11. St. Louis Cardinals (65–65, plus-40, LT: 10)
Love this recent quote from Cardinals rookie shortstop Paul DeJong in David Laurila’s always informative Sunday notes column for Fangraphs. Laurila asked DeJong if holding a biochemistry degree from Illinois State informs his mental approach to baseball.
“I think it helps in my problem solving, and in critical thinking,” said DeJong. “It’s kind of like following a process, like biology and chemistry were for me. But overall, I just come to the park with a clean slate every day, knowing what I need to do, and what I need to get better at.”
DeJong’s numbers bear out the idea that something is working for him, whether it’s natural talent, the juiced ball, or the study of adenosines. In 77 games, DeJong’s batting .298/.328/.565, with 20 homers. He owns one of the ugliest strikeout-to-walk rates in baseball, fanning 93 times compared to just 11 bases on balls. But DeJong has thrived by hitting balls hard, and pulling them, when pitchers do make mistakes that he can handle—he’s pulling the ball even more often than Stanton has this season.
And since we’re talking about being in elite company, there’s also this: