DeJong went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in a split-squad loss to the Astros on Friday. DeJong's second-inning solo shot to left center represented a rare taste of offensive success for the shortstop this spring, as he's still hitting just .167 over 30 spring at-bats following Friday's production. Nevertheless, the outlook is optimistic for the 25-year-old during the upcoming season due to his possible move to the No. 3 spot in the order, as well as his overall talent. DeJong notably hit in the cleanup spot Friday, however, but that slotting would also certainly be conducive to RBI production if it meant he was immediately preceded in the lineup by prize offseason acquisition Paul Goldschmidt.
DeJong, who went 2-for-3 with a double, a two-run home run, three RBI, a walk and two runs in a 9-5 Grapefruit League win over the Yankees on Wednesday, is now hitting .308 this spring. DeJong saw a dip in home runs and all three components of his slash line in his sophomore 2018 campaign, despite logging 46 more plate appearances than in his rookie 2017 season. However, there are high hopes for the shortstop going into his third campaign, and his body of work thus far this spring seems to validate that optimism. There have also been rumblings of a possible No. 3 spot in the order for DeJong to open the season, which would lay the groundwork for a potential statistical boost in multiple categories.
DeJong could serve as the Cardinals' No. 3 hitter to begin the season, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Though offseason pickup Paul Goldschmidt hit third or fourth in the lineup for much of his time in Arizona, manager Mike Shildt acknowledged in December that deploying the first baseman second in the order behind Matt Carpenter was "in play," per Hummel. Goldschmidt was actually at his best while hitting second in 2018 -- he posted a 1.104 OPS in 47 games out of that slot -- offering support to the idea of the Cardinals "frontloading" their lineup with their top two hitters. With Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina likely earmarked for the Nos. 4 and 5 spots, respectively, DeJong looks like the best bet among the remaining Cardinals regulars to hit third, given the superior power he's displayed through two seasons in the majors. The shortstop's plate approach still leaves something to be desired and makes him somewhat of a batting-average risk, but any deficiency in that area could be offset by likely upticks in run-scoring and run-producing opportunities if he seizes hold of the No. 3 spot.
DeJong went 2-for-5 with a double and a two-run home run in a win over the Braves on Monday. DeJong was one of four Cardinals to leave the yard in Monday's offensive explosion. The shortstop has hit 10 of his 18 homers on the season since the All-Star-break, but his .285 on-base percentage in the second half represents a 56-point drop from the figure he generated before the Midsummer Classic.
DeJong went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs in a win over the Dodgers on Sunday. DeJong came home on both of Yadier Molina's RBI singles, giving him his first game with multiple runs since Sept. 4. The shortstop has also reached safely in nine consecutive games, a welcome stretch of offensive success following a lackluster August in which he hit just .202 and posted a forgettable .282 on-base percentage.