In an effort to shuffle and kick-start their lineup, the Cardinals recently purchased the contract of 22-year-old second baseman Kolten Wong from Triple-A Memphis. Wong, who ranked no. 34 on Baseball Prospectus’ mid-season top 50 prospects list, figures to slot in as the club’s primary second baseman against right-handed pitching. As a result, All-Star two-bagger Matt Carpenter has slid over to third base, with the scuffling David Freese moving to the bench.
Wong may ultimately see some action against left-handed pitching, though he wasn’t in the lineup against southpaw Travis Wood on Saturday. While the lefty swinging prospect hit .289 against his fellow southpaws in Triple-A this season, he did so with little punch (.383 SLG). On the other hand, Wong posted a robust .310/.386/.504 slash line against Triple-A right-handers.
Listed at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Wong was the 22nd overall pick in 2011 after hitting .358/.450/.563 in three seasons at the University of Hawaii. Though he lacked big projection given his diminutive frame and second-base profile, Wong’s outstanding feel to hit, solid glove, and mature skill set made him a first-round selection and a likely big leaguer.
Two years later, following successful stints in Low-A Quad Cities, Double-A Springfield, and Triple-A Memphis, Wong has landed in St. Louis. Projecting as a solid-average everyday player at the keystone, Wong should ultimately provide a plus hit tool with a plus glove, average speed, and fantastic instincts. A more in-depth look at Wong’s game can be found in BP’s Eyewitness Accounts entry from July 26.
Between Kolten reaching the major leagues and younger brother Kean becoming a fourth-round pick of Tampa Bay, the Wong family is having an eventful 2013 season. Earlier this summer, I spoke with Wong about his brother, being discovered as an amateur in Hawaii, his swing, his glove, and his Triple-A success.