- Avg ranking (high/low/most common): 40.63 (20/50/49)
- Seasons: 1998 - July, 2000
- Stats: 71 starts, 473.1 IP, 4.11 ERA, 109 ERA+, 6.9 bWAR
- Best season: 1998 - 33 games, 23 starts, 162.2 IP, 2.88 ERA, 146 ERA+, 4.2 bWAR
Omar Jesus Daal Cordero is the first player in our all-time top-50 countdown to be a member of the Diamondbacks’ inaugural 1998 season. Selected from the Toronto Blue Jays as the 31st pick in the 1997 expansion draft, Daal’s career-best 1998 was derailed by playing for a terrible inaugural Diamondbacks team. Despite a sterling 2.88 ERA, Dal’s end-results did not match his peripherals, as he finished the season an 8-12 record. Daal followed up that 1998 season with a strong 1999 campaign, slotting as the team’s number two pitcher behind offseason free agent acquisition, Randy Johnson. Daal’s 1999 saw him make 32 starts and pitch 214.2 innings. It would be the only season in his career which would see him eclipse the 200 inning mark. Playing for that playoff team, Daal’s record for the season was a much-improved 16-9. He also managed a respectable 3.65 ERA and a 125 ERA+ on way to posting 4.6 bWAR. Despite being abused rather soundly by the New York Mets in the 1999 NLDS, the future looked bright for the 27-year-old left-hander.
Then the 2000 season rolled around. In 2000 the wheels seemed to simply fall off for Daal. Strikeouts plummeted, walks went up, hits became plentiful, and the gopher ball was a constant nemesis. By July, Daal had already lost 10 games and was posting an ERA of 7.22. Despite his struggles though, Daal’s positive contributions to the Diamondbacks were far from over.
On July 26th, Daal, along with three other Diamondbacks (Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, and Vicente Padilla), was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for embattled, but undeniably talented starter, Curt Schilling. Daal’s performance tuned around some after the trade, though he would still go 2-9 over the rest of the season and end the year with a league-leading 19 losses. Over the next three seasons, Daal would go on to play for three different clubs with varied but underwhelming results before having arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder which effectively ended his career. Meanwhile, Schilling would go on to be co-MVP of the historic 2001 World Series team.
Daal never pitched in the big leagues again after the 2003 season. He has since retired to Mesa, Arizona where he is the coach of both a 12u and 13u baseball team.