Matt Diaz sure as hell isn’t a box of chocolates. When you open up a USPS parcel full of Matt Diaz, you know exactly what you’re going to get. The former 17th round pick of the then-Tampa Ray Devil Rays has stuck around the major leagues for one reason and one reason only; he absolutely murders lefties.
Here are some bad jokes to reinforce the southpaw-crushing abilities of ATL’s backup leftfielder:
- In Webster’s, under platoon player, there’s a picture of Matt Diaz
- Matt Diaz has potatoes thrown to him by his left handed aunt so he can easily mash them for Thanksgiving dinner
- Matt Diaz doesn’t use a gun during laser tag. He just waits until a person shoots at him with their left hand and then just sends the laser back at them.
- Matt Diaz would win any presidential debate against a democratic opponent
- If you are playing Matt Diaz in Rock, Paper, Scissors with your left hand, he can recognize what you are going to throw and adjust accordingly
So there you have it. Matt Diaz is closing in on $6 million in career MLB earnings solely on the fact that he crushes left-handed pitching. Squatting on a .921 career OPS against lefties, Diaz is outpacing the likes of Matt Holliday in the category and is only .026 behind a certain right-handed hitting HOF outfielder by the name of Frank Robinson.
So should we all get our tickets to see Diaz’s induction speech in Cooperstown? Probably not. But still, let’s just take a look at how boringly automatic Matt Diaz is.
The career line for Diaz against lefties shakes down like this: .339/.377/.544. In 2009, across 152 PA, he hit for a .412 average. In 2008 he hit .244 overall yet still managed to rake lefties for a .319 BA. The guy isn’t exactly an everyday player but I’d have no problem if my team were shelling out $2 mil for the perfect pinch-hitter/platoon player. For the Braves, the team he’s spent most of his career with, he’s only had one season out of five in which he posted a negative WAR (2008).
Let’s get this straight. I don’t think Matt Diaz is an all-star or anywhere close (although his career .269 BA vs RHP suggests he can handle his own against any pitching), but having him around makes the manager’s job extremely easy. As soon as that skipper takes a look at the opposing lineup card his decision is made for him. Basically, with a Matt Diaz on your roster, choosing a LF/PH is like playing Blackjack by the book.
Left-handed starter? Hit me.