Wednesday, May 29, 2024

I Used to be DeJong

Right now there's a Cardinals shortstop with an impressive-at-hell hitting streak to start his career, and somewhere in Chicago there's a guy going 'that used to be me'.

Last year, round this time, Paul deJong was still being trusted as the starting shortstop in St. Louis. After an extremely good 2019, deJong was kept on as primary SS due mostly to his excellent defensive abilities. But even as recently as 2022, those defensive perks were wearing off. Eventually he stopped hitting for average, and struggled to get much done at all anywhere they put up. The reason deJong was cut last year was mainly to make way for younger, more reliable infield options, like Brendan Donovan and the soon-to-be-called-up Masyn Winn. It just seemed like nothing was clicking with deJong anymore, and the Blue Jays and Giants corroborated this after stints with them.

But now, due to the frantically bare White Sox needing veteran options to, at the very least, keep the lights on, deJong gets to be the starting shortstop again. So far this is looking like his best season in a couple years, solely due to the fact that he's not hitting under .200 and isn't a liability at short. He's perfectly okay in both departments, has some base running perks, and has 7 homers and 17 RBIs. So it's not bad, especially considering the quality of the rest of the team. But like...considering the drop-off, it's not ideal.

Then you think about the Cardinals' current shortstop, Masyn Winn. Winn's 22 years old, he's playing in his first full season in the bigs, and has hit safely in 18 straight games. Considering his debut last year, where he struggled both offensively and defensively, it's been relieving to see Winn hitting .297, stealing 7 bases and providing excellent defensive play. Winn is young, talented, versatile, in his prime, and is a much better double play partner to Nolan Gorman than deJong was. And with this piece intact, the Cardinals have had a slight upward trajectory over the past few weeks, as they're now in third and heading for the Cubs.

It's gotta be a big ego hit to someone like Paul deJong when someone's doing your old job better than you could, and is succeeding there. Cause he's still stuck with this White Sox team, winning only occasionally and getting next to nothing done. He's there because it's a place to play everyday, which isn't exactly guaranteed on most other rosters. And he's gotta be thankful he has that. But man, he's gotta wish the luck shone on him more, especially recently. Cause he's been where Winn is, and he wishes he was still there.

Coming Tomorrow- Typically this infielder is the August-era 'break in case of embarrassment' guy, but he's actually been a big help for most of the season. 

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