#MLBPlayers411 | Paul DeJong
The St. Louis Cardinals, at 33-38, are just three games back in the loss column in the National League Central, and the addition of today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, rookie infielder Paul DeJong, could be just what the Red Birds need to take it up a notch. With an offense that ranks 26th in the league in total runs scored, a little offense has the potential to go a long way in St. Louis. In what may be a preview of what's to come, Paul became just the ninth player in Cardinals history to hit a home run in his first major-league at bat, when he made his debut on May 28.
Paul, with just 19 games under his belt, is continuing to add some pop to that offense – currently hitting .265 with four home runs and 10 RBI. His emergence in St. Louis has certainly caught the eye of his manager, Mike Matheny.
“He's done a nice job…I think he's been taught the game the right way,” Matheny said recently. “He sees the game the way he should, makes adjustments when he has to. He just has a higher level of game sense and self-awareness than most players with as little experience as he's had.”
It's nice to be noticed and praised by the skipper, but, for now, the Orlando, Fl., native is striving for consistency.
“It's been up and down; I think I'd be more consistent,” DeJong said. “That's what I'm striving for every day, to be more consistent. That's just baseball – you're going to have the ups and downs, but you've got to try to be even-keeled as much as you can.”
Matheny added that there are things to be excited about with the 23-year-old, who was selected by the Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2015 draft.
Although he's a central Florida native, Paul attended and graduated high school in Antioch, Il. He stayed in Illinois after graduation and played for Illinois State University. After a slow freshman season, Paul picked up the pace his sophomore year, hitting .349 with 9 home runs and 48 RBI. That performance was enough to get him drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 38th round of the 2014 draft. He ultimately decided to return to school for his junior season and delivered another strong campaign, this time hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI. And that led to his selection in the fourth round of the draft.
Once he turned pro, Paul rose through the Cardinals farm system fairly quickly. He played just 10 games in rookie ball before being promoted to Single-A in 2015. A year later, in 2016, he moved up to Double-A Springfield where his 22 home run, 73 RBI season earned him an appearance in the Texas League All-Star Game. He started the 2017 season with Triple-A Memphis, where he lasted just 48 games before getting the big-league call-up.
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