The Wolfpacker

May 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Diaz led the Pack with a .390 average (third in the conference), 19 doubles (second) and 44 RBI (tied for third) through April 29. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN steal bases. And having those two at the top of the lineup creates so many opportunities for Danny Canela and Ryan Mathews to drive in runs. Our lineup is so much better with Chris batting second." The Diaz brothers grew up in a baseball household in Miami. They began playing the game as soon as they could hold a bat. Whenever Jonathan or Chris needed some- one to pitch batting practice or hit them ground balls, their father, Tony, was always there. The competition in the Miami area is such that both Diaz brothers grew up playing with and against some of the best players in the country. Jonathan came to NC State pretty much a finished product physically, especially on defense, where his quick first step and vacuum-cleaner glove won him a starting job from day one. Chris was more of a late-bloomer, and figures to continue to im- prove as he fills out and matures physically. "Chris developed at a later age than Jon- athan, so it's not fair to compare him to his older brother," Avent said. "His skills didn't show as early as Jonathan's did … Jona- than kept telling me, 'Coach, he's good and he's going to get better because he's still growing into his body.' So we recruited him and we were fortunate enough that he chose to come to NC State." The Diaz family moved to the Raleigh area five years ago, when Chris was a soph- omore in high school. He played his last three years of high school ball at Apex and earned all-conference honors. He played sporadically as a freshman with the Wolf- pack, then moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore a year ago, when he was the best defensive player on a good defensive team, but also the team's most consistent hitter. Diaz batted .306, third on the Pack, with 12 doubles, two triples and two home runs. After nearly three years of college, Chris can sit back now and actually compare his game to Jonathan's at the same stage. He notes Jonathan's superior defensive skills, especially his quickness and hands, yet acknowledges his own defensive prowess. He mentions that he has more power at the plate than Jonathan, but that understates just how much better a hitter he is than his brother. Jonathan Diaz was an underrated and competitive hitter at NC State on some great offensive teams. Chris Diaz is a con- ference player of the year candidate, one of the best hitters in the ACC. Chris seldom hears comparisons to Jona- than these days, and he shouldn't. He's earned the right to be considered on his own merits. ■ MAY 2012 ■ 61

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