When Paul DeJong arrived to the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, he made an instant impact with 25 home runs in 108 games. Many times, the nature for many is to pro-rate it over a full season and expect huge numbers.
It rarely happens, but we didn’t get to see a full season from DeJong in 2018 since he was hit by a pitcher fractured his left hand in May limiting him to 115 games. Shortstop is one of the deeper positions in 2019 and DeJong is one of the better bargains in drafts. He has an ADP of 207.36 on fantrax.com as the 14th shortstop off the board. He has an ADP of 187.58 in the NFBC.
There’s talk DeJong could hit third in the Cardinals lineup and that’s a big boost. DeJong had a slash line of .285/.325/.532 with 55 runs, 25 home runs and 65 RBIs in 417 at-bats two years ago. He didn’t show the best plate discipline with a 28 percent strikeout rate and 4.7 percent walk rate. He improved in that area last season with a 25.1 percent strikeout rate and 7.3 percent walk rate.
In 2018, DeJong had a slash line of .241/.313/.433 with 68 runs, 19 home runs, 68 RBIs in 436 at-bats. DeJong projects to be a .260 hitter, but the power is real and if he hits third the counting stats will be excellent likely batting between Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna.
DeJong had a 42.9 percent fly ball rate in 2017 and 44 percent last season. He also hits a lot of line drives with a 23.5 percent mark in 2017 and 24.2 percent last year. He had a 36.4 percent hard hit rate in 2017 and 38.7 percent last year.
Don’t underestimate the position in the batting order. If DeJong hits third, it provides him with plenty of opportunities to hit with runners on base. DeJong had at least one at-bat in every spot in the batting order except leadoff last season. He had the most at-bats batting third and had 20 RBIs in 35 games.
DeJong was batting .260 with an .824 OPS before the fractured hand. When DeJong returned from the hand injury, he struggled and that’s not surprising. In 21 July games, he batted .217 with one home run and seven RBIs in 83 at-bats. In the final 66 games, DeJong had 11 home runs and 49 RBIs.
If you’re in need of a shortstop in the middle of the draft that provides power and RBIs, DeJong is one of a few options that fits the build.
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