Recently in a podcast on CN24/7 Network with Ron Nuttall, Derek King and guests, Paul DeJong's name came up. Positive discussion regarding the Cardinals shortstop.
Many, again, don't see his potential as I do, along with other fans who views him in a positive manner. He's young and still developing into a very strong presence for our Cardinals. Both, defensively and offensively.
Obviously, the St. Louis Cardinals saw in him a great future as he was signed in March of 2018 to a six year, $26 M, contract. To forego his arbitration eligible years through his first eligible free agency in 2023. Earliest FA will be 2024. Which Cardinals hold a $12.5 M team option with a $2 M buyout for 2024. In 2025 - $15 M team option with a $1 M buyout.
In a recent article featuring John Rooney, 'The Voice of KMOX' radio in St. Louis. He feels DeJong has the makings of another Yadier Molina, that of Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols.
Why? DeJong's field presence. Much like the Cardinals extreme field general, Molina, he is alert to who should be where on the field. And he works to make it happen. He will become, from the shortstop position, a field manager in his own right. Currently, I'm sure he takes note/direction, also, from Molina who is "all seeing" from behind the plate.
DeJong made his debut in 2017 as he eventually took over as shortstop with great defensive plays and held a .285/.325/.532/.857 slashline. He was named the #2 NL Rookie of the Year even though only playing in 108 games.
In 2018, he was hampered by a fractured hand being HBP May 18 (surgery necessary) and was activated from the DL July 6. He had closed the month of April with a .277 BA, and when hit he was holding a .260. After his return, we saw the latter decline (understandably, in my opinion) to a .241 when the season closed. However, for the month of September, he was beginning to rebound from the injury as he turned in a .269 BA. I feel with the projected at a .260 BA in 2019, he will be closer to his .277 (+) of 2018. He is a competitor with tenacity and strength with belief in himself to do so. Much like Molina, DeJong is 'determined' to prove himself, not only for the upcoming season ~ but, beyond.
In my opinion, Rooney was right in his thoughts regarding Paul DeJong.
NOT ONLY DEJONG - BUT SMALL BALL
The one subject matter that caught my interest in Rooney's article. The last paragraph, referencing the Pittsburgh Pirates who swept the Cardinals last season. Even with the shift, which I totally do not like in today's baseball, the Pirates were able to get the hits to the shallow 'green' - into play.
Less strikeouts - (from Rooney)
"It's fun to talk about your launch angle and exit velocity and all that, but we played three games in Pittsburgh when the Pirates swept the series and launch angle and exit velocity had nothing to do with it. They nickled and dimed the Cardinals pitching staff simply by putting the ball in play. Little flares to right and left field, moving runners, getting into position to where they could make that last at bat count for the Pirates and I'd like to see the strikeouts cut down throughout Major League Baseball and see the ball in play a little more often and I certainly think there is an emphasis on that with the Cardinals."
Yes, it is great to have all the metrics of launch angle - velocity off the bat. I believe that is thrown in for the 'gamers' out there. Gives the commentator's something 'to talk about'. But, it is the 'small ball' which definitely can make the difference. Long balls are great to see, but being able to move players around the bags to home is exceptional.
My hope is that with former Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds being a part of the staff during the upcoming Spring Training season, this particular situation will be discussed and worked on in depth.
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