Cardinals: Paul DeJong – The Downfall We Should Have Seen Coming

By Jared Wolfe
Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals up to bat against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on April 16, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
Paul DeJong #11 of the St. Louis Cardinals up to bat against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on April 16, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 09: Paul DeJong #11of the St Louis Cardinals circle the bases after hitting a two RBI home run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Coors Field on August 09, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo buy Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO – AUGUST 09: Paul DeJong #11of the St Louis Cardinals circle the bases after hitting a two RBI home run against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning at Coors Field on August 09, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo buy Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

3. Paul DeJong’s Launch Angle never regained form.

It was evident that in Spring Training 2022 his focus was to use more of the field. As shown on previous slides, that was a great focus for him to be alert and conscious about moving forward and possibly could have righted the ship. However, his swing plane never rebounded to his All-Star level seasons in connection with his new thought process of being less pull happy.

Let’s start with his launch angle in his two good campaigns in 2018 and 2019. They remained fairly consistent those two years: 19.1 and 18.3 respectfully. From 2020-2022 he never regained the form of the swing plane that previously produced results. His launch angle rose to 21.7% in the shortened season of 2020, decreased to career low 16.4% in 2021, and spiked back to 21.7% in 2022. Although he did produce a cleaner spray chart 45.1%/24.8%/30.1% in 2022, which was a career high in opposite field bat to ball contact, his swing plane failed him. He hit too many balls in the air with a high launch angle.

As a result, his fly ball percentage was 6.6% higher in 2022 than 2019. This new bat path also may have been a culprit of his strikeout rate as his whiff percentage followed suit increasing to 35.2% of swings compared to 24.2% in 2019 and 25.4% in 2018.

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