Daniel Descalso was drafted by the Cardinals in the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB draft out of the University of California-Davis.
The Mountain View, CA native moved through the Cardinal system quickly, reaching AA for the first time at the very tail end of 2008. He slashed .351/.405/.432 in the final nine contests of the 2008 season with Springfield.
From 2009-2010, Descalso slashed .290/.357/.439 between Springfield and Memphis, before making the Cardinals’ 2011 Opening Day roster at 24-years-old. Descalso actually beat out a guy by the name of Matt Carpenter for the team’s final roster spot ahead of that World Championship season.
Descalso’s first full season with the club was actually his most productive one, at least from an offensive numbers standpoint. Serving as the team’s utility infielder, Descalso slashed .264/.334/.353 in 148 games with the Cardinals in 2011. He was on the field for the final out of Game 7 of the World Series that year, playing third base.
Descalso’s biggest Cardinal moment came in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against the Washington Nationals. In overcoming a 6-run deficit while facing elimination, Descalso homered and doubled early in the game.
Then, with the Cardinals trailing 7-5 in the top of the ninth, Descalso stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. He abruptly lined Drew Storen‘s 94 mile-per-hour first pitch fastball off of shortstop Ian Desmond‘s glove and into shallow center field.
The Cardinals tied the game on that play and would take a 9-7 lead on a Pete Kozma single, right after Descalso stole second base. They would hold on in the bottom of the ninth and move on to their second consecutive NLCS.
Descalso was a valuable utility man for the Cardinals in each of his four seasons with the club. At the tail end of 2014, he set a record by being the first player to start at each different infield position in four consecutive games (catcher excluded).
Following the 2014 season, Descalso elected free agency in search of additional at-bats that he was not going to get in St. Louis. As a result, he signed on with the Colorado Rockies to a two year, $3.6 million deal.
Unfortunately, Descalso struggled with the bat in 2015, despite playing home games at the hitter-friendly Coors Field. Over 209 plate appearances last year, Descalso slashed just .205/.283/.324 with five home runs and 22 runs batted in.
Descalso is listed on the Rockies’ MLB.com page as the backup shortstop to Jose Reyes heading into 2016. With 2016 being a contract year for Descalso, he will look to make some positive strides with the bat and make a case for himself headed into coming free agency.