|Philadelphia Phillies – No. 63|
January 21, 1987 |
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|May 15, 2012 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||3.15|
Jacob Tanner Diekman (born January 21, 1987) is an American professional baseball pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies. He throws left-handed, and is a lefty specialist in the Phillies bullpen. Diekman grew up in Wymore, Nebraska, where he attended a high school that did not have a baseball team, so he instead focused on golf, playing baseball in the summer for an American Legion team. He played two seasons of baseball in college – one at Doane College the other at Cloud County Community College – before attending a junior college baseball showcase, at which he was offered a scholarship to play Division I baseball. However, in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, the Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 30th round, and he ultimately signed.
With the Phillies, he began as a starting pitcher and progressed through a few levels of the Phillies' farm system in his first two years as a starter before adjusting his mechanics, and lowering his arm slot to throw sidearm out of the bullpen as a relief pitcher. He flourished with the adjustment, moving through the remaining levels of the Phillies' farm system and, in 2012, making his major league debut. Over the next two seasons, he split time between the major league Phillies and their Triple-A (AAA) affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, though while he was with the major league team, was considered one of the "lone bright spots" in both 2012 and 2013. According to Fangraphs, Diekman throws a fastball in the mid-90s (mph), a slider, and an occasional changeup.
Diekman attended Southern High School in Wymore, Nebraska, which did not field a baseball team, so Diekman played golf in high school. Eventually, he joined an American Legion baseball team comprised of players from Wymore and several surrounding towns, which Diekman called "the best experience of my life ... so much fun".
After graduating high school, he enrolled at Doane College, where he pitched for one season, before transferring to Cloud County Community College in Kansas, where he pitched during his sophomore season before attending a showcase at which, with a mid-90s fastball, he drew much interest, including an offer for a full scholarship to be a Nebraska Cornhusker, which he would have accepted had the Phillies not drafted him in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft's 30th round.
Diekman was drafted by the Phillies in the 30th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Between 2007 and 2010, he pitched in the lower levels of the Phillies' Minor League system as a starter. Although he initially saw success in 2007, posting a 2.72 ERA in 10 starts with GCL Phillies and Williamsport Crosscutters, he struggled mightily in 2008, posting an ERA of 5.09 in 27 starts, split between Williamsport and the Lakewood Blue Claws. He converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever in 2009, along with several other Phillies pitching prospects. Around that time, he also, at the suggestion of the same minor league pitching coaches who converted him to relief, lowered his release point to his current low angle. Success did not manifest itself overnight, as he still posted a 4.04 ERA in 2009, his first season in relief, but in 2010, he cut his ERA to 2.91 while splitting time between Lakewood and the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies High-A affiliate. He spent the 2011 season with the Double-A Reading Phillies, accruing a 0–1 record and a 3.05 ERA and 3 saves in 53 games. Thereafter, the Phillies added him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. After garnering praise for his performance in Spring Training, Diekman opened the 2012 season with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, posting a 1–0 record and a 0.59 ERA with 5 saves in 13 games in the season's first month. He was added to the Phillies' 25-man Major League roster on May 11, and four days later recorded a win against the Houston Astros in his first appearance. He finished the year an established lefty specialist, and had a 3.95 ERA, though walked about 6.59 batters per 9 innings, and was erratic in his control. Entering 2013, Diekman figured to be a big part of the Phillies bullpen after his success in 2012, however he did not break camp with the big league club, and went on to struggle in Triple-A, delaying his arrival on the big league squad until June. While with the big league club, he continued his dominance of left-handed hitters, however was not as good against right-handed hitters (a 150 point differential in opponent batting average and over 300 point differential in On-base plus slugging (OPS)), but did improve his control, again figuring to earn a spot in the bullpen in 2014, as in a Phillies bullpen that suffered through a dismal 2013 season, he was one of few, if not the lone, bright spot.
He throws a fastball in the mid-90s, a slider at 78–81, and an occasional changeup to right-handed hitters. Like most left-handed pitchers, particularly those who throw out of an arm angle similar to Diekman's, he is tough on left-handed hitters. In 2013, he held lefties to just a .368 OPS, though allowed a .765 OPS to right-handed hitters. As such, his future career may be against predominantly lefties.
- "2012 Phillies Exit Interview: Jake Diekman". The Good Phight. Vox Media. October 30, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Riccaboni, Ian (September 30, 2013). "Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman". Phillies Nation. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Christopherson, Brian (June 2, 2012). "A pitcher's jouney: From Wymore to The Show". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- "Jake Diekman Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights". MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Gelb, Matt (February 23, 2011). "How Phils spell relief: C-o-n-v-e-r-t a s-t-a-r-t-e-r". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Hagen, Paul (May 11, 2012). "Diekman key cog in bullpen shakeup". phillies.com: News. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Zolecki, Todd (November 18, 2011). "Philadelphia Phillies add four players to 40-man roster". phillies.com: News. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Gelb, Matt (March 27, 2012). "Dubee in love with Diekman". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Treyhorn, Dash (February 25, 2013). "What to Expect: Jake Diekman". NBC 10 Philadelphia. NBCUniversal Media. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Jacob Diekman". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- "Jake Diekman >> Statistics >> Pitching". FanGraphs Baseball. FanGraphs. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Treyhorn, Dash (October 11, 2013). "Jake Diekman's impressive season". NBC10 Philadelphia. NBCUniversal Media. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)