(Photo Credit: Logan Phillips)

After struggling in his first full year with the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles Single-A affiliate), it appears as if Matthias Dietz has turned things around thus far in year two. Dietz was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft with the 69th pick overall. Dietz was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2015 in the 29th round. He was drafted out of John A. Logan Community College after posting a 1.22 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 103 innings of work. Dietz was named JUCO pitcher of the year by Perfect Game USA in 2016. He signed above slot value for $1.3 million (slot value was around $934,400). He was committed to TCU at the time of the draft.

Dietz was considered to be the top JUNCO player drafted in 2016 entering the draft. His draft profile read as 91-94 MPH fastball that he has dialed it up to 98 in shorter apparences. This year he has seen it sit more consistently in the mid 90’s around 93-94 MPH. He pairs that with a slider and changeup. Dietz’s slider has made strides and projects to be above average. His changeup is currently viewed as his worst offering and it’s been said he has a curveball which at best is average.

During his first full season with Delmarva, Dietz struggled posting a 4.93 ERA for the season. His 4.10 FIP says he might’ve pitched better than the stats show but his xFIP settles at 4.65. He had a 38.6 fly ball percentage with 3.8% of fly balls going for home runs.  He had a 44.6% groundball rate and a 16.9% line drive rate. Dietz had a .279 average against giving up 144 hits in 129.2 innings pitched. The main knock against Dietz was his ability to be consistent and command the strike zone. Dietz walked 50 batters and hit 10 others. That’s 60 free passes to batters in almost 130 innings. He averaged 3.47 walks per 9 innings. Dietz was also charged with 15 wild pitches and 3 balks. This all culminated into a record of 3 wins and 10 losses for Dietz.

So far in year two, Dietz has not yet curbed the notion that he’s unable to command the strike zone. He has already issued 28 walks in 55.2 innings, an average of 4.53 walks per 9 innings (11.8% walk rate). Yet when you look at his stats across the board, he is having a better season overall in spite of his higher walk rate. So far he has posted a 3.07 ERA in 11 starts with a FIP of 3.34. Dietz has posted a higher strikeout rate this year of 9.54 strikeouts per 9 innings (24.9% rate). He currently has 59 strikeouts on the season. Dietz has also been giving up less hits (.229 average against) and increased his groundball rate 4% up to 48.6% on the season. His flyball rate is around the same as last year at 38.9% but only 1.8% of fly balls have gone for home runs. This all resulted in Matthias Dietz being selected as a replacement to the South Atlantic League All Star Game.

As Dietz continues to progress through the Orioles system, expect him to continue to progress as a starter due to the potential and progression of his pitches. Should he falter at higher levels or continue to struggle with his command, a transition to the bullpen would be in order. It’s possible a move to the bullpen could highlight his pitches even more allowing him to reach back to the upper 90’s on his fastball more often. Expect Matthias Dietz to be promoted to the Frederick Keys (Orioles A+ affiliate) before summer ends. If Dietz can re-command the strike zone as he did in college, his offerings could make him a solid starter. Until he can prove that though, I’d expect him to be a valuable reliever out of the bullpen in Baltimore.

 

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