By Rob Rains
It’s always a fun assignment as the end of the year approaches to look back on the previous 12 months and select our favorite stories of the year from STLSportsPage.com. Doing so for 2019 was no different.
The stories ran the baseball gamut. Our list includes a profile of a player drafted out of high school by the Cardinals after a severe eye injury threatened to end his career before it had a chance to begin. Compare that story to what emerged as our favorite story of the year which was 33 years in the making, about Mark DeJohn, who retired after a career with the Cardinals that lasted more than three decades.
We also detailed the success as a rookie of Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks as he began what he hoped would be another big season in 2019, only to see an injury get in the way. We dove into how the Cardinals drafted and signed a player who could emerge as the “steal of the draft” according to one expert, even though many people did not know Trejyn Fletcher’s name prior to his selection by the Cardinals in the second round.
Our list of favorite stories of the year also included profiles of Cardinals’ rookie Tommy Edman; a look at the faith that drives Paul Goldschmidt, and a day in the life of top prospect Dylan Carlson.
We also told the story of a former first-round draft pick, still trying to establish himself in the minor leagues, and of a pitcher who never was drafted but emerged as a prospect when he reached the Triple A starting rotation.
In case you missed any of those stories, here is a chronological look back at our favorite stories we published this year, with links to the stories:
A year after he was unceremoniously sent out of the Cardinals’ major-league spring training camp, Jordan Hicks looked back at a year when his life changed, and talked about all of the reasons for that change, in our profile. CLICK HERE to read the story.
Later in the spring we sat down with former first-round pick Delvin Perez, struggling to remain a top prospect. Perez was candid, as was Hicks, in the reasons for the slow start to his career and discussed how he knew the upcoming season was going to be “the most important year of my career.” To read the story CLICK HERE.
Anthony Shew could have been drafted five times but never was, becoming a professional for $1,000 and a plane ticket. He got what he wanted most, however, a chance, and our profile on June 3 demonstrated how he has taken advantage of the opportunity with the Cardinals.CLICK HERE for the story.
One year after he suffered a serious eye injury during a game when he was a junior in high school that threatened his vision, the Cardinals drafted pitcher Tyler Statler. We told his story on June 5. CLICK HERE to read it.
The Cardinals’ second-round pick in this year’s draft was a high school outfielder from Maine, Trejyn Fletcher. On June 26 we took an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at how the Cardinals scouted Fletcher during the previous year, hoping nobody else would pick him before they got the chance. To read the story CLICK HERE.
Paul Goldschmidt does now talk much about his strong Christian faith but he did in our profile published on July 11 as he discussed the first half of his first season with the Cardinals and looked ahead to what he hoped would be a strong finish to the season for him and the team. CLICK HERE to read the story.
Nobody in the Cardinals’ farm system had a better 2019 than Dylan Carlson, and we spent a day with him in August in Springfield, illustrating what he does on a daily basis that had made him the organization’s top prospect. To read the story CLICK HERE.
We spent a lot of time during the season talking with people at every level about Mark DeJohn, and how big a blow his retirement was going to be to the organization. The result was a 5,800-word profile in what became our favorite story from 2019. If you missed that story,CLICK HERE.
The player who all Cardinals fans were talking about the second half of the season was rookie Tommy Edman, who emerged as one of the best players on the team despite having rarely been included on lists top prospects. We told his story on Sept. 18. CLICK HERE
As has been the case for the last eight years, thanks to you, our readers, for supporting STLSportsPage.com and to our advertisers who let us keep this as a free site and provide us with the opportunity to write these kinds of stories.
We look forward to finding more great stories to write in 2020 in addition to our daily coverage of the Cardinals beginning with the Winter Warmup in January and spring training beginning in February.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains