Looking back at the career of Matt Diaz is almost laughable. The Devil Rays and Royals, two of the laughing stocks of baseball when they had him, both passed on him only to have a contending team like the Braves pick him up for next to nothing. In his seven years between the Tampa Bay and Kansas City organizations and with good minor league stats, Diaz got less than 100 at at bats. Now he is mashing away as the right-handed compliment to our left field platoon and should be starting full-time. Let's take his 2007 numbers and expand them to a full-season. For this I'll be using a 620 at-bat sample size.
2007 Stats: .354/.380/.545 in 288 ABs, 102 H, 12 HRs, 38 RBIs, 19 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 3 SBs, 11 BBs, and 46 Ks
Modified Stats: .354/.380/.545 in 620 ABs, 220 H, 26 HRs, 82 RBIs, 41 2B, 0 3Bs, 6 SBs, 24 BBs, and 99 Ks
Some of you are going to go after me saying that he would be facing more righties so this isn't accurate because he hits worse against right-handers. I agree he hits worse but definitely not poorly against right-handed pitchers. His OPS against right-handers is.794 while against lefties it shoots up to 1.023. What I think a lot of you probably don't realize though, is how many at bats he has had against right-handers. Even in the platoon, he has only faced righties about 40 less times this season so the numbers, although they would change a little, aren't significantly skewed by that. The number of at bats could go up or down depending on where he hits in the order and how many games he sits out.
The big concern about starting him seems to be over-exposure. The question is, is he thriving because pitchers and teams don't see him all the time? Could he sustain this kind of level over a full season? One thing is for sure though, whatever he could produce against righties is going to be better than what Willie Harris, who now can't hit, can't steal, and has absolutely zero power.