Paul DeJong keeps on hitting homers for the Cardinals. But, is the free swinging infielder now worth a waiver wire add?
There are not a ton of brights spots from the Cardinals’ first half this season as the team has underperformed in route to a 42-45 record. But, that has been no fault of infielder Paul DeJong, who just keeps on supplying power and a much-needed offensive spark. But, should he now be a waiver wire add?
The Cardinals are renowned for their minor league development, as the team seemingly churns out solid MLB players each season. The verdict is still out on DeJong, but he sure has made a great impression over his first 35 games at the major league level. After going four for four against the Mets on July 8th, he now sits with a .306/8 HR/19 RBI/16 R/.821 OPS line.
With Kolton Wong being out practically the whole season and Aledmys Diaz now playing in AAA, DeJong is getting a ton of starts in the middle of the Cards’ infield. DeJong is not a base stealer, nor contact focused type of hitter that MI usually are. He is simply in the big leagues to hit homers.
After being drafted by St. Louis in 2015, DeJong smashed his way to the pros. In his first full season at AA in 2016, he finished the year with a .257/23 HR/82 RBI/.755 OPS line. At AAA in 2017, prior to his promotion, he was in the middle of another career best campaign where he has a .299/13 HR/34 RBI/.909 OPS.
While everything seems to point up in terms of his stock, fantasy owners have to know about the red flags as well. DeJong swings at everything. In 2016, he amassed 165 K compared to just 43 BB. In 2017, the ratio was even more skewed as it stands at 46 K:9 BB. Major league pitchers exploited this weak spot, and he has continued to oblige them, currently striking out 30% of the time while walking only 3%.
His .306 AVG is inflated due to the sample size, and a healthy.355 BABIP, but it is hard to ignore the fact that it does not matter when he is hitting it over the fence and splitting gaps. Digging into his batted ball data, the power rates are solid. He holds 25% LD, 41% FB, 46% Med and 36% Hard contact rates.
The power looks legit and coming from an MI, fantasy owners should have no qualms with that. The Cards are slotting him eight in the lineup, not the most favorable spot counting stats wise, but he is seeing a ton of fastballs hitting in front of the pitcher.
Paul DeJong may swing at everything and anything, but the power plays. The Cardinals desperately need offense and DeJong possess just that. The AVG may get ugly at times but owners should be more than willing to take the power numbers.
Give him a closer look off the waiver wire.