Exit Interview: Kolten Wong

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.   Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Kolten Wong

Season stats: 150 games, 613 PA, 71 R, 28 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 15 SB, 8 CS, 36 BB, 95 K, .262/.321/.386, 92 OPS+, 2.2 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 7, Goat 12

Overall grade: B

Positives: Played a full season in the majors and increased his OPS yet again….had a home run in his third straight postseason series….hit .280 with nine of his 11 homers in the first half….hit .318 with five home runs in May….went 3 for 7 as a pinch hitter….hit .277 with a homer as the first batter in the game….had a .924 OPS on the first pitch of an at-bat….hit .278 with nobody out in an inning….hit .327 with three homers in high-leverage situations….hit over .300 against both the Cubs and the Pirates.

Negatives: Had a terrible second half, hitting just .238 with a .614 OPS….hit .229 and had a sub-.600 OPS against left-handed pitching….had just a .233 mark with there were two outs in an inning….hit just .214/.313/.375 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit just .224 against the Milwaukee Brewers….went 2-for-14 with five strikeouts in the NLDS.

Overview: Wong played more this past season than he had in other years, though I don’t know if the increase was significant enough to explain his sharp decline in the second half.  After all, things started settling as early as June, when he hit .250, and August was his worst month (.202/.255/.253) which should have still been within his normal parameters of playing time.  Wong can go on some amazing streaks–he had a six game run in May where he hit .571 and had two homers–but he can also slump pretty hard as well.  He doesn’t usually go a long time without a hit–it looks like his longest stretch like that was three games last year–but 1 for 10 and such are a little more frequent with him.

You’d like to think that Wong is still developing and will continue to be a solid offensive force.  He’s still not a leadoff guy, as he’s not got the patience to get his OBP up very high, but he fits in nicely at the bottom of the order to give thump where there usually isn’t any.

Outlook: It seems unlikely that St. Louis would try to move Wong, given his youth and talent, though I guess depending on the deal you couldn’t rule it out.  It’s much more likely we’ll see Wong playing second and hitting seventh next season on a regular basis.

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