St. Louis Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong is enjoying a strong season at the plate so far. Through 28 games the left-handed hitter has a slash of .327/.364/.459 with 7 XBH (5 Doubles, 2 HR, 1 Triple) and 12 RBI. While this numbers may not jump off the paper at you, it is important to note that Wong has been doing the majority of his damage batting eighth in the lineup, giving him only 28 PA with RISP where he has a .364 BA. It is likely that Wong could do this regularly or with even more consistency as his average with runners on base is .463 through 41 AB.
One key to see how well Wong is playing is to look at the advanced statistics. From last season Wong has brought his ground ball percentage down by about five points (47.4% to 42.9%) and raised his line drive percentage about 4 points (18.9% to 22.6%). Wong is also consistently better contact as he has made hard contact about 33.7% of the time. All of this being done while he is only seeing 39.6% of balls inside the strike zone this includes a 54.2% first pitch strike percentage down from %58.2 last season. So far the most telling statistic for Wong is his above average wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created based on park and league) which is 124. That is a pretty good number considering the league average is 100 and Wong finished last season at 90.
The only concern for Wong so far this season is his fielding. Wong has looked awesome at times this season at second, but has also had some not so good plays. At the beginning of the season Wong admitted that he prides himself on his defense and was down about his miscues in the field. Right now, Wong has 4 errors and has an UZR rated at 0.7 which is not a great number, but it is still early in the season. Hopefully, Wong will get more comfortable at second and the defensive numbers will go up. Wong shows tremendous range and a strong arm so things should get better as he gets more comfortable as a big league player.
Wong is going to continue to impress and establish himself as one of the better second basemen in the league. His offensive numbers are going to continue to get better as he grows and becomes more comfortable at the big league level. The Cardinals finally have someone they can be excited about at 2B after years of this being a revolving door and a spot for projects (Schumaker, Craig, Carpenter). Kudos to the organization for developing Wong’s talent and having the eye for someone who can be a game changer at his position.