Tuesday, July 23, 2024
AnalysisMLBNational LeagueNL CentralSt. Louis Cardinals

Paul DeJong, The Real Story At Short.

Credit: Facebook, St Louis Cardinals

If you were to ask the question “Since 2017, what National League Shortstop, has 70+ home runs and a Def rating of 30+?” Chances are a common answer would be Trevor Story, and that would be wrong. It’s Paul DeJong. Since 2017 DeJong has hit 74 homeruns, and posted a Def rating of 36.7, compared to Trevor Story’s 27.7. In 2019, DeJong was selected to his first All-Star game, and became the first Cardinals shortshop to hit more than 20 home runs in multiple seasons. DeJong is being overlooked in conversations about not only being one of the best shortstops in the National League, but in all of baseball.

Since his debut in 2017, Paul DeJong leads all NL Shortstops in Def, UZR, and UZR/150. In terms of both leagues since 2017, DeJong is ranked fourth in those three categories behind, Jose Iglesias, Fransico Lindor, and Andrelton Simmons. Out of that list only Dejong and Lindor have an OPS+ over 105 and, in terms of fWAR, DeJong ranks third among behind Simmons and Lindor. In terms of Cardinals shortstops, this is the first time St Louis has seen this kind of combination of defense and power, since, well ever. Since DRS was tracked only Paul DeJong and Brendan Ryan have had multiple seasons of 14+ DRS at SS, during Ryan’s tenure however, his OPS+ was 76. In all of Cardinals history, there have been 29 qualified shortstops, and DeJong is the only one with both a Def over 35 and an ISO over .200. Out of the 29, DeJong is first in ISO, home runs, and slugging% and third in wRC+. In terms of the entirety of the current roster, since 2017, he leads the Cardinals in fWAR, Def, and is tied for first in home runs. Getting to the heart of the argument, let’s compare DeJong to Trevor Story, who is widely accepted as the best National League Shortstop.

As, mentioned earlier, DeJong has been better than Story defensively, but when it comes to offensive, Story has him beat. Since 2017 Paul DeJong has a career slash of .251/.318/.467 with an OPS+ of 106, compared to Story’s slash since 2017 which is 276/.341/.537 with an OPS+ of 115. However, in order to properly analyze the two players offensively, we must dive into a touchy subject, the Coors effect.

Since Larry Walkers Hall of Fame campaign, sabr-heads and casual fans alike have been attempting to solve the question of, if playing at Coors Field is essentially a stat padder. The general consensus of the matter is this, a talented player will be talented, no matter what ballpark he calls home. The fact remains however, that Coors does contribute to higher offensive, so while players like Larry Walker, Todd Helton, and Nolan Arenado would be All-Stars on any team, the flip side of that coin is the players who benefit from playing in Colorado.

Story’s home/road splits are as follows, home: .301/.368/.630, road: .250/.313/.443. A valid argument to this is that many players tend to have worse stats on the road, which is a fair point. So for fairness sake, here is DeJong’s home/road splits. Home: .257/.332/.451, road: .245/.306/.480. So what does this reveal? Nothing really. Despite the traditional slash line decreasing on the road, Story still manages to post a .340 BABIP in away games. Story also has the advantage of speed over DeJong, posting a 20/20 season in 2018 and 2019. In terms of fWAR since 2017 Story has compiled a 12.3 compared to DeJong’s 10.5.

A combo of defense and power at a prime position, DeJong is being overlooked has one of the best shortstops in baseball and quite possibly the best shortstop in the National League. By all accounts DeJong is destined to have many more All-Star appearances and earn some gold hardware in the future.

Drake McGrew

My name is Drake McGrew, I am 22 years old, I have a Bachelors degree from Arkansas State Universty in History with a minor in Poli Sci . I have been a fan of the Cardinals since I was eight years old and my love for the game has continued to grow ever since. I have traveled to 14 MLB stadiums and have attended two postseason games. Baseball aside, my hobbies include hiking, traveling, playing video games, and listening to copious amounts of Bob Dylan. I can best be summed up by my life motto, Peace, Love, and Baseball.