Scott Diamond continues to attack zone more than almost any pitcher
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Diamond entered Saturday's game against the Kansas City Royals having thrown 50% of his pitches in the strike zone according to MLB's Pitch F/X data -- a rate that ranked him seventh among major league starters.
Baseball's worst strike-throwing starters are Randall Delgado (35% in the zone), Hiroki Kuroda (35%) and Francisco Liriano (38%).
To put it simply, Diamond is a strike-throwing machine, and Saturday was no different. Diamond found the zone with 53 of his 101 pitches (Diamond was credited with 65 strikes when incorporating swings, fouls and called strikes into the context).
When Diamond missed the zone, he missed low 27 times and high only twice.
The Royals knew he would be pumping the zone, so they came out swinging on the first pitch four times in the first six plate appearances.
Diamond made some adjustments, and from the third inning through the eighth Royals hitters swung at the first pitch only six times in 25 plate appearances.
"Whether it's changing the speed or changing the look or their eye level or something, I just try to work down in the zone or just mix it up so I don't fall into a pattern and they can't get used to it," Diamond said.
"I feel pretty comfortable with all my pitches right now, but my mentality is just attacking. So before I always felt like I was trying to throw that perfect pitch -- I would get ahead 0-1 and I'd just try to throw a perfect one. And right now I'm just trying to locate to areas rather than to certain spots. It seems to be successful for me."
Diamond doesn't have overpowering stuff, so he'll likely never be a strikeout pitcher. But his ability to attack the zone at such a high rate with multiple pitches is a large part of the reason why his ERA currently sits at 2.63 (with a 3.54 xFIP).