So, the Cardinals took a little swing on Twitter yesterday, the spirit of which I don’t blame them for:
Paul DeJong's ranks among qualified NL shortstops
38 hits, 1st
24 runs, 1st
18 XBH, 1st
12 doubles, 1st
.342 AVG, 1st
.392 OBP, 1st
.604 SLG, 1st
.995 OPS, 1st pic.twitter.com/b7lctFGY5t
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 29, 2019
Paul DeJong, 25, is really having an impressive year, and it’ll alarm you to hear that there’s not a ton of flukiness in his numbers. Yeah, the .391 BABIP is going to come way down, but he is also hitting the crap out of the ball (47.8% hard hit rate, 30.4% groundball rate), so he’s likely earned at least SOME of that elevated BABIP.
Good for him.
But I do think we need to give the Cardinals the side eye for one thing: dropping the “qualified” in there is a pretty cheap way to exclude a certain Chicago Cubs player who has seen time at just one position this year: shortstop.
That’s right, because of the weird way a player is classified for that “qualified” label, Javy Baez isn’t yet considered a “shortstop.” But you have to be intentionally obtuse – or trolling – to call him anything but a shortstop when the very thing you’re considering is performance THIS year. It’s literally the only position he’s played this year.
So, then, when you include Baez at the time of that tweet, you’d have him on top in Slugging (.640) and OPS (.996). To his credit, DeJong actually bumped the latter up to 1.005 last night, and his wRC+ (166) is actually quite a bit higher than Baez’s (155).
There’s plenty of case to be made that, so far this year, DeJong has been the top shortstop in the NL. No need to play with the numbers or the labels to make it so.
But, still, Javy is El Mago and nobody calls DeJong El Mago or El Jongo or anything of the sort. Ipso facto, Javy wins.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 29, 2019