St. Louis Cardinals: Kolten Wong recovers and Luke Weaver returns
After a night in which the St. Louis Cardinals made far too many errors ending in the loss of a game, the too-oft-erred second baseman returned and show many fans and writers eat a dose of crow.
I wrote yesterday about the St. Louis Cardinals and their horrid start to the season error-wise. I blamed Kolten Wong for much of the pain. Certainly the numbers argued this point. I took flack for the thoughts but they were my thoughts and I certainly believed them.
Fast-forward to the broadcast of last night’s game in which the media praised Wong for behaving professionally and for not hiding after Monday night’s game. Let me wholeheartedly share that these comments did positively affect my opinion of Kolten.
What was shared was how professional Wong was in his dealing with the media after his bad performance on Monday night. It was shared that Wong sat at his locker and fielded questions offering no excuses and taking ownership for a performance that should have been better. What a great statement about the make up of his character!
Fast-forward back to Tuesday night’s game in which Wong went 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI. Oh, and he also committed zero errors on the night. Wong embodied the ideal of baseball that bad things can happen in one game but that the next game will come and it is a new slate and a new chance to make a new impression.
Wong certainly made a new impression. Through last night’s game, Wong’s slash on the season is a respectable .278/.381/.472. While not turning head’s like Jedd Gyorko (.348/.408/.710), Wong is holding down second base and showed last night why he has value and should not be written off.
Someone else who might have fallen off the radar of many St. Louis Cardinals fans is Luke Weaver. Weaver hit the majors last season and, while started strong, became very hittable once teams developed video on the young pitcher. This, in conjunction with a weaker spring, landed Weaver starting the season with Memphis.
Starting in Memphis is actually a good thing for Weaver as it allows him to further develop without the stress of being a major league starting pitcher or by wasting his talents as a pen arm. In addition, this development that Memphis allows will directly benefit Weaver’s approach to hitters– something that faltered in 2016.
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Weaver’s start in Memphis did not go as planned as he pitched three innings in his first game and then exited. He did not exit due to inability or due to him being hit hard by the opposing AAA team, but because he suffered an injury. Weaver was removed due to reported hand/finger discomfort that the team later admitted concerns of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Weaver was not expected to be out long, was placed on the seven-day minor league DL retroactive to April 7, but remained on the DL until he was reactivated on May 2, 2017.
Weaver lead the Memphis Redbirds (the AAA-affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) to their fifth-straight win by pitching six shutout innings against the AAA-affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. In his six innings, Weaver allowed only three hits, zero walks, and struck out five batters. Weaver was back.
Here’s my take-away: Kolten Wong likely doesn’t deserve all the negative attention that I (and too many others) have placed on him as a scapegoat for a team suffering from a lack of discipline and a lack of coaching (perhaps this is where the real blame should be heaped), and it is darn good to have a young arm return and display his dominance once again.
Next: 2017 Cardinals Hall of Fame
What do you think? Should Wong be concerned with his fielding abilities or can his offense carry him in spite of any erred thinking or performance in the grass? And, if you could, what prediction do you have for Weaver for this season: will he stay with the organization or will he find a new home? Let me know on Twitter. Thanks for reading!