Diego is the youngest of 10 children…he has six brothers and three sisters...He was signed in 2014 at 20 years old…in 2018, Baseball America wrote that 54.9 percent of major league players who were signed as amateurs out of the Dominican Republic or Venezuela were signed at age 16…the majority of international prospects to reach the major leagues were signed by age 18...Diego is known to cook for his teammates…he learned to cook as a 10-year-old by watching his mother in the kitchen…he once shared his special family recipe of chicken, rice and plantains in a November 2016 cooking video on the Rays Twitter account.
Made 65 apps including 6 starts as an opener… after returning from his June 23-July 11 stint on the 10-day IL for right shoulder inflammation, went 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA (34.1-IP, 11-ER) in 32 apps (6 starts)…went 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA (14.2-IP, 2-ER) in 12 apps in September...Ranked 2nd on the team with 8 saves, behind Emilio Pagán (20)…seven of those came before the All-Star break...Suffered 8 losses, including seven in relief, tied for 5th-most among major league relievers and tied for 2nd-most in the AL...His average fastball velocity, according to FanGraphs, was 98.3 mph…his hardest-thrown pitch, according to StatCast, was 100.7 mph...Made his first Opening Day roster…did not allow an earned run in his first 9 apps spanning 10 IP, with 3 hits, 3 BB and 10 SO over that span...On March 31 vs. HOU, recorded his first career save in the Rays fourth game...On April 19 vs. BOS, yielded back-to-back homers to Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland to start the 8th inning, the first time in his career he allowed multiple homers in an outing…was the third time in franchise history a pitcher faced multiple batters and allowed homers to every batter faced, following Chris Archer on Sep 2, 2017 at CWS (2 BF, removed due to injury) and Alex Colomé on Aug 26, 2016 at HOU (2 BF, including a walk-off homer)...On May 31 vs. MIN, inherited 1-on, 2-out in the 8th inning and retired Miguel Sanó to end the frame…loaded the bases without allowing a hit (HBP, IBB, HBP) in the 9th inning and took the loss when Adam Kolarek allowed a 2-run single…was the first time in his career he hit multiple batters in an outing...On June 20 at OAK, yielded a career-high 4 runs, including a 3-run, walk-off homer to Matt Chapman for a blown save…walked the No. 6 and No. 8 hitters to put 2-on, 2-out for the top of the order…it was the first time in his career he was on the mound for a walk-off loss.
Recalled from Triple-A Durham on June 5, his first career major league action, and remained with the Rays through the end of the season… his 43 apps ranked 8th among AL rookies and 5th after the date of his call up...Min. 50 IP, his .178 opp avg. (36-for-202) led the AL…it was the best mark by an AL rookie since NYY Dellin Betances (.149) in 2014...Made 32 relief apps and 11 starts as an opener… he and Ryne Stanek became the first pair of rookie teammates in major league history to each make at least 10 starts and 30 relief apps...His avg. fastball velocity was 97.7 mph, according to StatCast, and his max velocity was 101.9 mph in his start on Sep 19 at TEX....His 11 starts all came over his final 14 outings, and the Rays went 9-2 in those starts…seven of his last 8 apps came as an opener…recorded a 2.65 ERA (17-IP, 5-ER) with 2 BB and 21 SO as a starter…posted a 3.40 ERA (39.2-IP, 15-ER) with 16 BB and 44 SO as a reliever...Recorded multiple strikeouts in the first 5 apps of his career, all as a reliever, the first reliever to do that since LAD Grant Dayton in 2016 and first in the AL since TEX Neftalí Feliz in 2009, according to Baseball Reference…is the only Rays reliever to ever begin his career in this fashion...On June 6 at WAS, made his major league debut and pitched a perfect 7th inning, including strikeouts of Brian Goodwin and Trea Turner...On June 13 vs. TOR, recorded his first career win in his fourth career app…his only baserunner allowed in 2 IP was a 8th-inning, 2-out single...On July 1 vs. HOU, inherited the bases loaded with 1 out in the 8th inning…struck out José Altuve on a 10-pitch at-bat and got a groundout for the third out…the Rays held on to win, 3-2...On Aug 19 at BOS, made his first career start and did not allow a run in 1.2 IP…in 14 apps (11 starts) from the date of his first start through the end of the season, he threw 50 pitches clocked at 100 mph or more…did this only once in his first 29 apps of the season...The Rays won his first 6 starts, the second time they won the first 6 starts of a pitcher's Rays career, joining Tanyon Sturtze (7-0) in 2000-01...Recorded a 1.72 ERA (15.2-IP, 3-ER) in 10 apps (8 starts) in September…from Aug 8 through season's end, went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA (27.2-IP, 6-ER) in 18 apps (11 starts)...Named the Rays Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May…did not allow a run in 10 apps spanning 14.2 IP, with 0 BB and 18 SO.
Split the season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, earning a June 3 promotion…marked the third straight year he received an in-season promotion…combined to go 4-5 with a 2.76 ERA (71.2-IP, 22-ER) and 15 saves in 51 apps (1 start) between the two levels...Named Minor League Reliever of the Year by the Rays Baseball Operations department…led the Rays system in saves (15) for a second consecutive year.... His 2.76 ERA was a career low…his 4 wins, 51 apps, 15 saves, 71.2 IP and 90 SO were all career highs, as were his 11.30 SO/9 IP and 4.50 SO/BB ratios... Recorded the save in the Governors' Cupclinching win over Scranton/WilkesBarre (Yankees) and the Triple-A National Championship Game over Memphis (Cardinals)… did not allow a run in 4 apps in the IL postseason spanning 5 IP (1-H, 0-BB, 8-SO).... Made one relief app for the Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League... Named to the Rays Organizational All-Star Team by MLB.com... Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 29 prospect in the Rays system following the season… the publication noted he has touched 101 mph with his fastball.