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Matt Diaz is in The Best Shape of His Life

Feb 27, 2012, 1:30 PM EDT

Pirates Braves Trade

Maybe. It’s possible Matt Diaz was in better shape years ago with the Royals or something, but this story has all the hallmarks of a BSOHL story: struggling player with a weakening hold on a major league job + big weight loss and optimistic talk. Take it away Dave O’Brien of the AJC:

After seeing his slugging percentage plummet more than 100 points in 2011 and home-run total drop to zero – he hit 20 in the previous two seasons combined — Diaz decided to change his physique. Not by getting bigger in his upper body, but by slimming down.

Through one week of spring-training batting practice, first against coaches and in the past two days against pitchers, the 33-year-old outfielder said he feels a difference. “Really good, free and easy on the swing,” Diaz said. “I had some power when I was hitting at the college I’ve been hitting at [during the offseason], but then when I came out here, hitting nice baseballs, I was like, ‘Wow, I do have power.’”

This follows a bulk-up with the Pirates which, if I remember correctly, was met with equally optimistic talk about how it would improve his game.  It’s a lesser-known subgenre of BSOHL involving guys who go back and forth and claim improved feeling based on contradictory approaches to conditioning. I call it the “BSOHL carousel.”

  1. bobulated - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    “he hit 20 in the previous two seasons combined” I love how this suggests as being a good thing for a corner OF to average 10 homers a year.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Diaz is not an everyday player, so looking at those 20 home runs as an “average of 10 a year” is extremely flawed. He hit them in just under 600 at-bats, which isn’t an excellent clip … but isn’t bad either.

      • bobulated - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        I’m actually a Braves fan believe it or not but lets take your logic a step further and add his 2011 ABs onto your number just for jollies; then you get 20 HRs in 846 ABs for 1HR per 42.1 ABs.
        Also his splits go;
        2009: .313/.390/.488 /.878
        2010: .250/.302 /.438/.739
        2011: .263/.302/.323/.625
        Which as you so kindly pointed out is in mostly part time duty vs. lefties. This a called an age 30+ ballplayer naturally trending downward. I like Diaz’s attitude and the fact he’s a grinder but that being said he’s been barely a replacement level player except for two seasons in ATL and those are dropping farther behind in the mirror every day. IMHO he’s a pinch hitter at best at this point in his career.

  2. illcomm - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Diax being in the best shape of his life won’t stop the Bravest from being the cellar dwellars in their division.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      As long as the Mets don’t fold between now and the start of the season, I don’t think the Braves have to worry about finishing dead last. Given the quality of competition in the rest of the dvision, though, I could see Atlanta having a respectable season and still finishing third or fourth. I could also see them winning it. Should be a competitive year in the NL East.

  3. ryanindusblue - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Go Pirates!

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