On Sunday the St. Louis Cardinals promoted third baseman Paul DeJong to the major league roster. As you may know he hit a homer in his first MLB at-bat that day, then went 2-for-4 on Memorial Day. Let’s take a look at his profile.
After a successful three-year run at Illinois State University, DeJong was drafted by the Cardinals in the fourth round in 2015. He hit .333/.427/.605 in his junior season and has zipped through pro baseball quickly, hitting .260/.324/.460 with 22 homers in Double-A last season and .294/.331/.541 in Triple-A this year before moving up.
DeJong ranked 10th on the pre-season St. Louis Cardinals Top 20 Prospects for 2017 list with the following comment:
10) Paul DeJong, 3B, Grade B-: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2015 from Illinois State University; hit .260/.324/.460 with 22 homers, 40 walks, 144 strikeouts in 496 at-bats in Double-A; production was well above average for Texas League at 123 wRC+; cutting down strikeouts may be helpful for batting average but the power is real; defensive tools average in raw terms but he’s polished enough to be a good third baseman and he played well during brief look at shortstop; a typical Cardinals college hitting prospect whose instincts maximize physical ability. ETA 2018.
DeJong is listed at 6-1, 195, a right-handed hitter and thrower born August 2, 1993. He is an aggressive hitter and not one to draw many walks at this point, posting just eight free passes against 45 strikeouts in 170 at-bats for Memphis this year.
On defense DeJong came up as a third baseman but switched to shortstop in the Arizona Fall League and was playing regularly there for Memphis. He isn’t a butcher but his range is pretty limited according to Pacific Coast League observers. Long-term his tools fit better at second or third and indeed he started at second base yesterday against the Dodgers, although he has only five games of experience there on his minor league resume.
Due to his impressive bat speed and power, DeJong’s aggressiveness as a hitter didn’t make much of a difference in the minors. However, Major League pitchers will key on DeJong’s approach quickly and at some point he’ll need to make adjustments. It is likely that the power production will continue but his batting average and OBP could be quite erratic.