- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 165-231 lb.
Diegomar Markwell pitched for seven years in the Toronto Blue Jays system, making it to AA, before going to pitch in Hoofdklasse. Markwell has represented The Netherlands in both the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. He is a cousin of Andruw Jones. In 2006, he was named Pitcher of the Year in Hoofdklasse.
1997-2003: Toronto farmhand
Markwell was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays for $750,000 at age 16. He debuted for the St. Catharines Stompers in 1997, going 1-6 with a 4.99 ERA and walking 40 in 48 2/3 IP against competition culled largely from the college ranks. He was only six walks away from leading the New York-Penn League. In 1998, Diego went 3-5, 5.54 in his second season in St. Catharines. Returning for a third try, Markwell did even worse, with a 3-4, 7.58 record and 50 earned runs allowed, the most in the New York-Penn.
In 2000, Diegomar returned to the league, now with the Queens Kings and fared much better, going 4-3 with a 3.05 ERA, 31 BB and 66 K in 73 2/3 IP while allowing a .220 average. He pitched two games for the Hagerstown Suns but walked five in two innings and gave up two runs.
The southpaw made further strides in 2001, going 5-7 with a 3.87 ERA for the Charleston Alley Cats and 3-1, 3.21 for the Dunedin Blue Jays. He walked 45 in 157 innings as his control continued to improve and he struck out 125 overall, four away from the lead for the entire Blue Jays chain.
In 2002, Diego had a good year for the Tennessee Smokies, posting a 13-9 record, 4.38 ERA and one save. He led the Toronto minor league system, with 60 walks but he also tied Vinny Chulk for the most wins in the organization; he and Chulk also tied for the Southern League lead in victories. His 23 homers allowed were the most in the SL, though. He was added to Toronto's 40-man roster in November and got a spring training invitation the next year. Also that year, teammate Pasqual Coco stole money from him, leading to Coco's release from the Toronto chain.
Markwell's last year in the US was a rough one. With the New Haven Ravens, he was 5-7 with a 7.04 ERA, getting torched for a .324 opponent batting average while walking almost one batter per two innings.
Overall, he had a 37-41 record in the Toronto organization. The St. Louis Cardinals signed him as a free agent that off-season but let him go before he ever appeared with them.
2004-present: In the Netherlands and international play
Markwell moved to Hoofdklasse in 2004 and did not finish among the league leaders. He also spent part of the summer with the Dutch team in the 2004 Olympics.
In 2005, Markwell went 6-3 with a 2.28 ERA for Neptunus. He finished 7th in Hoofdklasse in ERA, tied for sixth in wins and was 5th with 69 strikeouts. He went 2-0 in the 2005 European Championship witha 0.00 ERA but teammate Patrick Beljaards was named the tourney's top southpaw. He was 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in the 2005 Baseball World Cup and tied for the cup lead in wins. Netherlands hosted the tourney and made the semifinals for the first time ever, thanks in significant part to Diego's work on the hill and he made the tournament All-Star team as the top left-handed pitcher.
Diegomar then represented The Netherlands in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He did not fare well, going 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in a loss to Cuba. Things turned around though in the regular season. Markwell went 12-2 with a 1.58 ERA. Only Akira Okamoto had a lower ERA among qualifiers, Diego tied for the win lead and was 4th with 82 Ks. He won Pitcher of the Year honors, making Neptunus just the second team in league history to claim the award five years in a row - he had been preceded by Rob Cordemans (3 times) and Eelco Jansen. The post-season was a sour one, though, as he went 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA.
In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, he was 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA.
Markwell got a tryout with the Macoto Cobras for 2007, with a shot at being one of the first Dutch players in Taiwan; Cordemans and Ivanon Coffie also were being given trials. Markwell pitched in three games for Macoto before being released, whereas Cordemans and Coffie caught on (though neither lasted the full season). He returned to Neptunus.
In 2007 Hoofdklasse, Diegomar went 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA though he was 0-1 in the playoffs as Neptunus was eliminated in the first round. He was 5th in the league in ERA, 4th in WHIP, 3rd in K:BB ratio, 7th in lowest opponent OBP (.274), tied with Leon Boyd and Vaughan Harris for second in wins, 5th in innings pitched (87), tied for 4th in complete games (2) and 5th in strikeouts (62). In the 2007 World Port Tournament, Markwell was 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA, allowing 17 hits in 8 1/3 innings.
Markwell struck out 9 in 5 2/3 innings in the 2007 European Championship. He allowed one unearned run for the Gold Medal-winning Dutch entry, which clinched a spot in the 2008 Olympics as a result. Markwell was 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. He allowed 7 hits, 5 walks and 4 runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings in a win over the German national team but was far sharper against the Cuban national team in a game the Netherlands needed to win to make the quarterfinals. He allowed only one run in 6 2/3 innings against Cuba en route to Cuba's first loss to a European entry in a Baseball World Cup. Markwell got a no-decision in the fine outing and the Netherlands finished fourth in the tournament.
In the 2008 European Cup in Regensburg, Markwell was 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA. He took Neptunus's lone loss, against Danesi Nettuno, in the semifinals. Markwell had a 4.77 ERA in three games in the 2008 Olympics, being used strictly in a relief role.
In the 2008 Hoofdklasse, the southpaw was 9-5 with a 2.37 ERA, then lost his only playoff decision. He was 10th in the league in ERA, tied Rob Cordemans for fifth in wins, was 4th in innings (91), 9th in strikeouts (51) and tied Leon Boyd for the most quality starts (11). He did not play in the 2008 Olympics.
Back with the national team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Markwell tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings. In the make-or-break game against the Dominican national team, he relieved Dennis Neuman with two outs in the 9th of a scoreless game. He gave up a Jose Reyes single but then got Moises Alou to ground out in the final at-bat of Alou's professional career. He retired Hanley Ramirez and Willy Aybar to open the 10th and was relieved by Leon Boyd. The Dutch went on to a 2-1 win, eliminating the Dominican Republic.
Markwell was excellent in the 2009 World Port Tournament, going 1-1 with a 0.96 ERA. He lost a 1-0 pitching duel to Miguel Alfredo González of Cuba in his opener, then shut down Taiwan. In the finale, he allowed Cuba a first-inning run and left early. He was third in the event in ERA behind Maikel Folch and Chen-Hua Lin.
In the 2009 Hoofdklasse season, Markwell went 10-2 with a 1.82 ERA. He finished 4th in ERA (behind Ryan Murphy, Rob Cordemans and Dushan Ruzic), was 3rd in innings (99), was 5th in strikeouts (83) and tied Kevin Heijstek and Murphy for the win lead.
1998-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Worldbaseballclassic.com, Honkbalsite.com, Marco Stoolvar's site on Dutch baseball, October 9, 2000 TSN article lists signing bonus, IBAF site, Mister Baseball, 2008 Olympics