Most of the starters on the Cardinals roster have clear spots in the lineup. For example, we know Matt Holliday and Matt Adams will be hitting third and fourth come 2015. Unfortunately there is one player on the Cardinals whose place in the batting order is unclear. This year, Kolten Wong is the odd-man out of the lineup because he has the potential to be effective in multiple ways. Wong did not have a particularly high OBP last season (.292) so it makes no sense for him to hit leadoff, but I could see him being a great two-hitter. Wong does not strike out that often, (71 in 402 at bats last season) and in the minor leagues his career strikeout percentage was only 8%. This is an incredible number. A strikeout percentage below 20% is considered above average in the MLB. Hitting after Matt Carpenter (the leadoff hitter), Wong would be a dangerous hit and run threat as well as a prime table setter for the big bats in the order.
Although it is logical for Wong to hit second, I could also see him hitting seventh in the Cards order. The seven hitter is extremely important because he is typically considered the last “dangerous” hitter in the lineup before leadoff. Whoever hits seventh usually gets a fair amount of RBI opportunities and anchors the bottom of the order. For a second baseman of slight stature, Wong has a lot of power. Even though he is only 5’9, Wong has quick hips and a short, compact swing, which results in above average bat speed. He was third amongst second basemen in the NL last year with 12 home runs in only 402 at bats. Assuming Wong has roughly 550-600 plate appearances next season, I would not be surprised if he hits around 20 home runs and drives in 75 as well.
As of right now, I am fairly certain Wong will be hitting seventh in the order to start 2015. Coach Matheny really likes Jason Heyward in the 2-hole and wants his bonafide star power in the front of the lineup. However, regardless of where Wong hits, look for him to have a productive season in 2015 and substantially improve offensively if he can stay healthy for the full season.