Lakeland native Matt Diaz burst on the college baseball scene virtually from his first at bat in 1998 and finished his freshman season as The Sporting NewsFreshman of the Year. He earned first team Freshman All-America honors and was a third team outright All-American as a rookie. He also earned a spot on both the AFCA and NCBWA first team All-America squads as a sophomore.
FSU’s star outfielder posted impressive career numbers over just two seasons including finishing sixth in both batting average (.384) and all-time slugging percentage (.700). His 43 career home runs ranked him among FSU’s all-time Top 10 and he finished 22nd in both RBIs (178) and total bases. Diaz also appears on a number of FSU’s single season Top 25 lists including Top 10 finishes in home runs with 22 in 1998 that ranked 11th all-time, and 21 in 1999 which ranked 13th. His 94 RBIs driven in as a sophomore ranked eighth all-time and his .390 batting average in 1998 was 21st best in Seminole history.
After his sophomore year, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafter Diaz in the 17th round. He went on to lead the Rays in the minor leagues in hits and extra bases. His professional career led him to Kansas City, Braves, Pirates, Yankees and most recently, the Marlins.