The stat sheet suggests danger is around the corner for St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.
After Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals, Wong was 5-for-36 this spring with two doubles. His 0-for-9 start echoed a similar start of a year ago and set tongues wagging, wondering whether Wong needed to go back to Triple-A Memphis for still more seasoning.
As Sgt. Hulka said in the classic movie Stripes, “Lighten up, Francis.”
Spring training games are a rare indicator of a person’s overall talent. How many times have you seen a player light up spring training and then fade into oblivion? It happened in a regular season game once. The story of Karl Rhodes is legendary in Chicago. He hit three homers with the Cubs in an Opening Day game over 20 years ago and his career promptly fell flat afterwards.
If I can analyze anything wrong with Wong, it’s that he takes things too hard. The pickoff during the 2013 World Series likely weighed on his mind and caused him to try harder in the spring of 2014.
The thing is Wong doesn’t need to try as hard. Oh sure, he has to perform in spring, but his presence at second base is assured.
It’s what he does with it that will determine Wong’s long-term future in St. Louis.