Baseball people often say that reaching MLB is difficult, but it’s not the hardest part of the journey.
The most difficult part, they explain, is sticking around.
In the specific case of the St. Louis Cardinals and one of their highest-profile players, Paul DeJong, it certainly applies.
After struggling for the better part of the last three seasons (2020, 2021, and the handful of games that have been played in 2022), the Cards decided it was time for him to take a mental break, work on some things in the minor leagues, and earn his way back eventually.
“The Cardinals have sent shortstop Paul DeJong down to Triple-A Memphis, sources tell The Athletic. DeJong, a 2019 All-Star, was hitting .130 with a .417 OPS over 77 ABs. It’s expected Tommy Edman will slot to shortstop in the interim,” Katie Woo tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cardinals have sent shortstop Paul DeJong down to Triple-A Memphis, sources tell The Athletic.
DeJong, a 2019 All-Star, was hitting .130 with a .417 OPS over 77 ABs. It’s expected Tommy Edman will slot to shortstop in the interim. #STLCards
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) May 10, 2022
His 2019 was certainly good, but it was, likely, a product of the inflated stats because of the “bouncy” ball.
That year, power numbers increased all around MLB.
A Shell Of His Former Self
He slashed .233/.318/.444 and hit 30 homers, scored 97 runs, and drove in 78: those numbers earned him an All-Star berth.
His OPS fell to .671 in 2020 and .674 in 2021, after being .762 in 2019.
The Cardinals, a team with clear playoff aspirations, couldn’t afford to keep writing his name as the starting shortstop every day.
The more productive Edman will be taking over for DeJong as the Cards’ shortstop, at least for now.
It’s a tough break for one of the Cardinals with the most raw power.
However, he is having trouble making consistent contact, and will need to work through some things in a low-pressure environment.
The Cardinals certainly hope he can get back to the player he was three years ago.