St. Louis Cardinals: Appreciating Aledmys Diaz
The St. Louis Cardinals’ Aledmys Diaz has surprised everyone and surpassed all expectations and is a comeback story we don’t hear often.
July 9, 2015, the day that the St. Louis Cardinals‘ shortstop Aledmys Diaz will remember forever. That was the day he was called into Dann Bilardello‘s office to be informed that he was being designated for assignment by John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cuban prospect had been quite a disappointment to that point.
He struggled with injuries and an inability to adapt to life and professional baseball in an entirely different country. Prior to the demotion from the 40 man roster, Diaz had months of hitting .241, .225, and .230. So, something had to be done to get Diaz going and to give the St. Louis Cardinals room to add first baseman Dan Johnson (who is now playing semi-professional baseball in New England) to the big club.
The move gave Diaz some time to think about his potential future with the club and what he needed to do to change things up for the better. The refocus was enough for Diaz as he finally started to show the promise that prompted him to be a highly coveted Cuban free agent in 2014.
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After the move, Diaz put up a .773 OPS in July. He then continued to improve with a 1.068 OPS between Springfield and Memphis in August and a 1.248 OPS in seven games in September. This hot finish started to give Diaz consideration to potentially be a candidate for the St. Louis Cardinals during September’s major league roster expansion period.
Diaz’s improved production wasn’t quite enough to join a St. Louis Cardinals’ club that was in a bit of tailspin trying to hold off the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs for the Central Division. However, the club did want to see more of Diaz as they sent him off to play for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall Leauge.
It was there where he really got the club’s attention and completed his comeback to being a top prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals. In 20 games there, Diaz hit .315/.370/.616, knocking in a total of 13 extra base-hits (8 Doubles, 4 Homers, 1 Triple). However, Diaz wasn’t able to make the club out of Spring Training. That lasted all of one game as Diaz was called up after the second game of the season.
Diaz hasn’t looked backed as he has absolutely been one of the best (if not the best) players on this year’s rendition of the St. Louis Cardinals. in 83 games this season, Diaz is hitting .315/.381/.533 with a .914 OPS. Diaz was also the only Cardinal to appear in the All-Star Game last Tuesday, unfortunately striking out in his only plate appearance on the night.
Diaz has almost certainly cemented himself as the shortstop of both the present and the future. Not only that, but he is yet another gem to come from the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system.
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While there is still half a season to go, there is a chance the Cardinals could have themselves the NL rookie of the year and without a doubt one of the best stories of the year, despite that Trevor Story fellow.