ago, but he lasted until the Devil Rays took him in the 38th round because no team was willing to buy him away from New Orleans. Clubs began to regret that early last year, when he popped a 96 mph fastball early in his sophomore season. Diamond has continued to unleash explosive heat ever since. He dominated the Northwoods League last summer, tied a school and Sun Belt Conference record with 17 strikeouts against Arkansas State in March and ranked fifth in Division I with 125 strikeouts in 98 innings. With a strong 6-foot-2, 231-pound frame and solid mechanics, Diamond holds his mid-90s velocity deep into games. His secondary pitches have room for improvement. His slider is better than his curveball, but if he could refine the curve he could wreak havoc by changing hitters' eye level. His changeup shows promise, though he rarely uses it. Diamond could go as high as sixth overall to the Indians and won't last past the middle of the first round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Diamond ranked as the Rangers' top prospect after his impressive pro debut in 2004, when they made him the 10th overall pick in the draft and signed him for $2,025,000. His climb through the system was slowed by Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2007, causing him to miss the whole season. The primary goal for him in 2008 was to get through the entire year healthy. Texas kept him in extended spring training to start the year, hoping to keep him around 100 innings for the season. While Diamond did not suffer any setbacks with his elbow, he battled fatigue and developed a bone spur in his ankle that ended his season in early August. He had minor surgery to clean up the bone spur and is expected to be 100 percent by spring training. Diamond's fastball velocity was back to 91-95 mph, and he had no problem throwing his quality changeup to lefties or righties. He still runs high pitch counts thanks to his lack of a true putaway breaking ball. He's still trying to add velocity to his curveball to make it less loopy. At full strength, Diamond is a power pitcher with a physical build and a mean streak, but he has yet to prove he has the stuff and command to be a starter against more advanced hitters.
Diamond has been one of the Rangers' top prospects ever since they drafted him 10th overall in 2004, and he earned postseason all-star honors in 2005 in the California League and 2006 in the Texas League. But Diamond began feeling elbow discomfort off and on in the Rangers' mini-camp last January, and it flared up after a spring training appearance against the Mariners in early March. He had Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2007, but his recovery was on schedule, and he began throwing off a mound in November. The Rangers expect him to throw simulated games in spring training, but he likely won't return to game action until June 1. When healthy, Diamond attacked hitters with a 91-94 mph fastball that reached 95-96. His plus changeup has always been his No. 2 pitch, and his long arm action caused him to abandon his overhand curveball in favor of a promising 82-83 mph slider in 2006. He needs to get better at putting hitters away. Diamond closed in college and could eventually wind up as a power bullpen arm, but the Rangers protected him on their 40-man roster and will give him every chance to start. Expect him to get a shot at Triple-A by season's end barring any setbacks.
In his second tour of duty at Double-A, Diamond struggled with his control at times, causing his walk totals and pitch counts to climb. As a result, he failed to last six innings in any of his final nine starts and pitched past six innings just once. But he still led the Texas League in strikeouts and lowered his Double-A ERA by 1.11 from 2005. A big, barrel- chested pitcher, Diamond can pitch up in the zone with a high-riding 91-94 mph fastball that touches 95-96 when he needs it. His plus changeup gives him an effective weapon against lefthanders, and he has found success with his 82-83 mph slider now that he has mostly abandoned his overhand curveball. Diamond began throwing his slider with more conviction late in the season, but he still needs to develop it into a consistent out pitch. He also needs to throw more strikes so he can avoid the long at-bats that plagued him in 2006. Diamond still could become a mid-rotation workhorse if his slider emerges. Otherwise he could be ticketed for a late-inning role down the road. He'll open 2007 in Triple-A barring unforeseen developments in spring training.
Signed for $2.025 million as the 10th overall pick in 2004, Diamond dominated at high Class A Bakersfield last year before struggling with his command in Double-A. Diamond was hit hard in his final start of the year after going home to New Orleans to help his family after Hurricane Katrina. Diamond is tough both physically and mentally, with a mean streak that suits his big, physical frame. He is a classic innings-eating power pitcher with a 92-94 mph fastball that can touch 97. He also has an above-average changeup. The biggest question for Diamond is whether he can get comfortable with a third pitch. He flashes a decent curveball now and then, but the Rangers introduced a slider to him halfway through 2005. Scouts think his arm slot is more suited to a slider. Diamond's arm action is smooth but long and not deceptive, and he struggles to repeat his delivery. His fastball is too straight and often dropped to 89-91 mph last year. His command needs to get better. Diamond projects as a solid workhorse if he can improve his command. He could start 2006 in Double-A but figures to see Triple-A at some point.
Diamond entered 2004 with the goal of being drafted in the first 10 picks. He just squeezed his way in, completing his rise from a little-known 38th-round pick out of high school whose only significant scholarship offer came from New Orleans. With the Privateers, Diamond developed first into a dominant reliever and then into one of college baseball's top starters. Diamond honed his stuff in two summers in the Northwoods League, surpassing Jeff Weaver as the highest-drafted alumnus of that summer league. Diamond was the Northwoods League's No. 1 prospect in 2003, striking out 103 in 72 innings while hitting 97 mph and throwing a no-hitter. He exhibited similar dominance in 2004 for New Orleans and then after signing with the Rangers. Going into the draft, the Rangers' top scouts, Grady Fuson and Ron Hopkins, considered Diamond on the same level as the more-heralded Rice trio of Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend, all taken in the first eight picks. And while Diamond got his pro career off to a fine start after agreeing to a $2.025 million bonus, the Rice pitchers either didn't sign at all (Townsend) or signed during the offseason and won't start their careers until the 2005 season. Diamond can command a fastball with above-average velocity and also shows feel for a changeup, a rare combination for a young pitcher. His fastball sat at 90-94 mph after he signed, and the Rangers like the ease with which he throws and his aggressive use of the pitch. Diamond has smoothed out his mechanics since high school, when he topped out at 92, and now has good deception on both his fastball and changeup. He readily repeats his delivery and has a smooth arm action. His changeup is an above-average pitch, with occasional plus life down in the zone. His strong, physical frame should enable him to be an innings-eating workhorse in the rotation. His ceiling is as a No. 2 or 3 starter. Diamond's breaking ball is clearly his third pitch. It's not that he doesn't know how to spin the ball, but he hasn't thrown his curveball or slider consistently enough to trust either one. The Rangers are split on which breaking pitch he should use. Some like his curveball better and want him to focus on throwing it harder. He usually throws it out of the zone, hoping hitters will chase. His arm slot has other scouts preferring his slider, which at times has good bite. He threw more curves after signing and apparently prefers that pitch. He needs experience, but Diamond has the stuff to move quickly. He ate up lower levels because of his fastball command and changeup, and the Rangers are eager to see how that combination plays at higher levels. His mission in spring training will be to pick a breaking ball and stick with it for a year. How well that pitch works will determine whether he spends all year at Texas' new high Class A Bakersfield affiliate or moves up to Double-A Frisco.
Minor League Top Prospects
Diamond put up the best numbers of any pitcher in the league before advancing to Double-A. He allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 of 14 starts and pitched one of the best games in the minors this year in his final outing, striking out 14 batters in a complete-game one-hitter at High Desert while facing the minimum of 27 batters. Diamond has a classic power pitchers' frame, mechanics and attitude, as well as the stuff to back it up. His fastball sits at 92-95 mph, and he can dial it up when necessary. Though his fastball lacks movement, he locates it well in all four quadrants of the zone. At times Diamond flashed a plus changeup, and his future success will hinge on the development of his breaking ball. He has experimented with both a curveball and slider. The curve has more promise and when it was on, it was a plus pitch and Diamond was a devastating force.
None of Frisco's three premium mound prospects--Diamond, Edison Volquez and John Danks--put up good numbers while pitching for the league's worst team, but each had fans among scouts and managers. Diamond's stuff earned the most praise, though he struggled with his command. He had to leave the team at the end of the season to check on his family in New Orleans, but he came back to make his final start. Big and athletic, Diamond has a 92-95 mph fastball and a good changeup. He uses both a slider and big curveball, with the curve showing more potential when it's on. Diamond's struggles against Double-A hitters resulted from command problems that came when he lost his mechanics. He would have strong stretches, but when hitters waited him out and got ahead in the count, he gave up walks and runs.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the California League in 2005
- Rated Best Fastball in the Texas Rangers in 2005