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3/3/1978 (39 y, 27 d)
1999 June Amateur Draft - Round: 17, Pick: 1, Overall: 505, Team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
$1.2M / 1 Years (2013)
Diaz announced his retirement from baseball on Tuesday. (2/5/2014)
Replacing Curtis Granderson
Mike Axisa (RotoGraphs)
The Implications Of The New Schedule For The NL DH
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
Roto Riteup: March 30th, 2012
David Wiers (RotoGraphs)
If Diaz, Why Not Scott Hairston?
Joe Pawlikowski (FanGraphs)
Interview: John Coppolella of the Braves
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Matt Diaz is an outlier. Not many players own a career .366 BABIP. That number has mostly been driven by a 22.5% line drive rate that has actually been closer to 25% over the past two years. At 31, and owning an extreme platoon split (.722 OPS vs righties, .922 vs lefties), there's probably not much upside. Instead, let's just kick back and enjoy the oddities in his game. For example, he boasts some power despite hitting only 29.1% of his balls in the air over his career. As well, he has an OPS of .810 over his career while sporting a walk rate of 5% and a strikeout rate approaching 25% in recent years. As his career goes on, he is swinging less and making contact less, but one thing is still true: when he makes contact, it's likely to be a line drive.
The Year Ahead:
With that platoon split, Diaz is not likely to take over an everyday job any time soon. He did walk more than ever last year (8.6%), and he did hit line drives in bunches like he always has (24.7%), but Diaz also put up a .749 OPS against righties last year despite his career-high in plate appearances. The most likely scenario is that the team finds a way to platoon Diaz with Ryan Church (.813 OPS vs righties, .700 vs lefties), thereby reducing both players' values considerably. Considering that Diaz does best against the rarer-handed pitchers, he's most likely a miss on draft day unless you are in a deep head-to-head league with daily lineups and could use a lefty-killer on your bench. (Eno Sarris)
It's tempting to say that Matt Diaz will finally compete for everyday at-bats now that he's joined the lowly Pirates, but Jose Tabata, John Bowker, Garrett Jones and even the forgotten Steven Pearce will compete for time at the corner outfield positions, so it's not like he's all alone at any one position. The role he's filled in the past -- that of the lefty-killing platoon mate -- may still be available for him, though. Of course, you can't just pencil him in for that .389 wOBA against lefties going forward, either. For one, it only comes in 798 plate appearances and isn't statistically significant. And then there's the fact that even once you regress that wOBA based on what we know about splits, he has a .363 BABIP against lefties that might add a little swing to that pendulum. His .905 OPS and .198 ISO against lefties may still play in the deepest of fantasy leagues, but he's a one-trick pony at best, and muted upside like that is best left for the waiver wire or the very end of the bench. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
Matt Diaz, pronounced "die-as," moves to a worse team but a more crowded situation. He'll be good enough to play against lefties, but will he really garner any more at-bats given his age (33) and the state of his new team?
The definition of a platoon bat, Diaz parlayed a a big batting-average-on-balls-in-play-fueled 2009 and a decent 2010 season with the Braves into a two-year deal with the Pirates last offseason, only to get traded back to Atlanta at the deadline. The 34-year-old is a borderline star against left-handers (.329/.368/.506 career, a .375 wOBA) but a total dud against righties (.264/.319/.369 career, a .304 wOBA), which limits his fantasy value given the sporadic starts. One on hand though, there are a ton of lefties in the National League East, so Diaz figures to see more starts than the usual 25-75 split associated with right-handed platoon bats. Injuries could result in more playing time, but otherwise Diaz is a spare fantasy part unless he reverts to his 2009 form, which is unlikely since it's an extreme outlier in his otherwise unspectacular career. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
Injuries could get Diaz more playing time that the typical right-handed platoon bat, but he doesn't have much value unless he reverts back to 2009 form.
Matt Diaz has been replaced by Reed Johnson in Atlanta, and with steadily declining numbers the former lefty-masher will just be happy landing a job. At this point, the Yankees signed him to a minor league deal but it is doubtful that he receives regular play even against lefties unless numerous injuries occur to a team's outfield. (Ben Duronio)
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Updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017 3:38 AM ET
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