St. Louis Cardinals: Putting together the 2018 lineup
Comfort Zone part 2: Wong in the eighth spot
Just like Pham, there is something about Kolten Wong and the eight spot that resonates. Whether it be the low-pressure scenarios, rhythm, mentality, or whatever it may be, Wong is much more successful here than other spots in the lineup.
2017: .285/.376/.412, 4 home runs, 42 RBI’s in 411 PA’s
2017 as #8 hitter: .299/.414/.449, 1 home run, 17 RBI’s in 129 PA’s
Career as #8 hitter: .264/.354/.392, 8 home runs, 44 RBI’s in 454 PA’s
While Wong has a slightly higher average in the seventh spot, his OPS is higher in the eighth spot, which makes him fit better in the eighth spot than seventh. He scored an above average score of 3.7 on Fangraphs’ base running stat, only Tommy Pham, who had 25 steals, had a better score. This means that it is good to have Wong on the base paths, which is what putting him eighth allows for.
The eight hitter in the NL draws the most intentional walks for most teams because of the pitcher hitting in the ninth spot, Naturally, it is good to have a decent baserunner with at least above average speed to mitigate the number of double plays set up by walking the eight hitter, and Wong fits that mold.
Barring struggles from other players or injuries, Wong is another player like Gyorko who is difficult to move in this lineup. In fact, with Wong’s successes in the eight spot compared to his struggles in other spots makes it even harder to move Wong than Gyorko.
As the old saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Do you agree with the way this lineup is set up? Are you expecting changes to the personnel that may affect this? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.