The St. Louis Cardinals have come to an agreement on a six-year contract extension with their breakout shortstop, Paul DeJong. The 24-year-old DeJong will now be under contract through the 2023 Major League Baseball season. The deal is worth $26 million over the six-year duration, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
DeJong, whom was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, opened up eyes across the league with his impressive 2017 campaign. He slashed .285/.325/.532 with 25 home runs in 443 plate appearances. DeJong finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting behind only Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This offseason, the Cardinals parted ways with former NL All-Star Aledmys Diaz, trading the 27-year-old to the Toronto Blue Jays to clear room for DeJong at the shortstop position. St. Louis never went all-in on Diaz, but with this contract extension for DeJong, they are showing a long-term commitment to the powerful right-handed hitter. DeJong was good for 2.7 WAR in 108 games after a mid-season promotion from the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.
Despite DeJong’s impressive numbers, questions still remain pertaining to his defense and his plate discipline. He split time in the field between shortstop (86 games) and second base (20 games) last season. DeJong committed a total of 12 errors in the 108 games he played. His plate discipline, however, is of far greater concern. DeJong struck out 124 times while drawing just 21 walks on the season, giving him a walk/strikeout ratio of .169, which ranks him fourth worst in all of MLB.
No doubt there are some major flaws in Paul DeJong’s game, but the young shortstop showed plenty of pop in just a short sample size last season. Should he be able to improve his plate discipline and his defense then the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as their fans, could be looking at a bright future for their budding star.