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Cardinals 2020 Player Preview: Paul DeJong Looking to Avoid a Second-Half Slump

Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cardinals 26-year-old shortstop Paul DeJong, who is preparing to start his fourth season in the Majors, is coming off a year that featured several career milestones.

DeJong hit 30 homers for the first time, logged a personal-best 31 doubles, and maintained a .989 fielding percentage — a 15-point improvement from the year prior. DeJong was named to the National League All-Star team and was the recipient of MLBPAA Cardinals Heart and Hustle Award.

At the All-Star break, the Cardinals were exactly a .500 team — 44 wins and 44 losses. After the break, the Cardinals went 47-27 and won the Central division on the last day of the season. Nonetheless, DeJong’s personal trends did not match the team’s as a whole.

Paul DeJong’s 2019 Split-Season Stats

DeJong '19 Splits Games HR K BB AVG OBP OPS
DeJong '19 Splits Games HR K BB AVG OBP OPS
Pre All-Star 87 13 72 36 0.258 0.343 0.786
Post All-Star 72 17 77 26 0.202 0.285 0.731

A downward-trending second half of the season for DeJong, particularly a .175/.264/.392 slash in September, put a somewhat sour note on his whole season. (Let’s not forget the three homers he smashed in that rout of the Pirates in late July.)

2019 Statistics: 664 PA, .233/.318/.444, 30 HR, 78 RBI, 22.4 K%, 9.3 BB%, 100 wRC+, 4.1 WAR

2020 ZiPS Projections: 629 PA, .249/.320/.455, 28 HR, 86 RBI, 25 K%, 7.9 BB%, 102 wRC+, 3.3 WAR

Not that we should put much (if any) stock in it, but DeJong is 6-for-11 (.545) through five games this spring with one double and a Grapefruit League-leading three home runs. It’s always nice to see players have positive spring camps. And we can hope it translates into more positivity when the team heads north.