Cardinals: Paul DeJong – The Downfall We Should Have Seen Coming
By Jared Wolfe
1. Paul DeJong’s contact rate dropped in 2019.
Paul DeJong’s bat to ball contact shifted in 2019 from 2018. Which in hindsight, should have brought the concern of consistency to the forefront with team personnel with his swing. In 2018, his ground ball percentage was at 32.1% and line drive percentage was at 28.3%. In 2019, his ground ball rate spiked to 37.7% and line drive rate dipped to 22%. Thus, meaning he was not driving the ball the same way even though his results improved in regular statistics if you consider his slash line.
Compounding the issue and maybe highlighting the cause, he began to get pull happy trying to drive more homeruns seeing as he was seen as a middle of the order regular. His contact issue became overlooked as he popped 30 homeruns in 2019.
His groundball rollovers came at a cost, too. Checking his hitter spray results (pull/center/oppo) in 2018 he was 42.5%/30.2%/27.4% and in 2019 he was 45.2%/35.2%/19.5%. The change reviewed here shows that in 2019, over 80% of his swings resulted in up the middle and pull which was an 8% increase in 1 season. The cost of trying to hit homeruns were the ground ball double plays he rolled into which jumped to 15. Inning killers.