St. Louis Cardinals: 7 Cardinals who were blessed by Devil Magic

jbuchheit
CHICAGO - JULY 4: Second baseman Bo Hart #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into home ahead of a tag attempt by catcher Daimian Miller #27 of the Chicago Cubs in the eighh inning of a game on July 4, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 11-8. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - JULY 4: Second baseman Bo Hart #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into home ahead of a tag attempt by catcher Daimian Miller #27 of the Chicago Cubs in the eighh inning of a game on July 4, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 11-8. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 14: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 14: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images) /

Aledmys Diaz

Unlike Hazelbaker, Aledmys Diaz impressed throughout the entirety of 2016 and seemed to be the shortstop of the future. Diaz played in the Cuban National Series from 2007 to 2012 and hit .307 over those years, although he struggled in the field.

He was initially promoted to the major leagues to keep the seat warm until the return of Ruben Tejada from an injury he sustained in Spring Training, and Tejada was planned to ultimately give way to the injured Jhonny Peralta, who would reclaim his starting role.

Diaz punted all those expectations by the wayside with his performance, however. When Peralta returned, he switched to third base to let Diaz man shortstop full time. In his 404 at-bats in 2016, Diaz hit an even .300, including setting a record by being the first rookie to hit .500 in his first 50 at-bats. While his defense was originally subpar, he eventually became decent at the position.

Diaz replaced an injured Matt Carpenter on the 2016 National League All-Star team, earning his first and so far only All-Star nod and finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. He also hit a grand slam on Sept. 27 and honored his recently deceased friend, former Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, in an emotional celebration.

That concluded the Devil Magic’s effects on Diaz, as his 2017 season was much less impressive. He lost his position to rookie Paul DeJong, and after the season, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league outfielder J.B. Woodman.

Diaz hasn’t completely fallen off the face of the earth the way some other players on this list have, but he hasn’t come close to emulating his rookie performance. He played for the Houston Astros in 2019 and 2020, hitting a line of .265/.337/.470. While the magic has clearly worn off, Diaz has shown that he can remain a decent if unspectacular major league player.

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