Since coming back from the disabled list on July 6th, Kolten Wong has recorded a .351 batting average, blasted five home runs, one of which was a crucial walk-off homer against the Pirates, and drove in eight RBI’s to lead the Cards to a tie for first place in the NL Central with the Brewers. Due to his recent success at the plate, Wong has seen his batting average soar from a subpar .228 to .251, and he has been moved from eighth to second in the batting order, which is a logical decision considering Wong has stolen 12 bases this season. In general, Wong’s resurgence demonstrates exactly why the front office has him as one of the centerpieces of the team for years to come.
Last season, Wong suffered a lot of growing pains in his first promotion to the big leagues, as he hit just .153 and recorded no RBI’s in 59 at-bats. He started out this season for the Cardinals in a similar way, which led to a demotion to Memphis. With a .221 BA in April, Wong was optioned to Memphis to straighten out his hitting mechanics and gain some confidence, and it seemed to have worked. Since that stint in Memphis, Wong raised his BA to .266 before suffering a left shoulder injury on June 3rd against the Royals, which he played through until June 20th. That decision ultimately cost him as a 2 for 26 slump slipped his batting average to .228 before he headed to the disabled list with a left shoulder contusion. Now, it appears as though Wong’s left shoulder is completely healthy, and with the All-Star Break giving him four days’ rest, Wong is primed for a fantastic finish to the season.
What has contributed to his overall recent success? Of course, there is no simple answer, but I’m inclined to attribute it to his good health, which has led to a newfound feeling of confidence. By allowing Wong to make mistakes along the way in his development as an everyday second baseman, Matheny and the front office have instilled confidence in Wong that is just now coming to fruition. Let’s not forget that this is just Wong’s first complete season in the big leagues, and although Cards fans shouldn’t read too much into his recent success, the fact that he’s showing signs of hitting for average and power is a promising sign.