The story which emerged as our favorite from 2017 was a trip to Florida to see Cardinals' minor-league pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon, recovering after being hit in the head by a line drive. 

By Rob Rains


Looking back over STLSportsPage’s stories from the past 12 months, the ones which emerged as our favorites all concerned baseball players or coaches at various stages of their careers. The most memorable story was a visit with Cardinals’ minor-league pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon at his home in Florida, three months after he was hit in the head by a line drive.

Poncedeleon is scheduled to report to the Cardinals’ instructional league program in January and then will be with the Cardinals in spring training in the next stages of his return to the mound.

If you missed it, here is the link to the story, which originally was published on Aug. 9:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11780/three-months-after-injury-poncedeleon-cleared-for-baseball-activities.aspx#sthash.6iGDKVRg.dpbs

In case you missed any of these other stories during the year, here is the rest of STLSportsPage.com’s favorite stories of 2017, presented in chronological order:

On March 15, we told the story of another pitcher who was trying to make a comeback in the Cardinals’ minor-league system, former Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, who had been battling control problems and was hoping a change to a sidearm delivery would bring better results. Here is the link to that story:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11459/daniel-bard-s-journey-to-get-back-to-majors-brings-him-to-cardinals.aspx#sthash.Emy1S77F.dpbs

Unfortunately, Bard’s struggles continued as the regular season began and he was released by the Cardinals on May 15. He signed a month later with the Mets, but pitched in only one Gulf Coast League game.

On March 29, our profile subject was Oliver Marmol, the new first-base coach for the Cardinals, who made it to the majors despite never having played about Class A or having managed hirer than that level. Here is the link to the story:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11497/oli-marmol-earned-promotion-to-cardinals-major-league-staff.aspx#sthash.jSAjio35.dpbs

One of our favorite events every year is the baseball draft in June, and this year was no exception even though the Cardinals were stripped of their top picks as part of the penalty for a former employee hacking into the Astros’ computer database.

The highlight of this year’s draft was the story of local third baseman Jake Burger, a CBC graduate playing at Missouri State, who turned himself from an undrafted player coming out of high school into the first-round selection of the Chicago White Sox, the 11th overall pick in the draft.

Here is the link to the story published on the eve of the draft, when Burger became the first position player from the St. Louis area drafted in the first round since 1978:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11672/missouri-states-success-has-kept-jake-burgers-focus-off-mlb-draft.aspx#sthash.xjKNlPqV.dpbs

Burger played well in his first pro season, posting a .271 average with four homers and 27 RBIs in 47 games for the White Sox’ low Class A affiliate.

It was another first-round selection who was featured in a story before Jack Flaherty represented the Cardinals in the Futures Game on July 9 in Miami. He went on to make his major-league debut on Sept. 1, when we reposted the story about how the only trophy displayed in his home in California was from a team championship when he was 7 years old.

Here is the link to that story:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11724/-little-league-trophy-tells-story-of-cardinals-prospect-jack-flaherty.aspx#sthash.M9c6hBqo.dpbs

On July 16, just a year after he was a National League All-Star, Aledmys Diaz was playing for Triple A Memphis when he talked about the roller-coaster ride his baseball career had taken over the previous two years. Here is the link to the story:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11739/last-two-years-have-been-a-wild-roller-coaster-ride-for-aledmys-diaz.aspx#sthash.GasQOKeN.dpbs

The turbulent ride continued for Diaz, who saw his time with the Cardinals come to an end after the season when he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Diaz lost his job as the Cardinals’ shortstop to a new rookie, Paul DeJong, who burst onto the major-league scene in the middle of the year and went on to finish second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

On Aug. 2, we sat down with DeJong to talk about his first two months in the majors, and how the roots of his success were planted long before that. Here is the link to the story:

http://www.stlsportspage.com/CARDSBASEBALL/tabid/91/entryid/11768/paul-dejong-s-early-success-with-cardinals-was-years-in-the-making.aspx#sthash.Agy1WB49.dpbs

As we look forward to 2018, the staff of STLSportsPage.com is thankful for all of our readers and we look forward to providing more great feature coverage, such as these seven stories, over the next 12 months.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains