Wong’s on second:
I know what you are thinking already, but you are going to need to deal with the facts. Kolten Wong is the Cardinals 2nd baseman, and really it’s not going to be all that bad. As I wrote about first base, I realized, Kolten is the only infielder unable to play any other position. (I know, Matt Adams in left joke) I am not the biggest fan of Kolten Wong, but he is actually showing signs of plate disciple early this season. (Four walks and one strike out in 19 PA) His defense is really what is going to keep him on the field. So as we discussed who’s on first lets just accept, Wong’s on 2nd. (Well Gyorko is today)
Wong’s on 2nd
Back in March I wrote a piece asking in Gyorko was a better option at 2nd base. Everyone wants to cling to his 30 homeruns hit in 2016 and point to that as an obvious sign that he is a superior hitter to Kolten Wong. Allow me to burst his bubble for you once again.
Jedd hit only 9 doubles last year, which is horrible for a player who had 400 at-bats. Yes, he did hit 30 home runs but needed those 30 homeruns to produce 47 of his 59 RBI. When Gyorko steps to the plate there is a 56% chance he will strike out or hit a lazy fly ball. While 25 to 30 of those fly balls may go over the fence, it is not an indicator of him being a good hitter. Even though their averages were similar last year Wong had on base percentage 21 points higher than Gyorko, and struck out at a lower percentage rate. (Plain and simple, Wong is a better hitter)
Greg Garcia is the other option at 2nd this season. While I think he is a capable backup, he is still unproven at the plate. He is the new Daniel Descalso. I like the way he plays the game, I just think Wong has a higher ceiling.
What we need from Kolten:
Beyond smarter baseball, we need him to have a slash line closer to 260/330/430 and be the guy we know he can be on the field. Let him try and steal bases, give him the chance to succeed. This could be a guy ready to break out in 2017. (though I said the same thing in 2016)
I know it is early into the season, but Kolten Wong looks more like the 2015 version, and less like his 2016 version. He is being more patient at the plate, chasing fewer balls out of the strike zone, and seems to be walking with a little swagger again. If he can start hitting some more doubles this year, The Cardinals could get a lot of run production from 2nd base this year. A lot of people are talking about Carpenter going back to 2nd, I don’t see that as a real possibility. Kolten is our guy, time to find out what we have. Sink or swim time kid.