Most baseball fans probably don’t care about Kolten Wong, but you should. In a year where teams are hamstrung financially but a shortened offseason, a lot of bargain contracts are going to be signed this offseason. The Cardinals declined Wong’s contract worth $12.5 million. Wong is worth every penny of that deal but will likely sign for something even less now.
If you’re looking for a bridge 2nd baseman or you’re a team that missed out on DJ LeMahieu, Kolten Wong is your guy. Among second basemen, Wong has ranked first in defensive runs saved two out of the previous three seasons. Wong also won the Fielding Bible Award in three straight years at the position.
The last time I checked, defense still matters. The best defender at the position is available and nobody cares. Wong was on pace this season to notch a 3.5 fWAR which is in line with the 3.7 mark he posted in 2019. Nobody more range than Wong at the position and simply saves outs for your team.
No, the bat isn’t elite, but who cares? That’s all gravy anyway and Wong makes up for it anyway. He’s always been a plus base runner stealing 24 bags in 2019. He also posts high walk rates notching a .350 OBP last year.
Again, Wong isn’t going to light up the advanced metrics in hard hit percentage. Still, Wong is a career .260 hitter and gets on base more than enough. The Hawaiian born infielder also makes contact at a high rate so isn’t going to produce those terrible at-bats all the time.
The defense is going to be there. If you can get a good year at the dish from Wong and he hits in the .280 range, you’re not doing much better at the position. He’s the perfect compliment to a team that needs a stop gap at 2nd before they bring up a young prospect they like.
The market is moving at a snail’s pace. However, it doesn’t seem like anybody even cares about Wong at this point. Wong’s singular skill set is immensely valuable. If I told you the best home run hitter was on the market but he wasn’t perfect, he would be signed yesterday.