If I can keep it up all month, 31 days of positive posts! There's going to be enough negativity going around with the Cardinals not in the post-season.
Kolten Wong was a premier defensive player in the entire league this year. Period. He was A-MAZING. His defense propelled his average hitting line into a WAR of 3.2 (fangraphs and baseball-reference averaged).
Derrick Goold recently had a piece regarding Wong's all-out, full hustle, acrobatic style (especially on defense) in which he wrote:
The payoff of his style, Wong said recently, is worth the price.
“I think that’s just a personal choice and there are some guys that know how to play at a lower level and still compete really well,” Wong said when asked how to go from a 120-game player to a 150-game starter. “I don’t have that lower level. I don’t think I could play in the big leagues if I did. My tools are that I play the game the right way, I play it hard every day, and if I don’t play it that way that’s me taking a step back. And that step back means I will be opening up the way for someone to take my job.”
This is why I love watching Kolten Wong in the field. Earlier in his career, he may not have made the play every time, especially on the seemingly easy plays, but he went full bore on every play and still does...it's just he was BETTER at it this year.
One other thing is that Wong's offense, while it finished about league average, was very good for a large portion of the season. He played in 127 games this year. In his final 78 games (63 starts), he had a hitting line of .289/.362/.444/.807 with 28 runs scored, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homers, and 29 RBI...out of the 8 hole, primarily.
My favorite stat of Kolten Wong's combines with yesterday's topic of conversation in Paul DeJong. In games in which the Cardinals were afforded the luxury (or chose to at times) play both Kolten Wong and his ridiculous defense in the middle infield with Paul DeJong and his steady if not spectacular defense, the team went 40-25. Only 65 games saw those two infielders on the field together to start the game, just 40.1% of the starts, and yet the Cardinals were 15 games over .500 in those games. Their win percentage in those games was .615 and has a 162-game pace of 100 wins and 62 losses. Do this more Mike Shildt...when afforded the luxury. Furthermore, in 2017, the duo combined for a 30-25 record in 55 games together. That's a .545 win% (88 win pace). They're getting better together over time. Just do it, Shildt.
Positive October Day 5, in the books!
In case you missed them: