It's a shame that Aledmys Diaz missed over a month courtesy of a fractured thumb, as St. Louis' under-the-radar rookie was in the midst of a phenomenal debut season. Despite dealing with the thumb injury, he still finished the year with an outstanding .300/.369/.510 line to go with 17 home runs and 65 RBI. Unfortunately, his defensive display was subpar and led to a .961 fielding percentage and 2.7 WAR. Diaz is fully expected to keep the title of starting shortstop, and with better health, should blow past his total of 111 games from a year ago. Prospective owners will want to be aware of the inherent risk that follows Diaz; due to him entering the league with little pedigree, the danger that he regresses during his sophomore season is more prevalent than with more proven prospects. However, if he continues to produce at a rate close to that from 2016, Diaz should finish inside the top 15 at the position.
Diaz went 2-for-2 with an RBI double, another two-bagger and two runs in Wednesday's 9-3 Grapefruit League victory over the Nationals. Diaz boosted his explosive spring stat line to .474/.450/.579 with the effort, with the pair of doubles representing his first extra-base hits of spring. The Cardinals' everyday shortstop heading into the regular season, Diaz will be a coveted fantasy asset in all formats, although it remains to be seen if the 17 home runs he blasted in 2016 were an outlier; prior to last season, Diaz had not posted more than 10 round-trippers in any of his five minor league stops.
Diaz went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles, sacrifice fly and one run in Sunday's 7-4 Grapefruit League win over the Marlins. Diaz brought home Eric Fryer with his fourth-inning sac fly after having been driven in himself by Yadier Molina's second-inning two-bagger. Now in full possession of the starting shortstop job, the second-year phenom will look to build on his stellar .300/.369/.510 line from 2016 in the coming season.
Diaz went 2-for-4 with a double in Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Pirates. The rookie standout continues to wield a hot bat, with Saturday's production representing his third straight game with a hit and second multi-hit effort over that span. Diaz slumped overall in September but has turned in a 2016 campaign that exceeded expectations, parlaying Jhonny Peralta's spring training thumb injury into an opportunity that has led to a stellar .303/.371/.515 line over 400 at-bats.
Diaz (personal) is back in the lineup Tuesday against the Reds. Diaz was away from the team for one game, but he'll re-enter the lineup now that he's back in town. The 26-year-old will take over at shortstop and bat seventh in the Cardinals batting order.
Diaz is away from the team to be with his family in Miami, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Diaz was good friends with Jose Fernandez growing up, so he left for Miami to offer consolation to his family.