Jose Raphael (Rodriguez) Diaz) was born in La Romana, Dominican Republic on February 27, 1984. So, he's a young, fresh, hip 32 year old fireballer in the Reds bullpen.
Diaz was signed as an International Free Agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001, which was a super long time ago. In all, Diaz has been a member of the Dodgers, Rangers, Orioles, Pirates, and Reds organizations. Though, he has realistically only made an impact with the Reds since that is the only major league team he has known.
Jumbo got his name because of his large build (6'4, 280 pounds), which he attributes to his mother's very good but unhealthy cooking. You may think that 280lbs doesn't sound "Jumbo" big, and it really isn't. At least, not in baseball terms. Jumbo got his name because he used to hover closer to 400 pounds. Shortly after joining the Reds in 2012 he began to shed that weight. It's just kinda cool that a player is completely know by a nickname (it's basically his official name) because of his weight loss.
He also has adorable pictures of his child on Instagram if you wanna go check it out, but I'm not going to link to it.
Born: February 27, 1984 in La Romana, La Romana, Dominican Republic (Age 32.016)
Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2001. (All Transactions)
Debut: June 20, 2014 (Age 30.113, 18,269th in MLB history) vs. TOR 1.0 IP, 3 H, 0 SO, 0 BB, 3 ER
- May 14, 2001: Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent.
- October 29, 2007: Granted Free Agency.
- October 25, 2008: Signed as a Free Agent with the Texas Rangers.
- April 2, 2010: Released by the Texas Rangers.
- April 5, 2010: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles.
- November 6, 2010: Granted Free Agency.
- December 20, 2010: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles.
- November 2, 2011: Granted Free Agency.
- November 10, 2011: Signed as a Free Agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- November 3, 2012: Granted Free Agency.
- November 20, 2012: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cincinnati Reds.
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2014 season [*]
Team: Reds 2014-2015
2016 Contract Status: Pre-Arb Eligible (details) [*]
Service Time (01/2016): 1.073, Arb Eligible: 2018, Free Agent: 2021 [*],
Career Pitch F/X:
2015 Pitch F/X:
Jumbo Diaz has been one of the most consistent bullpen arms, and one of the more popular players for the Reds, ever since he made his debut in 2014. Jumbo has taken his licks throughout his career, but he finally has found a somewhat stable role in the bullpen. Diaz's calling card is his hard fastball, and I think he's been clocked as high as 100 MPH. So, he can definitely bring the heat. He couples that pitch with a pretty nasty slider, but those are the only pitches he really shows.
One bright spot of Diaz's 2015 were his walk numbers. He was able to keep a 2.8 BB/9 while his K/9 was 10.4. That will work out just fine from the bullpen. What didn't work as well is what happened when the other team made contact. His HR/9 was 1.3 and his H/9 was 8.7. Those are both way higher than you'd like to see from a reliever. He can miss the bats, but he needs to start creating softer contact. One problem might be that his fastball, while hard, is quite straight
Jumbo Diaz looks to be a lock to make the major league club. He pitched over 60 innings last year, and frankly he just doesn't have any competition. In fact, it looks like it will either be him or JJ Hoover that will take over the closer role. I wouldn't be shocked to see a closer by committee and would welcome such an idea with Aroldis Chapman gone. However, I don't think Bryan Price will do this, and if he won't he should definitely pick Jumbo Diaz just because of his strikeouts. That's what I would do.