Paul DeJong

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Paul Sterling DeJong

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Biographical Information[edit]

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." He played 115 games that season, hitting .241 with 19 homers and 58 RBIs, with his OPS+ falling to 103 after having been at 120 as a rookie. In 2019, he started the season very strong, being among the early leaders in WAR in the first weeks of the season after hitting .342 with 14 doubles, 5 homers and 13 RBIs in 29 games in March and April. That great first month led to his being named to the All-Star team for the first time, in spite of the fact he did not sustain his early production, hitting .200 in May and .218 in June, with an OPS below .700 both months. On July 24th, however, he had the first three-homer game of his career against the Pittsburgh Pirates. One of the homers came in the 2nd inning as the Cards scored 9 runs on their way to a 14-8 win.

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