After a breakout first season which included an appearance in the All-Star Game, Aledmys Diaz gets sent back to the minors in his sophomore season.
Recently, Aledmys Diaz was demoted to AAA in order to make room for first-time call-up Alex Mejia. Mejia, a 26 year old infield utility player, is a somewhat surprising call up. Since Mejia was only batting .251 with a .671 OPS, one has to figure that the exchange was completed with the “rehab” of Diaz in mind, without any real anticipation of Mejia to really succeed. However, this may not be entirely fair.
Diaz, when he was first called up hadn’t been doing phenomenally either– batting around the .280 mark in the two years leading up. Cardinals management just seems to have a knack for finding talent and giving the right stage to succeed.
So what happened to Diaz that made him deserve a demotion?
Well if you look just at batting average, the move doesn’t really make sense. Sure hitting .260 is disappointing drop-off from his rookie season, but its not the reason he was demoted. To find the reason, you have to look beyond the batting-average.
Even though he has the most hits of any Cardinal this season (71), he has an abysmal OPS of .688. This shows a lapse in power and extra-base hit potential, both of which he exhibited a ton last season. His plate vision also seems to be way off. Diaz has struck out 41 times, but only has 13 walks.
When you look at these details, the demotion becomes a little more understandable. Even though one could argue his performance didn’t warrant being sent down, a week or two with some worse pitching to restore his swing and plate-vision would do him good.
Additionally, if things don’t get better for him and his stay in the minors becomes more permanent than expected, the Cardinals’ hold on Diaz lengthens by a season. So whether Diaz rebounds instantly, or requires a month or so, the swap is a good move.
How did you feel when you heard about the news of Diaz’s demotion? Did you agree with it or not?
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