ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- From the day he was drafted in the first round back in 2011 out of Hawaii, Kolten Wong’s been billed as the future second baseman of the St. Louis Cardinals.
But anyone who knows anything about prospects knows how much can change from the time someone signs their first pro contract and when they’re supposed to be big league ready.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, these guys just don’t develop into what they were supposed to. Look no further than the Cards first rounder before Wong back in 2010. Brett Wallace. He just looked like a hitter. No one was really sure what position Wallace would play, but after winning the Triple Crown in the Pac-10 while at Arizona State, everyone was quite sure he’d hit.
Well, turns out he hasn’t. After getting dealt to Oakland and then Toronto and finally Houston, Wallace got a crack at the big leagues with the Astros in 2010. That season he hit .222 with just two home runs in 144 at-bats. To this day, he’s still got just 16 homers and a career .250 average, far from what was expected of him.
Wong (at least so far) is a different case. No, he hasn’t done a thing at the big league level. He hasn’t gotten that chance yet. But he’s done exactly what he was supposed to do since getting drafted in the first round.
While Wallace didn’t hit for power, Wong’s hit for a high average everywhere he’s been. From low-A Quad Cities in 2011 (.335 average with a .401 on-base percentage) to AA-Springfield in 2012 (.287 with a .348) to the Arizona Fall League that just concluded (.324 average) his value as just as high now as it was the day he was drafted.
That right there leads many, including the Cardinals, to think his talent will translate to the big leagues. It’s impossible to tell until he arrives and starts performing, but consistent production from second base is something this Cardinals team hasn’t gotten in quite a while.
Skip Schumaker, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene and company all have gotten chances over the last couple years and no one has truly run away with the position. Being able to safely project someone at that position for an extended period of time would give them a sense of security they haven’t had in a while.
A revolving door can only work for so long. The Cards hope it ends with Wong.