Which former St. Louis Cardinals are making an impact this postseason? Well, there are quite a lot of them.
The St. Louis Cardinals might be out of the playoffs, but many former players from this decade are still left.
In fact, seven of the eight remaining playoff teams have a Cardinal connection– the Dodgers are the only squad without a former Cardinal on the coaching staff or the 40-man roster.
Here’s how these players have performed this year– maybe we can root for some of our old favorites, even though they no longer wear the Birds on the Bat.
ATLANTA BRAVES- Marcell Ozuna
We don’t have to spend too much time on this one– after signing a team-friendly one-year deal this offseason, every Cardinal fan is pretty aware of how well Marcell Ozuna has hit for the Braves. Ozuna’s stay in St. Louis wasn’t that long, and it’s quite possible that he wouldn’t have unlocked this incredible form if he had stayed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t take away the sting of seeing him lead the National League in home runs this season.
Cardinal fans are quite familiar with this team after the Wild Card round. It is strange how many St. Louis Cardinals are on this team, though. Tommy Pham had an unfortunate injury this season but is rounding back into his All-Star form. Rosenthal has been one of the best relievers in baseball this year, and Garcia has provided quality utility infield minutes, just as he did in St. Louis. It’s hard to root for the team that just knocked you out, but these five are all fan favorites that I would like to see do well.
The Marlins did us all a huge favor by beating the Cubs in the Wild Card round. Two of the reasons for their success are former Cardinal prospects, Alcantara and Sierra. Alcantara has developed into a legitimate front-end starter and would be leading the Marlins if it weren’t for the arrival of Sixto Sanchez.
Sierra hasn’t been a large contributor on offense, but he has been a solid defender this season, with no errors despite logging multiple innings at each outfield position. In this unpredictable season, the Marlins are the ultimate underdogs– who wouldn’t want to see them win it all?
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We’ll start with Ottavino– we forget that before he developed into a dominant reliever who wears number zero and claimed he could strike out Babe Ruth, he was buried in the depths of the Cardinal bullpen.
The story of St. Louisan Luke Voit, on the other hand, is very well-known. Despite all the incredible power that surrounds him in the New York lineup, it is Voit who led the American League in home runs this season. I don’t think anyone actually likes the Yankees, but it’s good to see a local player producing at a high level.
If you go to the dictionary, the picture next to the words “breakout season” is Randy A. He has done nothing but hit over the last month for the Rays, including a home run in game one of the ALDS.
We’ll see how Matthew Liberatore, the pitcher the Cardinals acquired for Arozarena, performs once he reaches the big leagues, but at the moment, Arozarena looks like a five-tool player that got away. Another great move by the incredible Rays front office– let’s see if it turns into the postseason success that has always eluded them.
HOUSTON ASTROS- Aledmys Diaz
Aledmys Diaz has bounced around since being traded by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017. He has yet to resume his All-Star level production from his rookie season in 2016, but Diaz has latched on as a quality backup in Houston.
In fact, Diaz has played five different positions this season for the Astros, swatting three home runs in only 58 at-bats. Unfortunately for Diaz, the Astros remain Public Enemy #1 this year. It’s nice to see him succeed again, but there are very few fans out there rooting for his team.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS- Stephen Piscotty
After a great debut with the A’s in 2018, Piscotty has been just above a replacement-level outfielder. He’s played in 45 games this season, almost all in right field, and has provided some consistency for a lineup that has struggled to break out. Oakland hasn’t had playoff success in a long, long time. Piscotty will always be a fan-favorite. Put it all together, and I think we might have a team to support the rest of October.
It will be easy for a lot of fans to read about the success of former players and blame the front office for letting them go. It’s more of a challenge to go back in time to the original deal and look at the reasons why the move was made– nine times out of ten, we would make the same decision. Instead of being angry that these former Cardinals are no longer in St. Louis, I’m happy that they found a setting that allows them to play at their highest level.
When it comes to picking a team to support, however, I’m the kind of fan that doesn’t want anyone to win now that the Cardinals are eliminated. If you have to choose purely based off of former Cardinals, an Athletics-Padres World Series would be pretty awesome. Alternatively, the Marlins winning the World Series would be one of the strangest and potentially greatest sports stories in recent history.
In the end, the list of former Cardinals succeeding in the playoffs shows us once again how great the Cardinals are at developing talent. It’s difficult to watch the playoffs without seeing the Cardinals still in it, but we can take solace in the fact that they will be back in competition next year.