Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Most Surprising Performer at Each Level

These Pittsburgh Pirates prospects have been the most surprising this season

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Low-A Bradenton - Derek Diamond

We have our first pitcher and our second 2022 draft pick of the day in the form of RHP Derek Diamond. Diamond was selected after Gonzalez. Fresh off a College World Series win with Ole Miss, Diamond has become a potential ‘diamond in the rough’ (pun intended). Despite his uninspiring surface numbers, there are some more metrics here that make him an intriguing player.

Diamond owns a 4.26 ERA on the season, but that’s mostly inflated by a .335 batting average on balls in play. The right-hander has been outstanding at limiting home runs and walks. He has a quality 0.67 HR/9 rate while only walking 4.9% of the opponents he’s faced. He also has a ground ball rate above 50% at 51.7%. Diamond’s ability to prevent walks is nothing new. He had a 4.4% walk rate in his last season in college. However, his ability to prevent home runs has become significantly better. Throughout his entire college career, Diamond had a 1.90 HR/9 rate.

All of this has led to a significantly better-looking 3.73 FIP and 3.80 xFIP. Diamond allows so few walks that it helps his sub-par 20.5% strikeout rate play up. The right-hander is one of just 14 players at the Low-A level with a K:BB ratio of at least 4.0 in 50+ innings of work. Diamond clocks in at 4.14, the 12th highest rate.

Diamond isn’t a super hard thrower but has shown some velocity in the past. In one of his most recent games, he was averaging out at 92.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball and with an above-average spin. His changeup averages out with well under 2000 RPM of spin, and he also tosses a slider and curveball with regularity.