St. Louis Cardinals: Mike Matheny Does Not Need To Platoon Kolten Wong

By Todd Bennett
Kolten Wong
Getty Images

One of the more interesting developments of the St. Louis Cardinals‘ victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night was the arrival, finally, of veteran Mark Ellis at 2B.

After the game, in which Ellis knocked in two without benefit of a hit, manager Mike Matheny was somewhat coy about his intentions for how to split playing time at 2nd. This goes back to a rather annoying habit of Matheny being unwilling to trust young players who are not pitchers, as we have seen repeatedly with Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras and Tony Cruz.

The primary concern of course is that the club wins, but in order for the Cards to do that, they must recognize their future. Their future does not lie with Ellis, a serviceable veteran with a good reputation and work ethic. It lies with Wong, and so far, he has done nothing this season to suggest he is not developing properly. At age 23, he displays tantalizing potential to be a star at the position.

Therefore, these comments are disturbing. Ellis has a modicum of right-handed power and has a history of consistency in about the .720 OPS range. This is a terrific addition for the Cardinals’ bench, not lineup. Wong has range, speed, burgeoning power and multi-tooled talents must be allowed to develop.

The concept of lefty-righty platoons is antiquated, and can stunt young player development. The club had a major speed deficit last season and Wong helps that tremendously as well. The best thing for Matheny to do is trust his talent and let it thrive. He must choose growing pains over stunted growth.

Todd Bennett is a baseball writer for “Like” him on facebook, or add him to your Google+ network, follow him on Twitter, or follow his Pinterest board

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