Paul Sterling DeJong
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 195 lb.
- School Illinois State University
- High School Antioch Community High School
- Debut May 28, 2017
Infielder Paul DeJong homered in his first major league at-bat. Called up by the St. Louis Cardinals to replace an injured Kolten Wong on May 28, 2017, he arrived at Coors Field with his team's game against the Colorado Rockies having already started. Still, he was called upon to pinch-hit for P John Brebbia, who had just made his own big league debut, in the 9th inning against closer Greg Holland. He drove a ball 399 feet into the left field stands. His long ball did not make much difference in the final score, however, as the Cards lost, 8-4. The last Cardinals player to homer in his first big league at-bat had been pitcher Mark Worrell, back in 2008. He was the National League Rookie of the Month for July as he hit .298 with 8 homers and 16 RBIs in 26 games. He continued his remarkable season in August, as when he hit his team-leading 17th homer for the Cards on August 12th, it gave him a combined 30 for the year between the minors and majors. His arrival in St. Louis had coincided with the team breaking a season-long spurt. They finally returned to the .500 level on August 7th, and continued to win after that, putting together an eight-game winning streak that placed them in a tie for first place in the NL Central. He finished the season at .285 in 108 games, with 26 doubles, 25 homers and 65 RBIs, but the Cards ended up missing the postseason.
On March 4, 2018, he signed a six-year contract extension with the Cardinals worth $26 million. He was slated to be the team's opening day shortstop, making him the 10th different player to hold that position in the last 11 years, but of the contract was any indication, the Cards planned to have him be the one who stopped that merry-go-round. The fact that they had traded Aledmys Diaz, the previous year's opening day starter, in the off-season, was another clear sign that he was now considered "the man."
- 2017 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2017)