For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong. The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year. Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter. As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.
Player: Kolten Wong
Season stats: 108 G, 411 PA, 55 R, 27 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 8 SB, 41 BB, 60 K, .285/.376/.412, 109 OPS+, 1.9 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 5, Goat 6
Overall grade: A
Positives: Set numerous career highs, such as in all three slash stats….made no trips to Memphis for the first time in a while….hit .288 against righties but held his own (.274 with a .703 OPS) against lefties….hit .339 with three of his four home runs at home….hit .301 in the first half of the season….hit .347 in August….three of his homers came in August as well….hit .319 when he led off an inning….hit .292 on the first pitch….had a 1.006 OPS when ahead in the count….hit .293 in high leverage situations….hit .412 in four games against the Red Sox, whom he might have had a personal vendetta against….had a .796 OPS in night games.
Negatives: Ended the season in a 4-32 (.125) rut….hit .237 away from Busch for a stark contract in his home hitting….had a .509 OPS in September….went 3-14 (.214) leading off a game….hit .212 when there were two outs….hit .214 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit .100 against the Cubs….hit .255 in day games….dealt with some nagging injuries which limited his playing time.
Overview: I wouldn’t say Wong came into his own this season but he definitely seemed more comfortable in his role. The power numbers were down but his production overall was up. It felt like he realized that he didn’t need to be swinging for the fences even though he did have the power to have the ball go out of the yard. He wasn’t running as much as he did a couple of years ago but he was pretty successful when he did steal a base. He occasionally hit at the top of the lineup but really was a threat in the seventh or eighth spot, putting a runner on in the bottom of the lineup. It just felt like Wong knew what he could be and, to use a cliche, didn’t try to do too much. Which would seem to bode well for his career as hopefully an above-average second baseman, even if he’s not an All-Star.
Outlook: For the first time in a while, it feels like Wong’s role is pretty established as well. Barring a trade, which you can’t completely rule out given the way the team is looking to reshape things, Kolten should be the everyday second baseman with little controversy or drama next season. There should be no real talk about “platooning” like there was at the end of spring training this year. There should be no discussion about sending him to Memphis (even if you could, which I believe he’s out of options so that’s not on the table). Just a good, solid, regular year for the second baseman. That’s the hope, at least!