Edwin Díaz (pitcher)

Edwin Díaz
Díaz in 2018
Seattle Mariners – No. 39
Relief pitcher
Born: (1994-03-22) March 22, 1994
Naguabo, Puerto Rico
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 6, 2016, for the Seattle Mariners
MLB statistics
(through August 20, 2018)
Win–loss record 4–13
Earned run average 2.67
Strikeouts 289
Saves 103
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Edwin Orlando Díaz Laboy (born March 22, 1994), nicknamed "Sugar", is a Puerto Rican professional baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB).[1][2] He made his major league debut in June 2016. Within two months Díaz had broken the Mariners' record for consecutive strikeouts and was named the team's closer. On August 10, 2018 Díaz earned his 44th save, thus breaking Roberto Hernández' record for most saves in a season by a Puerto Rican MLB player.[3] On August 24, 2018 Díaz notched his 49th save, breaking Fernando Rodney Mariners' single-season saves record.[2] On August 25, 2018 Díaz became the youngest pitcher to collect 50 saves in a season with a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.[4]

Early life

Díaz grew up in the Daguao neighborhood in Naguabo, Puerto Rico. He started playing baseball around age 7, playing mostly as a center fielder.[5] While growing up in Puerto Rico, Díaz played as an outfielder during his youth along players like Carlos Correa and José Berríos.[6] His first attempt at pitching took place around age 15 at the insistence of his eponymous father, in a role that he first took with reluctance.[6]

Professional career

Minor Leagues (2012–2016)

Díaz was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the third round(98th overall) of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft out of Caguas Military Academy in Caguas, Puerto Rico.[7][8] He made his professional debut that season for the Arizona League Mariners. In nine games (one start) he went 2–1 with a 5.21 earned run average (ERA) with 20 strikeouts in 19 innings. In 2013, he pitched for the Pulaski Mariners.[9] In 13 starts, he went 5–2 with a 1.43 ERA and 79 strikeouts over 69 innings. Prior to the 2014 season, Díaz was named the Mariners fifth best prospect by Baseball America.[10] He spent the season with the Clinton LumberKings and was co-selected the organization's minor league Starting Pitcher of the Year along Jordan Pries.[11] In 2015, he played for the Bakersfield Blaze and Jackson Generals. That year, he won the recognition of minor league Starting Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season.[12] Díaz started 2016 with Jackson as a starting pitcher and was moved to the bullpen after six starts.[13]

Seattle Mariners

2016

Díaz was called up to the major leagues for the first time on June 4, 2016.[14] Between June 28 and July 3, he recorded ten consecutive outs via strikeout, tying a franchise record set in 1997.[15] On July 6, 2016, Díaz broke the record with his 11th consecutive out via strikeout. Between July 19 and July 22, 2016, he recorded 8 consecutive strikeouts, tying him for second place with four different American League pitchers (Doug Fister set the AL record, with 9, on September 27, 2012).

On August 1, 2016, Díaz replaced Steve Cishek as the Mariners' closer.[16] He recorded the first save of his career the following day, in a 5–4 win over the Boston Red Sox, in which he struck out the side.[17] By reaching his 50th strikeout in only 25 and a third innings, Díaz became the first pitcher to do so in at least 123 years.[18]

2018: All-Star season

Owning a 2.25 ERA, 36 saves, and 76 strikeouts in 48 innings, Díaz was named to the 2018 All-Star Game, his first All-Star appearance.[19] Díaz became the holder of the Seattle Mariners Club Record for saves before the All-Star Break, finishing with 36 saves before the break. The previous club record was 29 saves by Kazuhiro Sasaki in the 2001 season.[20] In the All-Star Game, Díaz was the winning pitcher even though he also had a blown save in the process as the NL team tied the game in the 9th inning. He ended up with two strikeouts and two earned runs including a home run in one inning pitched.[21] Díaz was named the American League reliever of the month in April, June, and July. On August 10, Díaz had his save number 44, thus breaking the record for most saves by a Puerto Rican MLB player which was previously 43 saves in 1999 by Roberto Hernández.[3]

With a win on August 12th against the Houston Astros, the Mariners were 26-0 when Díaz is handed a one-run lead. In those games Díaz has 24 saves, a 0.68 ERA, 26.1 IP, 13 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, and 49 strikeouts.[22] Also, with the save on August 12th (his 46th of the season), Díaz became the first pitcher to record four saves in a single series since 2004 as Seattle completed a four-game sweep of the Astros.[23]

“I got a welcomed call from our closer. He said, 'If we got the lead, I'm in the game.' Sometimes you've got to do that. That's kind of how Eddie's wired and how this team is wired.”

Díaz 24 saves when entering a game with a one-run lead, broke the record for most in a season, which previously was 23 by Francisco Rodríguez for the Angels of Anaheim in 2008. His save number 46 of the season is part of 27 straight saves and has a 0.39 ERA in games that he has saved in the 2018 season.[24][25] On August 24, Díaz notched his 49th save of the season, setting a Mariners single-season record by closing out a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The previous Mariners franchise single-season saves record was 48 saves by Fernando Rodney in the 2014 season.[2] On August 25, 2018 Díaz became the youngest pitcher to collect 50 saves in a season with a 4–3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 50 wins meant that Seattle manager Scott Servais had to follow through on a bet and get a haircut like that of Díaz. Díaz, who usually keeps the ball after each of his saves, gave Saturday's to Servais in honor of the bet.[4]

International career

World Baseball Classic

Díaz played as a relief pitcher, more specifically as a closer for the Puerto Rican national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic where he won a silver medal. He had 2 saves at the tournament: one against Dominican Republic and another against United States, both in the second round.[26] On the semifinal game against the Kingdom of the Netherlands, he won the game as Puerto Rico scored in the bottom of the 11th inning for a 4–3 win.[27]

Pitching style

Díaz throws three pitches. His most common pitch is a hard four-seam fastball that has averaged 97.7 mph in his first three seasons in MLB. His other pitches are a slider at an average 88.2 mph and a changeup at an average of 92 mph.[28]

Díaz has been a strikeout pitcher in his MLB career, compiling an average of 14.21 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched through the 2018 season.[29]

Personal life

In the offseason, Díaz spends time in his native Daguao in the Naguabo Municipality in Puerto Rico, where most of his family lives.[5]

Philanthropy

Díaz has organized baseball clinics for the children in his hometown as part of his Edwin Díaz Baseball Academy. Seattle Mariners teammate Robinson Canó, as well as Machete Maldonado, catcher from the Los Angeles Angels have attended these clinics in the past.[30]

See also

References

  1. Eric Mandel (2017-08-05). "Does Mariners closer Edwin Diaz need a new entrance song?". ESPN Seattle. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  2. 1 2 3 "Diaz sets Mariners saves record with No. 49 the next night he got his 50th save of the season". MLB.com. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  3. 1 2 ""Sugar" Díaz rompe marca boricua en las Mayores". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "Edwin Diaz's 50th save leads to close shave for Mariners manager". ESPN Seattle. August 26, 2018. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  5. 1 2 "Agradecido del barrio Edwin "Sugar" Díaz". Primera Hora (in Spanish). February 9, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  6. 1 2 Mark Simon (2016-08-06). "New Mariners closer Edwin Diaz is bringing the heat". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  7. "2012 3rd-Round Pick: RHP Edwin Diaz". U.S.S. Mariner. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  8. "Mariners select RHP Edwin Diaz out of Puerto Rico with 98th overall pick". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  9. No stretch for Diaz: He was all wound up
  10. "2014 Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects". BaseballAmerica.com. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  11. Ryan Divish (2014-09-26). "D.J. Peterson heads the list of Mariners' minor league award winners". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  12. "2015 Mariners Minor League Awards". MLB.com. 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  13. Southern notes: Mariners move Diaz to 'pen
  14. Top pitching prospect Edwin Diaz is headed to the Mariners
  15. Mariners’ RHP Edwin Diaz ties Randy Johnson’s club record
  16. R.J. Anderson (2016-08-02). "The Mariners have a new closer in Edwin Diaz and he's a potential superstar talent". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  17. "Mariners' Edwin Diaz: Records first save against Red Sox". CBS Sports. 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  18. Bob Dutton (2016-08-03). "Mariners notebook: Closer Edwin Diaz is already making history". The News Tribune. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  19. "Mariners All-Stars: Edwin Díaz, Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz headed to D.C." Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  20. "Mariners Closer Edwin Díaz Ties Club Record With 29th Save Before ASG". 2018-06-27. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  21. "2018 All-Star Game Boxscore". Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  22. 25-0 when Edwin Díaz is handed a one-run lead
  23. "Closer Edwin Diaz saves all 4 games in Mariners' weekend sweep of Astros". ESPN. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  24. "Mariners' Edwin Diaz the AL MVP so far? He's proving it with his 20 one-run saves".
  25. "This closer is on a record-setting pace".
  26. Thornburg, Chad (February 8, 2017). "Young stars join Beltran, Yadi for Puerto Rico". MLB.com. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  27. "Puerto Rico vs Netherlands WBC Boxscore". Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  28. "Edwin Díaz Stats at Fangraphs". Fangraphs. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  29. "Edwin Díaz Stats at The Baseball Cube". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  30. "Robinson Canó apadrina al boricua Edwin Díaz". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). January 29, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
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