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Closing Time: Kolten Wong comes alive

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Kolten Wong, raking (USAT Sports Images)

When the Cardinals demoted Kolten Wong at the end of April, the move never really made perfect sense. But at least Wong used his time well in the minors. He was a terror during his 15-game visit to Memphis — 22-for-64, 14 R, 5 XBH, 10 RBIs, 5 SB — and he's been terrific since returning to St. Louis in mid-May.

Wong went 4-for-5 in a loss to the Yankees on Wednesday, his third multi-hit game in his last four starts. He's slashing .381/.435/.476 for the Cards this month with four doubles, four steals and six runs scored. The kid now has seven steals in eight attempts this season, which is pretty much in line with his recent history — he went 20-for-21 on the bases at Triple-A last year, then 3-for-3 in the bigs.

So can you find a use for a scorching hot middle-infielder with on-base skills, respectable speed, and a privileged position in the lineup? Many of you probably can. Wong is available in 81 percent of Yahoo leagues as of this writing, available to most of you. He was mass-dropped after the demotion, understandably. But he's now building the case for a mass-add.

Padres power source Tommy Medica gave us a near-cycle on Wednesday, falling short by only a single in a 3-for-5 performance against the D-Backs. That's two straight three-hit efforts for Medica, plus he's homered in back-to-back games. If you're looking for background info here, check this piece from John Sickels. Medica doesn't crack many prospect lists, due mostly to age and injury history, but there's power in his profile. He hit 18 homers at Double-A last season over 320 plate appearances, adding 20 doubles and three triples. For his minor league career, he's slashed .289/.382/.529. In a deep-ish league, he's worth a look.

Despite Medica's big night, the Pads were still smoked by Arizona, 12-6. The Diamondbacks pretty much treated Tim Stauffer like a group 10-year-olds treats a piñata. And some of us streamed him on Wednesday. Here's what that looked like...

Not your best work, Tim Stauffer

Nice work there, expert. Hey, at least we got a K.

You'll probably never believe this, but Ronald Belisario blew another save chance. I swear it's true; look it up. This time he managed to pick up the win, when the White Sox pushed across an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth. Still, it's way past time to worry about Belisario. You were probably worried the moment you added him, actually. Everyone saw this coming. Belisario has allowed at least one run (sometimes three) in four of his last five appearances. Daniel Webb has walked the world this year (18 BBs in 26.1 IP), but he figures to get a shot to close at some point.

Tim Lincecum tossed 5.0 no-hit frames against the Cubs on Wednesday, but he threw a zillion pitches and eventually had to sit. A five-pack of Giants relievers finished off the shutout of Chicago, but the no-no was eventually lost. Lincecum has been tolerable in eight of his last nine starts, though the velocity remains low (89.7 avg FB) and walks are a persistent issue. I have deployed him nowhere, because I lack courage.

If you're looking for a decent source of power with a .240-ish average (and why wouldn't you be looking for such traits?), then perhaps Lucas Duda can help. He's homered in two of his last three games, his sixth and seventh bombs of the season. Here's some Duda sunshine, via the New York Daily News...

“You can see he’s a lot quieter at home plate,” [New York Mets manager] Terry Collins said of Duda. “He’s the strongest guy in baseball for me. He doesn’t need all that movement to create bat speed. I hope some of the adjustments he’s made in the last seven days will start to help him out.”

Tommy La Stella's debut went according to plan, as he finished 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. We've made the pitch for La Stella a few times this year — here, here and most recently here — so you know we're on board. Our Rotoworld friends don't seem as enthusiastic (check the notes), so you have a range of opinions to consider. My feeling is that when the Braves slot La Stella near the top of the order, where he clearly belongs, we could have a Matt Carpenter-ish fantasy asset on our hands. The power/speed totals won't be great, but La Stella was an on-base machine in the minors (career .407 OBP) and he walks more often than he Ks. I'm plenty interested.

I have no idea if we'll actually see Cubs prospect Kris Bryant in the majors this season before September — probably not, though you never know — but the team definitely needs to find a new challenge for him. Bryant went 4-for-4 on Wednesday with yet another homer, raising his season slash to .349/.452/.667. He currently leads the Double-A Southern League in ... well, in just about everything that matters: hits, runs, homers, total bases, average, OBP, and slugging percentage. He's hit 15 homers in just 186 at-bats. Last year, 24 homers led the circuit. Whatever the ballclub's expectations were for Bryant entering the year, he's clearly exceeded them. Presumably he'll find his way to Iowa, soon.

OK, that's all you get for today. We're done here. Walk us off, Ryan Howard.

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