Hey there folks…
Going into this season I’d planned to write an article about Paul DeJong, our young SS who had a breakout year last season, hitting .285 with 25 homers and 26 doubles in 443 PA. He ended up with a .532 slugging percentage. He also had 124 strikeouts and an OBP only 40 points higher than his batting average, so there were some signs he might crash back to earth and remind us of Aledmys Diaz.
Remember Diaz? In 2016 he hit .300 with 17 homers and 28 doubles in 460 PA’s, netting him a .510 slugging percentage. He also struck out half as much as DeJong did last year, 60 times.
He struggled last year though, for a variety of reasons, and was shipped off to Toronto in December for a mid level prospect named J.B. Woodman.
Then the season started and DeJong continued to hammer away, having hit 7 homers so far.
Diaz, meanwhile, is currently struggling in Toronto, with a .213 average, 4 homers, and only 2 doubles. He’s also struggling on defense, with a .969 fielding percentage, opposed to DeJong’s .988.
Pretty black and white, no?
Except for one thing: DeJong still strikes out a ton more. He currently has 31 strikeouts in just 83 plate appearances. He also only only has just 5 walks. There is a slightly higher seperation between the average (.260) and the OBP (.313). Still, either that distance needs to increase if he wants to have a long term future, or his batting average needs climb quite a bit. Yadier Molina for example, only has a 17 point gap between his average and OBP, but the fact that he’s hitting .316 makes gap that much more acceptable. (The OBP is .333 for those of you who failed Math. He also has 6 homers, just one less than DeJong’s.)
Back to Diaz. While has struggled in Toronto, one thing hasn’t changed. He doesn’t strike out nearly as much as DeJong, with just 9 strikeouts in 65 PA. Even if we added 18 more AB to Match DeJong’s PA’s, he’d still have quite a few less.
However, Diaz is also older, at 27, while DeJong is still just 24, so Diaz may be in the “what you see is what you get” stage, while DeJong (hopefully) has room to grow and learn some plate discipline. I hope he does, otherwise he’ll be a one dimensional player totally reliant on his ability to knock balls out of the park, a trait a lot less valuable than it used to be (see Mike Moustakas‘ contract for more details there.)
As always, thanks for reading.