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Thomas Diamond

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Thomas Nicklaus Diamond

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[edit] Biographical Information

Pitcher Thomas Diamond was signed by the Texas Rangers and scout Randy Taylor as the first round pick in the 2004 amateur draft for $2,025,000. He made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2010.

Diamond was picked by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 38th round of the 2001 amateur draft out of high school. He went to college instead and went 3-5 with five saves and a 3.39 ERA as a sophomore, fanning 96 in 69 innings but walking 42. As a junior, Thomas was 6-4 with a 2.38 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 114 innings while only walking three more despite his much-larger workload. He joined Chris Mobley as the Sun Belt Conference All-Conference pitchers and was named the Conference Pitcher of the Year. He finished second in the Sun Belt in ERA and first in whiffs. He was 9th in NCAA Division I in strikeouts. The Texas Rangers chose him 10th overall in the 2004 amateur draft and signed him for a bonus of over $2 million. He would never pitch for them in the majors, though.

Debuting as a pro the summer he was drafted, the Louisianan did well with the Spokane Indians (0-2, Sv, 2.35, 26 K in 15 1/3 IP) and the Clinton Lumber Kings (1-0, 2.05, 42 K in 30 2/3 IP). In 2005, he was masterful with the Bakersfield Blaze (8-0, 1.99, 101 K in 81 1/3 IP, .191 opponent average) but was less successful with the Frisco RoughRiders (5-4, 5.35). He led all Rangers farmhands in wins, walks (69) and strikeouts (169) and won their Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. He was named to the California League All-Star team. Baseball America ranked him as the top pitching prospect in that circuit and #8 overall prospect, just ahead of Adam Jones, as well as the #4 Texas League prospect (behind Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Daric Barton and just ahead of Edison Volquez, Andre Ethier and Kendry Morales).

Diamond was better in a full season with Frisco in 2006, going 12-5 with a 4.24 ERA, .219 opponent average and 145 K in 129 innings. He led Texas minor leaguers in walks (78), tied Paul Kometani for the most wins and was second in strikeouts, 9 behind John Danks. In the TL, he had the most strikeouts and most K per 9 innings while finishing two walks behind leader Juan Morillo. Baseball America did not list him among the league's top 20 prospects this time.

Thomas's solid rise hit a wall in 2007 when he missed all season due to Tommy John surgery. Returning two months into the 2008 campaign, he struggled with Frisco (3-3, 6.20, 37 walks in 53 2/3 IP) before having season-ending surgery for a bone spur in his ankle. Moving to the bullpen in 2009, Diamond was 1-3 with a save and a 3.63 ERA in 32 games for Frisco (37 BB, 50 K in 44 2/3 IP) and 1-0 with a 6.55 ERA for the Oklahoma City RedHawks. He was put on waivers by Texas in September and claimed by the Chicago Cubs.

Moved back into a starting role with the 2010 Iowa Cubs, Diamond had his best performance in years, going 5-4 with a 3.16 ERA and .218 opponent average. He was then called up to the big leagues to replace the injured Carlos Silva. Thomas struck out the side in his first inning in the majors. He whiffed Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart then walked Ryan Braun. Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee singled to make it 1-0 before Jim Edmonds also struck out. On the day, Diamond fanned ten in six innings but allowed three runs in a loss to the Cubs.

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