St. Louis Cardinals: Two of our writers debate Kolten Wong

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Jun 13, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) hits a one run double off of Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Wily Peralta (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) hits a one run double off of Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Wily Peralta (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Larry

I agree that a team will want to see this particular injury healed, but that should happen soon. We’ll just have to see what the jury of GM opinion may say once that occurs.

If you don’t like my previous argument about Wong’s eighth-place hitting, maybe you’ll like this one: His OPS is a stunning .964 from that slot this season, and, if you prefer to keep the IBBs out of it (he’s had six from that spot), a stunning .529 SLG in the eight hole. So pitchers or not, Wong’s value in that order position looks to have arrived at a major-league level with a vengeance.

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As for this being his best year, I would say that he’s showing up with that arc right on schedule. He’s 26 and he has a career WAR over 6. And pure stats aside, he has overcome several obstacles that may have impeded his confidence and his performance. First was the Memphis shuttle that Mo had to effect because of Mike Matheny’s tendency to give Kolten the quick yank.

But perhaps more importantly, there appears to be an adjustment at the plate that is translating to more success. Several batting gurus indicated that with his previous, low hand position, it seemed unlikely for Wong to get around on the ball with the quickness required to handle big-league fastballs. Having raised the hands, the consequent time-to-the-ball seems to have improved considerably, and the visual evidence of his ropes to right field should be enticing to prospective trade partners.

Next: Time To Upgrade Starting Pitching

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