Diamond shines in victory
Diamond delivers a gem
Diamond in the rough
Diamond sparkles as Twins cruise to victory
Diamond presents a rare glimmer of hope, along with players like Ben Revere, in what is otherwise a disappointing season. What these players do now can provide a better sense of the role they can fill in the hopefully-not-too-distant future when the Twins are a more competitive team. For Diamond, that means a couple of things. This season his turn in the rotation is a chance for beaten down fans to get excited for a game, knowing that the team will almost definitely have a good chance to win. At the moment he is the de facto ace, but as we think ahead we should look at him just a tad differently.
In the future Diamond projects as a great middle-of-the rotation pitcher. Put him alongside a pitcher who profiles more like a swing-and-miss ace, and his ability to work efficiently and pound the strike zone will be that much more effective. But ultimately, you want him matching up against the Rick Porcello‘s rather than the Justin Verlander‘s of the league. If the Twins enter next season in a situation where Diamond is forced to match up with aces, they will almost certainly face the same devastating lack of starting pitching that they have this year.
He also fits perfectly with a team that pounds the ball offensively. If the Twins keep their current potent lineup in tact, they can use Diamond as the model of the type of starting pitcher they need. Be efficient, do not walk people, and give the bats a chance to win. When the offense holds up their end of this deal, say by scoring 11 runs, it is a near perfect formula for well-rounded victories. Nobody can reasonably expect Diamond to always dominate the way he did last night, but they can reasonably expect him to pitch deep into games and give his team a chance.
Hopefully the Twins, who currently reside in last place, can progress quickly enough to take advantage of Diamond the way he should ideally be used. It might be OK for him to be a “diamond in the rough” ace for the time being, but the success of that formula will most likely be short lived.
For now, we will all continue our unwavering commitment to corny diamond puns when he succeeds.