DeJong named NL Rookie of Year finalist

Cardinals shortstop up for award with Dodgers' Bellinger, Pirates' Bell

DeJong named NL Rookie of Year finalist

ST. LOUIS -- Paul DeJong opened his Major League career in late May with a pinch-hit home run, a fitting prelude for what was to come from the standout shortstop.

DeJong is now being recognized for that breakout season, as he's been named one of three finalists for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger and Pirates first baseman Josh Bell also were revealed as finalists during a Monday evening announcement on MLB Network.

The winner, which is determined through votes cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, will be revealed at 5 p.m. CT next Monday.

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Though Bellinger is considered the favorite to take home the honor, DeJong is assured of being the first Cardinal to be a top-three finisher in the vote since Kolten Wong in 2014. The last Cardinals rookie to win the award was Albert Pujols (2001).

After becoming the first member of the Cardinals' 2015 Draft class to reach the Majors, DeJong quickly asserted that he belonged. He took over as the team's starting shortstop in late June and never relinquished the spot on the depth chart. DeJong also started more games as the team's three-hole hitter (51) than anyone else on the club.

With 25 home runs, DeJong became the first rookie to lead the Cardinals in that offensive category since Pujols. He also set the Cardinals' rookie record for home runs (20) as a shortstop. Among all NL rookies, DeJong ranked first in doubles (26), second in slugging percentage (.532), fourth in homers, fourth in RBIs (65) and fourth in hits (119).

He accrued those offense numbers despite not reaching the Majors until May 28. DeJong appeared in a total of 108 games, fewer than both Bellinger and Bell.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.