Yadier Molina, C, 2012 – 563 PA, .315/.373/.501, 22 HR, 9.8 K%, 137 OPS+
Yadi had the best offensive season of his career in 2012, en route to a 4th place MVP finish. He set his career-high in home runs, as well as OPS+. He basically never struck out and that turned out to work pretty dang well for him.
Allen Craig, 1B/OF, 2012 – 514 PA, .307/.354/.522, 35 doubles, 22 HR, 137 OPS+
Craig was Jose Martinez before Jose Martinez. The dynamic bench bat got his shot at a full-time starter and thrived in 2012. The “RBI Machine” had an incredibly successful three year stretch with the team before fading into obscurity following a 2014 trade to Boston.
Aledmys Diaz, SS, 2016 – 460 PA, .300/.369/.510, 48 XBH, 134 OPS+
Following an injury to incumbent shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, prior to the 2016 season, the little known Cuban import put up an All-Star performance in his rookie year. Diaz looked like the answer to the long-running shortstop issues in St. Louis before struggling to start 2017 and was eventually replaced by Paul DeJong.