St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong recently voiced his displeasure with the team’s commitment to him, which you can read more about here. Going into Monday’s game, Wong was hitting .170 with no homers and his struggles continue. It seems that every spring for the past two or three years, we’ve gone through this with Wong. Has a disappointing season, vows to work on his game in the offseason, talks self up right before spring training, disappoints during spring training, Mozeliak or Matheny say something about him needing to be better, Kolten gets mad, Kolten hits a little bit at the end of spring training, Kolten struggles during the regular season, rinse, repeat.
Cardinals fans have been waiting for the Wong breakout for a couple years, and now it’s starting to look like maybe that time might not come at all. What doesn’t help is that Wong continues to try and talk himself up and try to make it seem like he’s close to reaching his potential, but instead nothing ever happens.
Things are starting to change, though. In previous seasons, Wong didn’t have any real threats to take his job with the likes of Mark Ellis and pre-breakout Jedd Gyorko behind him, essentially making Wong the best option every day at second base. This is no longer the case in 2017. One reason for that is Gyorko is coming off a 30-homer season of part-time play and will likely get more playing time this season.
Should Gyorko regress, however, there are still options other than playing Wong every day. With Jhonny Peralta looking like the third baseman since Aledmys Diaz is taking over shortstop, Matt Carpenter has moved over to first base. Carpenter’s move has shifted Matt Adams to the bench, even though Adams has slimmed down in an effort to get himself in better playing shape.
Adams probably hasn’t enjoyed his new role on the bench this spring, but unlike some players, he has been making his case for more trust through putting up numbers and not complaining. Going into Monday, Adams was hitting .282 this spring with four home runs and seven RBIs. As the old saying goes, “Spring training numbers aren’t trustworthy,” but Adams has showcased power and run-producing ability this spring. For the team trying to replace 107 RBIs left by Jeremy Hazelbaker Matt Holliday, and Brandon Moss, Adams deserves some decent playing time at least to start the season.
Fans should remember that Carpenter has the ability to play all over the diamond and was once a starter at second base. If Adams performs well through the end of spring training, a decent case could be made for him to start Opening Night against the Cubs and to start Carpenter at second over Wong.
Wong continues to speak out and not have the play or numbers to back up his words, and if that continues he could see himself on the bench or even on another team.
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