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Descalso with the St. Louis Cardinals
|Colorado Rockies – No. 3|
October 19, 1986 |
Redwood City, California
|September 18, 2010, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through July 14, 2016)
|Runs batted in||150|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Representing United States|
|Baseball World Cup|
|2009 Nettuno||National team|
Daniel William Descalso (born October 19, 1986) is an American professional baseball infielder for the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball (MLB). The St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the third round of the MLB draft from University of California, Davis, and he made his MLB debut for the Cardinals in 2010. A versatile infielder, Descalso has played all four infield positions. He is currently signed through 2016.
Italian-American Descalso was born in Redwood City, California, on October 19, 1986, to Marylou and George Descalso. He is the oldest of six children. He played baseball in San Carlos Little League and went to Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California. He pitched as the team's number 1 starter for three straight seasons, and played 2nd base. He made the All-Central Coast Section squads twice, including first team as a senior, second team as a junior. He made the West Catholic Athletic League first teams in each of last two seasons, including WCAL MVP distinction in 2004. He also played football, winning first-team All-WCAL, second-team All-CCS and honorable mention All-Metro as a senior. He scored three touchdowns against their crosstown rivals during 2003 Homecoming game. He graduated in 2004.
He played baseball at St. Francis HS in Mountain View, California. He went on to UC Davis, where he played third base and majored in economics. In 2007, Descalso was named to the NCAA All-Independent First Team. He put up some of the best stats ever at UC Davis, with a .397 lifetime batting average and 92 career hits. His 22 doubles rank second all-time in school history. Following his junior year, he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 3rd round (112th overall) of the 2007 amateur entry draft. He was selected in the highest draft position ever for an Aggie player.
He is 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) and 190 pounds.
Professional playing career
St. Louis Cardinals
2007 and 2008 seasons
Following the draft, Descalso began his pro career with the Batavia Muckdogs, the Short-Season A affiliate of the Cardinals in the New York–Penn League. He played 69 games for the Muckdogs in 2007, splitting time between 3rd base and 2nd base.
In 2008, Descalso began with the Palm Beach Cardinals, the High-A affiliate of the Cardinals in the Florida State League. He played 115 games in Jupiter, where he batted .243 and played shortstop, 2nd base, and 3rd base. In August 2008, he was advanced to the Springfield Cardinals, the Double-A affiliate in Missouri. He played in just 9 games, but hit .351.
In 2009 with Springfield, Descalso had eight home runs and 51 RBI in 288 at-bats over 73 games, all at 2nd base. His line was an impressive .323/.396/.531. At the end of the 2009 season, he was named to the Double-A Texas League post-season all star team. However, he did not play in that game, instead was promoted to Triple-A Memphis in early July when Jarrett Hoffpauir was recalled by the Cardinals. After the call up, Descalso played most games at 2nd base, with 9 at 1st base.
On September 18, Descalso's contract was purchased by the Cardinals and he was promoted to the major leagues. He officially made his major league debut on September 18, 2010, at home against the San Diego Padres when he was announced as a pinch hitter (although he did not bat and was replaced by right-handed batter Nick Stavinoha). His first game as a starter was on September 22, 2010, against the Pirates at their park, where he garnered his first hit and first RBI on a 2-run double. It was at third base, rather than his natural second base position. Nonetheless, his first MLB career fielding attempt was the front end of a 6–4–3 double play (Descalso-Schumaker–Pujols). He finished the year solidly, and remained on the 40-man roster.
Given his late season performance, Descalso started the 2011 Spring training with a legitimate chance to make the Cardinals. However, the Cards had a number of capable infielders fighting for roster spots, including David Freese, Tyler Greene, Double-A prospect Matt Carpenter, and off-season acquisitions Ryan Theriot and Nick Punto. The difficulty would be determining a position and securing a spot. An injury to Punto and questions about Freese's durability left the Cards desperate for an extra utility infielder (rather than an outfielder). Ultimately, Descalso secured a roster spot out of training camp.
He hit his first major league home run on May 3 in St. Louis in the 7th inning. The three-run blast was a game winner that vaulted the Cardinals to a come-from-behind 7–5 win against the Florida Marlins. In a July 7 game against the Cincinnati Reds, he stroked four hits with two RBI.
Following the 2011 season, Daniel Descalso was a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at third base for the National League, although the honor was later awarded to Plácido Polanco of the Philadelphia Phillies.
After playing regularly at second base during the 2012 season, Descalso played an integral role in the postseason. In Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series, where the Cardinals came back from a 6-run deficit to defeat the Washington Nationals 9–7, Descalso homered, doubled, and then hit a two-run single to tie the game.
On May 21, 2013, Decalso hit his first career grand slam and tallied a career-high five RBI as the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 10–2 at Petco Park. Prior to the game, Descalso was batting just .197 with one home run. For his 2013 season statistics, Descalso batted .238 with five home runs and 42 RBI. He continued his versatility in the infield by making starts at second base, third base, and shortstop.
He filed for a $1.65 million contract request following the season. The Cardinals and Descalso avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $1.29 million contract on January 30, 2014. Descalso made his Major League pitching debut against the Chicago Cubs in the top of the ninth inning with two outs on May 12, 2014. He threw two pitches, recording one out and allowing no hits. With a chance for increased playing time during interleague play against the Baltimore Orioles, he collected five hits in 10 AB over an August 8–10 series.
Within the three consecutive days and four consecutive games, August 30 through September 1, 2014, Descalso became the first Cardinal player in team history to start a game at each of the four infield positions as follows; Saturday August 30, vs. Chicago Cubs (game 1) 2B, Saturday August 30, vs. Chicago Cubs (game 2) SS, Sunday August 31, vs. Chicago Cubs 1B, Monday, September 1, vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3B.
Colorado Rockies (2015)
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- Descalso's first homer lifts Cards over Marlins, MLB.com (May 3, 2011)
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- Rob Rains, "Four Cardinals are finalists for Gold Glove awards–UPDATE: MOLINA WINS", StLSportsPage, 31 Oct. 2011
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- Hummel, Rick (January 30, 2014). "Cards, Descalso agree to $1.29 million deal". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
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- Crasnick, Jerry (December 16, 2014). "Daniel Descalso joins Rockies". ESPN.com.
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