PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 30: Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 30, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Paul DeJong has been on the IL with a fractured rib but the St Louis Cardinals shortstop has made some progress on his return.
Paul DeJong’s season wasn’t starting off very good at the plate or in the field, but things got worse when the St Louis Cardinals shortstop was hit by a pitch on the side, cracking a rib.
Though DeJong has amassed a 0.5 bWAR on the year, he was hitting just .177 with a .648 OPS and seven homers when he went on the IL. DeJong’s +1 DRS tells a slightly different story than his -3 OAA, putting him, at best, average in the field. Back in 2019, DeJong was as good as Javy Baez by DRS and had 11 OAA but in the past two years has not graded out well defensively.
The Cardinals have DeJong under contract for at least two more seasons after 2021, but has steadily gotten worse by OPS+ each year since his debut.
With DeJong out, young shorstop Edmundo Sosa has taken the bulk of the work out there. While Sosa has always been a stellar defensive shortstop, it has been his bat that has surprised during his time filling in. With his season slash line at .378/.500/.514, Sosa is playing confident and being rewarded by batting 5th on Wednesday.
Despite Sosa’s performance, DeJong’s track record and contract will get him back on the field when he’s healthy. A rib injury is tricky, but DeJong has begun running again, and will reportedly begin hitting later this week.
When DeJong is on his game, he has All-Star level peaks but consistency has been a huge issue. Getting back on the field and proving what type of player he is is going to be huge for DeJong with Sosa performing behind him and a great crop of free agent shortstops coming up this winter.