Cardinals’ Aledmys Diaz Showing No Issues in Adjustment to US


Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Near the end of spring training, the St. Louis Cardinals made a big but slightly under-the-radar move by signing shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a four-year, $8 million-dollar deal. It showed exactly how intriguing Diaz was when the Cardinals brought him in just a few months after giving shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $53 million-dollar contract. The 23-year-old Cuban defector even drew some Derek Jeter comparisons at the time of his signing, and he immediately became the team’s top infield prospect.

Diaz got in just a few days of spring training after being cleared to play, so he was already at a disadvantage, not even considering the fact that he was playing baseball in the United States for the first time. Nevertheless, Diaz has gotten off to a great start over his first few weeks at Double-A Springfield. Over his first 75 at-bats, he is hitting .307 with three homers and 16 RBI. Though his .321 on-base percentage needs improvement, particularly for a player who will be expected to hit near the top of the lineup, his .841 OPS is certainly acceptable.

Perhaps even more impressive than his hitting ability is how proficient Diaz has been with the glove so far. Through nine games at shortstop, he has a .939 fielding percentage and a 5.11 range factor per game, which blows away all the other shortstops in the Texas League. It’s uncertain as to how soon Diaz will be able to take the big-league shortstop position away from Peralta, but with as good as he has been defensively and as much as Peralta has struggled, it may be sooner than later.

It’s worth noting that Diaz was placed on Springfield’s 7-day disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game with an upper back strain, but this shouldn’t be something that holds him back too long. If Diaz can continue his production, he could be in Triple-A at some point this season and perhaps even position himself for a September big-league call up if he is impressive enough.