Paul DeJong’s decline began in his All-Star 2019 season, and we all were too naïve to see it coming.
When taking a deep dive into Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong’s rollercoaster ride at the plate the past few seasons, the proof was not in the results but at the inconsistencies of how his swing operates. Undoubtedly, DeJong’s 2018 and 2019 seasons with the club were his best. In 2018 he slashed .241/.313/.433 in 490 plate appearances and in his All-Star campaign in 2019 he slashed .233/.318/.444 in 664 trips to the dish.
Prior to those two breakout seasons, DeJong signed his pre-arbitration agreement for 6 years and 26 million with the majority of the guaranteed money coming in 2023 this upcoming season of $9 million. As discussed in another article discussed by Josh Jacobs, John Mozeliak is leaving the door open for DeJong after a horrible campaign a year ago, but also made it clear “Do you want someone that’s a defensive is replacement at 9 million a year? No that’s not ideal.” His defense has been a staple to what the Cardinals offer on a nightly basis on the field. His value there allows him so flexibility at home plate when he has his struggles, but what we saw the previous two full seasons being 2021 and 2022 his issues at the plate began to overshadow his help in the field.
So, what happened with his swing? His issues began in his All-Star 2019 season. There were clear signs that is swing was changing, inconsistent, and lacking a proper identity that he could replicate. Here is what we missed.