St. Louis Cardinals: Five Players Feeling the Pressure in 2017
No.1 – Kolten Wong – Second Baseman
The St. Louis Cardinals have gone through their ups and downs with Kolten Wong over the course of his career. We’ve seen flashes of brilliant defensive play while also an inability to field a routine grounder. We’ve also seen speed and consistency at the plate but then also saw a guy who will swing and miss at three straight pitches for weeks at a time.
The time for Kolten Wong to prove his worth is 2017. General manager John Mozeliak has made it clear that Kolten Wong needs to be the starting second baseman. He believes Wong has Gold Glove potential and defense is a huge key to the team’s success next season.
Mozeliak also believes that Wong can be a contributor in the lineup and many fans held that belief after 2015 as well. In 2015, Wong batted .262/.321/.386 and had 11 home runs, 61 RBI, and 15 stolen bases in 150 games. For a bottom of the order bat, Wong’s production was more than adequate and he flashed that speed and power that many have expected.
However, 2016 was a dreadful season for the 26-year old second baseman. He managed to hit .240/.327/.355 with only 5 home runs, 23 RBI, and 7 stolen bases in 121 games. Wong, like Grichuk, also saw some major slumps and was sent down to the minor leagues for some time. Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter filled the void at second in his absence and Gyorko’s power proved to be quite valuable.
Wong is not only feeling the pressure from Jedd Gyorko behind him but is reaching that point where he either has to prove what he’s got or the Cardinals need to move on. Wong has all the tools of a solid second baseman but if he can’t perform at the big league level, the Cardinals will find someone that can.
Next: Why Greg Garcia and Breyvic Valera are So Great
Mozeliak has put a lot of faith in Kolten Wong but the question is how long will that faith continue. Wong’s inconsistency has been his major flaw and it could even lead to him no longer being in St. Louis. Teams have asked about him recently, but the Cardinals have held on to him. That alone puts a lot of pressure on him to perform but he’s certainly feeling it from all angles.