St. Louis Cardinals pending second baseman Kolten Wong is expected to get the call today from AAA Memphis. He’s the No. 79 and 84 prospect according to MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively, and I’m not overly excited about him.
I don’t expect Wong to make an immediate or profound impact this year unless he can immediately uproot Daniel Descalso and force manager Mike Matheny to move Matt Carpenter over to the hot corner. Even if this move happens in 2014, I would be more than pleased as a Wong owner to get 10 homers and steals apiece out of him.
In his defense, though, he recorded consistently low strikeout rates at each level and got on base at a .369 clip in AAA, consistent with his .365 minor league OBP. I could see him turning into a less prolific Carpenter, hitting for average from the No. 2 spot and racking up a ton of runs because of he will likely be followed up by some combination of Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Matt Adams and Oscar Taveras.
Wong has stolen 20+ bases each of the last two years and is starting to flash more power as he develops, but I would give him until maybe 2015 to really hit his stride. I predict he’ll be a serviceable option in 2014, but as far as second-base prospects are concerned, I would rank him behind the San Diego Padres’ Jedd Gyorko, the Seattle Mariners’ Brad Miller and Nick Franklin, and the Washington Nationals’ Anthony Rendon. However, given Carpenter’s propensity to reach base and score as part of a lethal St. Louis offense, I predict Wong could have a similarly high upside, but with more speed than power.
If I’m in a rotisserie league with an auction draft, which I am, I would gladly drop $1 on Wong as a flyer — but if the four other aforementioned prospects are available at the same price come draft time, I will more readily take a chance on one of them first.
As far as 2013 is concerned, I wouldn’t bother with Wong unless he quickly makes an impact. I think Wong’s debut will look more like the debut of Texas Rangers’ Jurickson Profar rather than of Franklin.