When last the world checked in with St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, he had been picked off at first base to end Game 4 of the 2013 World Series, in itself a bizarre affair containing memorable meltdowns and oddities.
Wong endeared himself to Cards fans by not shrinking from the responsibility and manning up to the mistake. He vowed to work harder and be worthy of a spot on one of the most loaded rosters in baseball, and with a great deal of work and effort to refine his swing, it appears he has done just that.
Wong batted .375 with an astounding .1.080 .OPS in spring, tops on the club among projected regulars. Most striking to many observers was his more unexpected power, smashing two home runs, five doubles and snagging a triple good for a .646 slugging percentage.
Wong, long known to be a speedy glove man, could make the Cardinals a historically good team if he is able to provide pop from the second base position while providing more of the flashes of defensive brilliance he teased Cardinal Nation with last season in his brief stint with the club.
It is wise to not make too much of spring, but a simple evaluation of Wong’s batting side and swing show the potential for those who cap his home run power as high single digits to be wrong. It seems unlikely that Wong will be a true slugger, but he has a natural uppercut lefties are typically known for. If he improves his pitch selection, his ability to turn quickly on inside fastballs may propel him to superstar status one day.