4 St. Louis Cardinals who need to step up before it's too late

The last place Cardinals are running out of time and patience
Nolan Gorman
Nolan Gorman / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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3. Paul DeJong

Since returning to St. Louis from AAA Memphis, DeJong has earned and kept his spot in the line-up with his bat and his glove, playing a top-notch shortstop allowing Tommy Edman to play elsewhere on the field and keep his bat in the line-up.

DeJong has credited his resurgence to a simplified swing he worked on with new assistant hitting coach Daniel Nicolaisen. The improved swing removes his leg kick, allowing him to generate power from his wrists and the ball's velocity. It's worked in his favor so far. He's hitting .231/.300/.457 with an OPS of .757, 40 hits, 28 runs scored, six doubles, 14 walks, 11 home runs, and 23 RBI over 49 games.

DeJong has trended down over the last seven games, hitting .269/.296/.538 with seven hits, five runs scored, two home runs, and three RBI. Unfortunately, he has struck out 11 times during the seven games.

While home runs are great, seeing him get some hits with runners on base would be good. Even getting on base for a batter who's hitting would be great. Getting some men on base and consistently working to bring them in instead of streaky hits would be excellent for the Cards. It would help them build toward the consistency they want to see to start winning more games.

DeJong has made great strides this season. After this season, he will be a free agent if the team does not exercise a club option. DeJong must continue working hard and help the team climb out of the cellar.