ISU's DeJong Still A Student Of Science As MLB Career Surges

Jun 18, 2019
Originally published on June 18, 2019 2:08 pm

Paul DeJong didn't put away his curiosity for science when he graduated from Illinois State University.

“Now that I’m out of school and moved on in professional baseball, I feel like I’m kind of evolving in the way I look at the world and science and I’m coming up with ways to better suit myself as an athlete, recovery and health and all those types of things,” the St. Louis Cardinals infielder said.

DeJong is studying science to help his body heal and recover from the wear and tear of a 162-game season. Specifically, he's been experimenting with sound healing, where vibrations from certain audio frequencies are believed to have a soothing effect on the body.

“I’m really just trying to be more of a balanced person on and off the field,” DeJong said. “Definitely I put a lot of stress on my body with the travel and the playing every day, so I try to do whatever I can to relax and kinda recharge.”

DeJong said he regularly uses a sound lounge bed he built at his home in St. Louis after trying one out at a spa.

The biochemistry major was an Academic All-American at ISU. DeJong also previously studied the effect heat has on baseballs.

The study according to MLB.com shows the optimal temperature is 75 degrees; anything hotter or colder could stunt how far a baseball travels.

From Minors to the Majors

The Antioch native spent much of his rookie year with the Class A Peoria Chiefs after the Cardinals drafted him in 2015. He has quickly ascended the organization’s ranks ever since he homered in his first Major League at bat in May 2017 at Coors Field in Colorado.

Other former Redbirds hope to follow in his footsteps. Five former ISU standouts were chosen in the MLB Draft earlier this month.

His advice to prospects is to slow down the game mentally and strive for consistency.

“I would say it’s not all about results, it’s about how you approach the game and how you battle adversity and bounce back from things,” DeJong said. “Let’s be honest: Baseball doesn’t always go as planned. Consistency is a valuable trait.”

DeJong said while his primary goals are to help get the Cardinals back in the playoffs after a three-year drought and back to the World Series, he has personal goals too.

“I’d like to win a Gold Glove and be an All-Star," he said. "I had a great start to the year then kind of cooled off, so understanding what it takes to be that (Most Valuable Player), all-star type player is definitely something I’m learning and adjusting to this year."

DeJong is a legitimate candidate for the 2019 National League All-Star squad. He leads the Cardinals in most offensive categories, including batting average, doubles and runs scored.

Last week, DeJong became ISU’s major league career home run leader in only his third season, passing the late ISU hall of famer Dave Bergman.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Copyright 2019 WGLT. To see more, visit WGLT.