Last season Scott Diamond was supposed to be the Twins’ Opening Day starter, but instead the left-hander began the year on the disabled list while recovering from offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
Once healthy enough to pitch Diamond was terrible for the Twins, going 6-13 with a 5.43 ERA before a demotion to Triple-A. He stayed at Triple-A this season and was even worse with a 6.52 ERA and .328 opponents’ batting average in 80 innings, which convinced the Twins to release the 27-year-old who once was touted as part of their long-term plans.
Diamond has found a new home in the Reds organization, as Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports that he’s agreed to a minor-league contract with Cincinnati and will try to turn things around for their Triple-A affiliate. Diamond’s miniscule strikeout rate always meant sustained success would be unlikely, but as far as Triple-A depth goes he’s a fine no-risk pickup for the Reds.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.