It’s Time to Worry About Kolten Wong

Just a quick post here. Usually this would be just a couple quick stats shared via twitter, but since its 2 AM, and 99% of my followers wouldn’t see it, I’ll make it a post.

Credit: FoxSports.com

Credit: FoxSports.com

Let me start by saying I have never been sold on Kolten Wong as a Major League hitter. That paltry .153 BA from last year still rings in my head, and it was the lack of hard hit balls that really got to me. Wong tore it up in the spring, struggled early, got demoted, came back up, tore it up, and now may be in his worst slump yet. At the time of his demotion the Cardinal 2nd baseman was in a 4-28 funk and hitting .225 on the season. Currently, Wong is in a 4-45 slump and batting only .228 on the season.

After the demotion, Wong “got his head right” down in Memphis and came back up hot as a fire cracker. From May 16th through May 28th the speedy prospect hit .363 capped by a 4-5 day against the Yankees on the 28th. On the 29th, Wong went 0-3 against the Giants and now, three weeks later, has only four hits since. There was a shoulder problem thrown in there which I suppose could still be nagging. However, aside from a 12 day stretch of hot hitting, what has he shown to make me, or anyone else believe that we are going to get substantial offense from him.

I don’t want to come across as a Wong hater. I’m as excited about his potential as anybody, but potential is a scary word. The reality is that over 213 Major League AB’s, Kolten Wong is a .211 lifetime hitter. The only basis behind any belief that Wong can hit at the highest level is his .303 average as a minor leaguer.  A line drive percentage hovering around 16% sits approximately 4% below the league average, showing an inability to hit the ball hard, making his .257 BABIP no excuse. Take away the fact that Wong is 3-8 on bunts this year and his average drops eight more points down to .220.

213 AB’s is still a relatively small sample, and Wong is still very young, so the panic button can wait for now. It is curious though that after panic at the beginning of the season, not much has been made of Wong’s recent struggles. For an offense that as a whole is struggling, this team really can’t afford to not get production from any spot in the lineup. I mentioned in my Matt Carpenter post the possibility of trading for a power bat at 3rd base and moving Carpenter back to 2nd. I’m not willing to give up on Wong now, or at any point this season, but its worth looking into. If come late July, Wong is still hovering around .220 change has to be made if the team expects to contend. It isn’t time to panic, but it is time to worry about Kolten Wong.

It’s not crazy, it’s sports.

Follow me on twitter: @GSC_AJ

*Again I apologize for not having player links, if any fellow bloggers have troubleshooting tips for BBR Linker that would be great!

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