St. Louis Cardinals: Has Kolten Wong been the team’s MVP?
Kolten Wong has been easily one of the best players on the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals. So is it a stretch to call him the teams Most Valuable Player?
As you probably know, we are finally approaching September baseball and we are now at the point that every single last game counts. Though the St. Louis Cardinals have been disappointed by the minimal production from their stars Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter, plenty of other Cardinals have stepped up.
A few key contributors have been with the Cardinals for a little while now, like Dexter Fowler and Harrison Bader. Some have come onto the scene and are blowing all the fans away, such as Tommy Edman. One of the players on this team stands out though, and he has been easily the best Cardinal on the team this year, also known as Kolten Wong.
Kolten Wong was pretty hyped up as a prospect, cracking the MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects list back in 2013. Scouts raved about his hitting ability and his ability to fly around the bases, as well as his solid glove.
Fast-forwarding to 2019, he has been a serviceable ballplayer so far for St. Louis. Always hitting for a decent average and playing solid defense, but last season he really started to turn it on as a player.
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Wong was off to a brutal start on the 2018 season, hitting below the dreaded Mendoza Line for most of the first half; but during the second half, he was very solid. Though he started to show flashes of potential as a hitter, his defense started to make him a household name among baseball fans.
He ended up leading all NL second baseman in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) as well as defensive WAR, but was still snubbed for the Gold Glove in favor of former Colorado Rockies 2B D.J. LaMahieu. In my honest opinion, that was a complete outrage.
Wong didn’t think too much of it though, saying that he “laughed it off” during an interview with KMOX. He clearly has improved in the field though, and it’s been a huge help for the Cardinals this season.
To say the least, Kolten Wong has been INSANE as a fielder this season, compiling a 1.6 dWAR, higher than any second baseman in baseball. His 14 DRS is also highest in all of baseball, while White Sox 2B Yolmer Sanchez is in second with only six DRS. That’s just unreal. He also leads NL second baseman in Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and overall defensive value.
So, if Kolten Wong somehow doesn’t win a Gold Glove this year, I say we all should riot.
Though Wong has been out of this world from a defensive standpoint, he has also been ridiculous as a hitter as well. Currently leading the team in Batting Average as well as stolen bases. He currently has a .804 OPS, which is fourth among all NL second baseman, and it’s also higher than Paul Goldschmidt; who was supposed to be by far the best hitter on the Cardinals.
Since July though, Kolten Wong has been a nightmare for pitchers at the plate, hitting .377 with an OPS of 1.007 since the second half started up. As a hitter, he is seriously enjoying a breakout season and looks like he could keep that production going into next season.
To make things even crazier, Wong even leads the team in WAR, as we all expected heading into the 2019 season (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.). His 4.7 WAR is the highest by a whole win, with Paul DeJong having a 3.7 WAR on the season.
Coming into 2019, the Cardinals were receiving a lot of hype based on how dangerous their lineup was, with Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter getting MVP votes in the previous season, star catcher Yadier Molina coming off a 20 homer season. There was also Paul Dejong priming for a breakout season and Harrison Bader looking like he could be a superstar for the Cardinals; but I don’t think anybody would have expected Kolten Wong, the 5’9 defensive first infielder; to be the best player on the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals