A sluggish offense has failed to produce enough to support a taxed pitching staff, and the team failed to complete any trades prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. In need of a punch in the lineup, the Cardinals reportedly have promoted second baseman Kolten Wong.
Wong is one of the top prospects in the organization and has long been rumored to be ready for the jump to the major leagues. A lineup that did not seem to have a home for him kept him in Memphis longer than most people thought possible. Recent struggles have changed that landscape and the team conceded that the time was now, and Wong was informed that his contract had been purchased.
A defensive presence
Matt Carpenter has done a more than adequate job at second base this year, showing a versatility that the team very much needed to start this season. Wong, however, is a step above. Wong has spent parts of three seasons in his professional career and has been voted as the top defensive second baseman in his current league each of those three years.
A hit machine
The Cardinals have struggled to keep the offense moving along lately, and Wong offers a huge upgrade in that aspect. Wong has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games with five of those games featuring more than one hit. He has seven hitting streaks that have eclipsed five games and has produced 36 multi-hit games, the most of any player for the Memphis Redbirds this season.
A stronger bench
The expectation at this point is for Wong to take over at second base while Matt Carpenter shifts to third base and David Freese establishes a spot on the bench. Freese's recent struggles have been well-documented, and there is a lot of support for the thought of him improving with some time off and working from the bench. The combination of Freese, Carpenter and Wong rotating to the bench on a regular basis makes the bench considerably stronger.
The future is now
The Cardinals have been extremely protective of their prospects over the last few years, refusing to trade them away in a deal to bring an established veteran presence to the team. The fans have been exposed to the pitching prospects over the course of the season, but Wong represents the first of the prized position players that the team is waiting for.
The team is in the thick of a playoff run and could use a punch in the arm, which Wong seems prepared to bring to the plate. The team will improve and Wong will be tested.
The fans may be the biggest winners of all.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kolten Wong