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Rafael Diaz (minors02)

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Rafael Díaz Adame (Ralph)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 170 lb.

BR minors page

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[edit] Biographical Information

Rafael Díaz (known as Ralph Diaz for much of his US career) is in his 21st pro season in 2009. He has played for Mexico in major international tournaments.

[edit] Expos chain

Díaz debuted in 1989 with the GCL Expos, going 2-8 with a 3.67 ERA. He only walked 5 in 54 innings while striking out 50. He was one loss shy of the Gulf Coast League lead. The right-hander moved up to the Jamestown Expos in 1990 and had a 4-3 record with 4 saves and a 3.02 ERA, allowing 33 hits in 42 innings. With the 1991 Rockford Expos, Ralph went 4-6 with 3 saves and a 3.23 ERA. The next year, he spent most of the season starring for the West Palm Beach Expos, going 8-4 with a 2.18 ERA and 24 walks in 120 innings. He was 6th in the Florida State League in ERA. Díaz got a brief appearance in AAA, allowing two runs in four innings for the Indianapolis Indians. In the 1992-1993 Mexican Pacific League, he was 6-4 with a 4.46 ERA for Novojoa and only walked four in 67 innings.

Díaz was a reliable staff member on the 94-44 1993 Harrisburg Senators (ranked one of the top 100 minor league teams of the 20th Century by minorleaguebaseball.com), going 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA. That winter, he was 5-4 with a save and a 2.26 ERA for Novojoa, only giving up 39 hits in 64 innings. He split 1994 between Harrisburg (9-8, 4.41) and the Ottawa Lynx (0-4, 6.28, 41 H, 15 BB in 29 IP). He struggled at the same two stops in 1995 - 2-2, 5.59 in 11 games for Harrisburg and 0-3, 6.56 in 32 for Ottawa. It would mark the end of his 7-year stint in the Montréal Expos farm system.

[edit] Mexico

In the winter of 1995-1996, Díaz had a 5-1 record, one save and a 2.30 ERA for the Cañeros de Los Mochis with continuing control problems (51 walks in 78 innings, a far cry of his performance in winter ball three years prior). In 1996, Rafael had a fine 14-1, 2.41 season for the Monterrey Sultans and was 6th in the Mexican League in ERA while helping Monterrey to a title. He led the Liga in winning percentage. In 1997, the veteran hurler went 7-6 with a 3.34 ERA for the Sultans, followed by a 14-4, 3.02 campaign in 1998. Díaz was 8-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 1999.

[edit] Japan

The Seibu Lions signed Díaz for 2000 but he was unimpressive in Nippon Pro Baseball, allowing 7 runs and 6 walks in 8 1/3 innings for Seibu.

[edit] Back to Mexico

Díaz was 1-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 2001, back with Monterrey. In 2002, he went 8-6 with a 4.00 ERA in his sixth season for the club. That winter, he had a 7-3, 3.02 record for Los Mochis, allowing 60 hits in 83 innings. He moved to the Saltillo Saraperos the next summer and was 4-4 with a 5.27 ERA.

Díaz was 1-3 with 6 saves and a 2.50 ERA in the 2003-2004 Mexican Pacific League, still with Los Mochis. In 2004, he went 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA. Rafael had a 8-2, 4.10 record for Saltillo in 2005. In 2006, he moved to the bullpen and posted a 1-0, 3.04 record with 20 saves. He fanned 53 and walked 9 in 50 1/3 innings. He was 6th in the Mexican League in saves.

At age 35, Díaz joined the national team for the 2006 COPABE Olympic Qualifiers. He was a star, going 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA and leading the event in victories; unfortunately, Mexico fell shy though they qualified for the final pre-Olympic tournament.

In the winter of 2006-2007, Rafael was 4-4 with a 4.55 ERA for Los Mochis, with 22 walks in 85 innings. In the 2007 Pan American Games, he struck out 5 in 2 1/3 innings for the Bronze Medal winners. He got a win against Venezuela. In the 2007 regular season, Diaz was 3-6 with 19 saves and a 2.86 ERA for Saltillo. In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, Díaz threw four hitless, scoreless innings for Mexico and saved two games. He tied Mike Kusiewicz for the most saves but Mexico failed to earn a slot in the 2008 Olympics.

In 2008, Díaz went 4-2 with 8 saves and a 3.44 ERA for Saltillo. In the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup, he had a 3.18 ERA and fanned 9 in 5 2/3 IP. He recorded four saves in six outings to lead the Cup in saves. Ralph was less effective in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, allowing 6 hits, 3 walks and 4 runs in 3 1/3 IP. In his first outing, he relieved Francisco Campos with a 7-6 lead against Australia and promptly threw a wild pitch to score Andrew Graham with the tying run; the Aussies went on to win and gave up non-inherited runs against Cuba and South Korea.

Díaz went 8-3 with a 4.48 ERA for Saltillo in 2009. He then won two games in the finals, including the decisive game six over the Tigres de Quintana Roo (in which the 21st-year veteran went the distance) to earn him championship series MVP honors. He then joined Mexico for the 2009 Baseball World Cup.

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