MLB: The most valued shortstops of 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) turns a double play in the eighth inning during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on September 15, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) turns a double play in the eighth inning during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies on September 15, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Paul DeJong of the St. Louis Cardinals completes a tag play. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Paul DeJong of the St. Louis Cardinals completes a tag play. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

8. Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals, $6.084 million value; $1.667 million salary

DeJong’s rating illustrates how high even an indifferent hitter can climb when he plays a defensive-oriented position very, very well.

It also may constitute a Rorschach Test for how you feel about offensive numbers. If you like home runs, you’re likely to wonder why he’s only No. 8. If you favor batting averages, you can’t understand how DeJong’s in the top 20.

As a batter, DeJong statistically wasn’t much in 2019. He batted .233 with a .318 on base average. He did hit for power – 30 home runs – but his 97 OPS+ is still below MLB average.

The home runs probably fueled his 4.1 WAR, which ranked 10th among qualifying shortstops. That translated to $2.779 million in salary.

But DeJong embellished his reputation with his glove. His .989 fielding average ranked second among all shortstops, trailing only Houston’s Carlos Correa (.993). Fielding at that level qualifies for $1 million in salary. At 4.24 chances per nine innings, he ranked seventh, earning a further $1.068 million.

DeJong’s 1,372 innings were third best among those qualifying at shortstop, and added up to a final $1.235 million.

The Cardinals have tied up DeJong through 2023 with options through 2025 at amounts potentially touching $15 million. But it will be a while before DeJong gets to that level. He’ll again play in 2020 for $1.667 million, chump change compared to what he produces.