DJ Stewart has had an up and down start to his professional career thus far.
Not many people know this, but Stewart was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 28th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.
Nevertheless, the Gainesville, Florida, native decided to go to Florida State University to up his game in hopes of getting drafted higher, and he did just that.
The Orioles drafted Stewart with the 25th overall pick three years later; going to school helped him get drafted in the first round.
Spending parts of five years in the O’s farm system, Stewart was called up to the majors in 2018, where he would play in just 17 games. In 47 plate appearances, he collected three home runs and 10 RBIs, batting .250 in that short sample.
Stewart would spent most of the 2019 season in the minors, spending most of his time at Triple-A Norfolk. However, he did play in 44 games at the big league level, hitting just four homers and driving in 15.
The shortened 2020 season didn’t do any favors for Stewart, as he played in just 31 of the 60 total games. The homers increased to seven, the RBIs stayed at 15 and his batting average decreased to .193.
Last season was Stewart’s first full season, and the opportunities were there. Anthony Santander would be injured for almost two months, which opened up a spot for the lefty to finally prove his worth.
The numbers were slightly better for Stewart, as he hit .204 with 12 homers and 33 RBI. However, both his on-base percentage and slugging percentage decreased from the prior season.
Stewart resembles of what a lot of players are in today’s game; he strikes out more than he walks and his average is low, yet his on-base is somewhat respectable.
If you’re a subscriber to this “three true outcomes” theory, Stewart struck out, walked and homered in 45.6 percent of his at-bats.
But what makes Stewart so concerning is his ability to play in the field. Low average plus a high walk rate plus sporadic power might be a decent equation if the glove were any good. But it isn’t.
His .966 career fielding percentage in the outfield is well below average, but we didn’t need to show you that number for you to do a simple eye test. It’s obvious that fielding is Stewart’s weakness.
Stewart has one Minor League option remaining, but keeping him in the minors isn’t particularly a good thing for both him and the Orioles.
At 28, Stewart needs this season to prove he can produce at the big league level. He is controlling a very valuable 40-man roster spot in a time where the team’s young prospects are on the brink of the show.
The only thing Stewart has going for him is that he isn’t eligible for free agency until 2026. And although that’s a bonus, the O’s won’t want to deal with him throughout his arbitration years if he continues on the path he’s currently walking.
If Stewart can’t fix his issues this season, don’t be surprised if this is the last we see of him in orange and black.
Is this DJ Stewart’s last chance for the O’s? Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
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