One of our favorite stories of the year was the evolution of Alex Reyes, shortly before he was promoted to the Cardinals from Memphis. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

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 at various stages of their careers.

In case you missed any of them during the year, here are the links to’s favorite stories of 2016, presented in chronological order:

On Feb. 15, we found former Cardinals pitcher John Gast, who retired from the game to begin a new career roasting coffee in Lawrence, Kan.

     John Gast moves on from Cardinals; he's now roasting coffee

On April 12, we told the story of a sensational start to the season for Cardinals’ outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker and the case of Hazelbaker Fever that was sweeping not only over St. Louis but through his hometown in Indiana as well. 

      Hazelbaker fever spreading from St. Louis to his Indiana hometown

On July 7, we told another success story – how Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz had gone from being designated for assignment at Double A less than a year earlier to becoming the starting shortstop for the Cardinals and a member of the National League All-Star team.

     Being named to All-Star team caps remarkable year for Diaz

On July 27, we took a look at three 17-year-old prospects just getting started with their professional careers at the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Cardinals – Delvin Perez, Dylan Carlson and Alvaro Seijas.

     Three 17-year-old prospects could be big part of Cardinals’ future

On July 28, our profile subject was the player considered the best prospect in the Cardinals’ farm system, and one of the best in baseball, Alex Reyes, as he was on the cusp of making his major-league debut.

     Learning every day - the evolution of Cardinals' prospect Alex Reyes

On Aug. 22, we went to Louisiana to tell how an injury that sent Mason Katz home early from Double A Springfield had turned out to be a blessing, giving him a chance to come to the aid of flood victims in his home state.

     Cards' minor-leaguer Mason Katz providing help to flood victims

On Aug. 28, we ran a story which included very candid comments from Cardinals’ second baseman Kolten Wong about how he was coping during a very frustrating season.

     Wong watches, wonders about his future with Cardinals

On Dec. 13, we caught up with Austin Wilson, a player drafted by the Cardinals out of high school but who instead went to Stanford and signed with the Mariners, but was now finally in the St. Louis organization after being selected in the Rule 5 draft. 

     Austin Wilson excited about new opportunity with Cardinals
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains