Edwin Orlando Díaz Laboy (born March 22, 1994) is a Puerto Rican professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his major league debut in June 2016 with the Seattle Mariners, where he played between 2016 and 2018.

Within two months of his MLB debut, Díaz broke the Mariners’ record for consecutive strikeouts and was named the team’s closer. In 2018, he recorded 57 saves to lead the American League, was an All-Star, and was named AL Reliever of the Year. The Mariners traded him to the Mets after the season.

Early life

Díaz grew up in the Daguao neighborhood in Naguabo, Puerto Rico. He started playing baseball around age 7, playing mostly as a center fielder.[1] While growing up in Puerto Rico, Díaz played as an outfielder during his youth along players like Carlos Correa and José Berríos.[2] At the insistence of his father, he reluctantly tried pitching as a teenager.

Professional career

Minor Leagues (2012–2016)

The Seattle Mariners selected Díaz in the third round, with the 98th overall pick, of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft out of Caguas Military Academy in Caguas, Puerto Rico.[3][4] He made his professional debut that season for the Arizona League Mariners. In nine games (one start) he went 2–1 with a 5.21 earned run average (ERA) with 20 strikeouts in 19 innings. In 2013, he pitched for the Pulaski Mariners.[5] In 13 starts, he went 5–2 with a 1.43 ERA and 79 strikeouts over 69 innings. Prior to the 2014 season, Díaz was named the Mariners fifth best prospect by Baseball America.[6] He spent the season with the Clinton LumberKings and was co-selected the organization’s minor league Starting Pitcher of the Year along Jordan Pries.[7]

In 2015, Díaz played for the Bakersfield Blaze and Jackson Generals. That year, he won the recognition of minor league Starting Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season.[8] Díaz started 2016 with Jackson as a starting pitcher and was moved to the bullpen after six starts.[9]

Seattle Mariners


Díaz was called up to the major leagues for the first time on June 4, 2016.[10] Between June 28 and July 3, he recorded ten consecutive outs via strikeout, tying a franchise record set in 1997.[11] On July 6, 2016, Díaz broke the record with his 11th consecutive out via strikeout. Between July 19 and 22, 2016, he recorded 8 consecutive strikeouts, tying him for second place with four different American League pitchers (Doug Fister set the AL record, with 9, on September 27, 2012).

On August 1, 2016, Díaz replaced Steve Cishek as the Mariners’ closer.[12] He recorded the first save of his career the following day, in a 5–4 win over the Boston Red Sox, in which he struck out the side.[13] By reaching his 50th strikeout in only 25 and a third innings, Díaz became the first pitcher to do so in at least 123 years.[14]

2018: All-Star season

Owning a 2.25 ERA, 36 saves, and 76 strikeouts in 48 innings, Díaz was named to the 2018 All-Star Game, his first All-Star appearance.[15] Díaz became the holder of the Seattle Mariners Club Record for saves before the All-Star Break, finishing with 36 saves before the break. The previous club record was 29 saves by Kazuhiro Sasaki in the 2001 season.[16] In the All-Star Game, Díaz was the winning pitcher even though he also had a blown save in the process as the NL team tied the game in the 9th inning. He ended up with two strikeouts and two earned runs including a home run in one inning pitched.[17] Díaz received the AL Reliever of the Month Award for April, June, and July. On August 10, Díaz had his save number 44, thus breaking the record for most saves by a Puerto Rican MLB player which was previously 43 saves in 1999 by Roberto Hernández.[18]

With a win on August 12 against the Houston Astros, the Mariners were 26–0 when Díaz was handed a one-run lead. In those games Díaz has 24 saves, a 0.68 ERA, 26.1 IP, 13 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, and 49 strikeouts.[19] Also, with the save on August 12 (his 46th of the season), Díaz became the first pitcher to record four saves in a single series since 2004 as Seattle completed a four-game sweep of the Astros.[20]

“I got a welcomed call from our closer. He said, ‘If we got the lead, I’m in the game.’ Sometimes you’ve got to do that. That’s kind of how Eddie’s wired and how this team is wired.”

Díaz 24 saves when entering a game with a one-run lead, broke the record for most in a season, which previously was 23 by Francisco Rodríguez for the Angels of Anaheim in 2008. His save number 46 of the season is part of 27 straight saves and has a 0.39 ERA in games that he has saved in the 2018 season.[21][22] On August 24, Díaz notched his 49th save of the season, setting a Mariners single-season record by closing out a 6–3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The previous Mariners franchise single-season saves record was 48 saves by Fernando Rodney in the 2014 season.[23] On August 25, 2018 Díaz became the youngest pitcher to collect 50 saves in a season with a 4–3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 50 saves meant that Seattle manager Scott Servais had to follow through on a bet and get a haircut like that of Díaz. Díaz, who usually keeps the ball after each of his saves, gave Saturday’s to Servais in honor of the bet.

On October 27, Díaz was awarded the AL Reliever of the Year award. He finished the 2018 season with 57 saves (leading the major leagues) and 65 games finished to go with a 1.96 ERA, 124 strikeouts, and a 0.79 WHIP in 73+13 innings. 49 the next night he got his 50th save of the season. [25] His 57 saves, tied with Bobby Thigpen for the second-highest single-season saves total of all-time.

New York Mets

On December 3, 2018, the Mariners traded Díaz, Robinson Canó, and $20 million to the New York Mets for Jay BruceJarred KelenicAnthony SwarzakGerson Bautista, and Justin Dunn.[26] He recorded his first save as a Met on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.

In the first half of the 2019 season, Díaz surrendered more than twice as many hits per nine innings as in the 2018 season and his ERA+ dropped from 210 in 2018 to 74 in the first half of the 2019 campaign. Writing for Deadspin, David Roth described Díaz’s downturn as “arguably the most dramatic and most surprising” of any player’s collapse to that point in the 2019 MLB season.[27]

On September 26, 2019, Díaz allowed his 15th ninth-inning home run of the season, the most 9th innings home runs given up by a single pitcher in a single season in Major League history.[28] He finished the season with 58 innings pitched, 26 saves, and an ERA of 5.59.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Díaz converted six of ten save opportunities and recorded a 1.75 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 14 walks in 25+23 innings.

International play

Díaz played as a relief pitcher, more specifically as a closer for the Puerto Rican national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic where he won a silver medal. He had 2 saves at the tournament: one against Dominican Republic and another against United States, both in the second round.[29] In the semifinal game against the Netherlands, he won the game as Puerto Rico scored in the bottom of the 11th inning for a 4–3 win.

Pitching style

Díaz throws three pitches. His most common pitch is a hard four-seam fastball that has averaged 97.7 miles per hour (157.2 km/h) in his first three seasons in MLB. His other pitches are a slider at an average 88.2 miles per hour (141.9 km/h) and a changeup at an average of 92 miles per hour (148 km/h).[31]

Díaz has been a strikeout pitcher in his MLB career, compiling an average of 14.21 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched through the 2018 season.[32]

Personal life

In the offseason, Díaz spends time in his native Daguao in the Naguabo Municipality in Puerto Rico, where most of his family lives.[1]

Díaz has organized baseball clinics for the children in his hometown as part of his Edwin Díaz Baseball Academy. Robinson Canó and Martín Maldonado have attended these clinics.[33],