Connor Wong
Can Connor Wong become an impact player for the Red Sox? Can Wong become more than just a cherry on top to the infamous Mookie Betts trade? (Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Can Connor Wong Become An Impact Player For The Red Sox?

Connor Wong… Welcome to the show. Wong has been called up from AAA Worcester after Kevin Plawecki was placed on the IL list. What looks like a minor move has many more implications attached. You see, Wong isn’t just a backup catcher. He’s the cherry on top of the Mookie Betts trade.

Wong wasn’t originally part of the Betts trade. He was a late add after the original deal was voided. Jeter Downs and Wong became part of the trade after Boston didn’t like the medical reports from Brusdar Graterol. A smart choice for multiple reasons.

A: Jeter Downs had to be part of this trade. He’s the franchise cornerstone at second base.

B: Brusdar Graterol is already struggling with injuries and has been shaky in 2021 when healthy.

C: Connor Wong is a nice free gift after the Red Sox bitched about the medicals.

Wong, 25, fits the mold of how the Dodgers have been developing catchers. Athletic position player that gets thrown behind the dish. It’s the formula Austin Barnes and Will Smith have both followed. Given that athletic profile, the Sox young catcher figures to have a bit of a higher ceiling but is very much an unproven commodity. In limited action with the AAA WooSox, Wong has a batting line of just .148/.188/.246 line in 64 plate appearances. NOT GREAT.

Despite the lack of an offensive thump thus far, manager Alex Cora is a firm believer in Wong:

“A position player that’s a catcher now. It seems like it’s something they like on the West Coast with (Will) Smith and (Austin) Barnes,” Cora said on March 1. “And this kid can do it, too. Good hands. Very smooth. And offensively, he understands what he can do. But I really like the fact that communication is No. 1 in his defensive game. You see him in the dugout talking to Jason (Varitek), to the pitchers. And for a young guy to be able to do that right now is eye opening. And it was fun to watch him perform yesterday.”

Boston obviously liked what they saw in Wong to have him be a throw-in for the infamous trade. It sure as hell helps to have Jason Varitek be part of the coaching staff. Is there anybody in baseball you would rather learn from? Varitek is about as good of a mentor as you can ask for.

Wong is a fairly high rated farmhand. According to MLB Pipeline, the former Dodgers’ 2017 third round pick ranks 16th in a reloaded Red Sox farm system. It’s important for Wong to make a strong impression on both sides of the dish.

A: Wong is 25. He’s not a spring chicken anymore. 40 man roster spots are valuable and you only get so many options.

B: Wong is not the only catching prospect on the farm. Boston frankly flat out stole Ronaldo Hernandez, a former top 100 prospect, from Tampa. If Wong fails, it won’t be long until Hernandez gets a crack at the rotation if another injury to Plawecki or Christian Vazquez occurs.

Wong will likely stick on the active roster until Plawecki returns. Given the fact that it’s just a minor hamstring injury, Wong may only have two weeks on the roster during his initial call up. Obviously, those two weeks won’t make or break Wong’s career. However, it may be necessary for Wong to look the part.

The Red Sox have already won the Mookie Betts trade. Alex Verdugo is the energizer bunny this franchise needs. Verdugo is also putting up better numbers than Betts and is making 34x less money than him too (that’s the real number). Jeter Downs looks like a stud. If Wong can even become an adequate starting catcher in the future… The Sox robbed the Dodgers blind. It’s just a matter of if the cherry on top can become more than just a throw-in?