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PostPosted: April 25 19, 12:43 pm 
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Quote:
Kolten Wong, Unheralded Master of Plate Discipline
by Ben Clemens
April 25, 2019


https://blogs.fangraphs.com/kolten-wong ... iscipline/

Quote:
Kolten Wong has been a 2.9 WAR/600 PA player for his career with a 95 wRC+. His defense and baserunning are tremendously valuable. If he starts putting up 120 wRC+’s, that looks more like a 5 WAR/600 season (numbers extremely rounded, because we’re talking in theoreticals here). Is this wish-casting? Sure. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility, though. We’re not turning Kolten Wong into Mike Trout; we’re making him average when he puts the ball in play.

That, in a 1700 word nutshell, is what’s so amazing about Wong. Watch a Cardinals broadcast, home or away, and you’ll probably hear the announcers comment on his defense. If he has an extra-base hit, they might mention that he sometimes shows surprising pop. It’s almost a guarantee, though, that they won’t mention his strikeouts and walks. It’s not sexy. It’s not a talking point. It’s just an incredibly valuable, near-invisible skill that turbo-charges Wong’s value, whether he’s hitting well or not.


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PostPosted: April 25 19, 12:49 pm 
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-go birds
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not having matheny as manager should be worth at least 1 WAR for wong.


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PostPosted: April 25 19, 1:00 pm 
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No kidding. I've always believed that the problems with Wong were all in his head, meaning that he was constantly putting too much pressure on himself or trying a completely different approach every time he hit a bump in the road and so forth.

Under Matheny I think he felt like he had no room for even a single mistake or bad game because he'd end up buried on the bench for a week or so any time he did and that just completely messed with him mentally making it hard for him to just relax and let the talent and natural ability take over. The kid has an amazing amount of talent and natural ability that I think is finally starting to show consistently in his performance and he's just flat out getting better as a player all around now that Shildt has not only told him that he has confidence in him but also proven that he has that confidence in him by running him out there every day and not constantly burying him for days at a time because of a bad performance or there is a lefty starting or any number of reasons that Matheny used to change his lineup from day to day.

I think that steadiness and belief in his players has helped a number of players on the team immensely since Shildt took over and the team is responding to it.

Sure it means guys like Gyorko are buried on the bench but if that's the worst thing I can think of under Shildt then I'm happy. He's still finding plenty of ways to get Jose Martinez and all of the outfielders into games when they are all healthy even while sticking with the primary trio of Ozuna, Bader and Fowler.


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PostPosted: April 25 19, 3:07 pm 
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go birds wrote:
not having matheny as manager should be worth at least 1 WAR for wong.


The article actually mentions that!

Quote:
If you know Kolten Wong for a second thing, you probably know him for the endless flashes of potential, the bumpy road he’s followed throughout his major league career. In 2013, when he’d barely had a cup of coffee in the regular season, he got picked off of first base to end the World Series. After two average-ish seasons in the majors, he found himself playing the outfield (?!) so that the team could squeeze more at-bats out of… um… Matt Adams? Brandon Moss? Greg Garcia? Mike Matheny-run teams had some interesting substitution patterns, let me tell you.


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PostPosted: August 13 19, 9:20 am 
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VEB has a piece out on Kolten Wong and his improvements against lefties this season. You can read it here: https://www.vivaelbirdos.com/2019/8/13/ ... -cardinals

That reminded me of this thread and thought it might be time for a bump. How is our 2b'man doing? I suggested that a career year for Wong could look something like Jason Kipnis, with maybe a bit more contact ability and a bit less power. Kipnis' line of comparison was: .276/.349/.429.

Wong's line right now is - .267/.350/.390 - and steadily climbing. That is across the board better than his career mark of .257/.329/.382, but a far cry from his career bests in '17 - .285/.376/.412. Wong's fWAR for the season is just 2.1, which was surprisingly low, all things considered. He's obviously hitting better, and this article covers that for us. So, is the issue defense? His defense looks eye-poppingly good to me. What's going on?

There is a very heavy disparity in the defensive stats on Fangraphs. My eyes tell me that Wong is having a tremendous defensive season. DRS says that he is having a tremendous defensive season -- his 12 defensive runs saved is down quite a bit from last year's 19 in more innings. A casual fan, like myself, can't "see" the difference between a +12 and a +19. We'll see both as "this guy is awesome". That +12, despite being lower than last year, is still BY FAR the highest DRS among 2b'man in the league. It's the 11th best DRS is the enitre game. 2nd among qualifying 2b'man is Adam Frazier at just +4. The problem is that Fangraphs uses UZR to calculate WAR, and Wong's UZR is just 3.2, good for 4th in the league among 2b'man with more than 500 innings, and 44th overall.

So, if you shift over to brWAR (Baseball Reference, which uses DRS), Wong is sitting at 3.3 WAR, just slightly under last year's 3.5 and well on his way to the best brWAR year of his career. If he continues his offensive upswing and plays GG caliber defense the rest of the way, that original line of .276/.349/.429 with less power is still in play. As is a career year by the way BR measures it.

That said, we can't just ignore UZR because it's lower. Defensive stats like UZR are best understood over the course of hundreds and hundreds of innings; even 4 month samples can have a lot of noise in it. Wong's UZR and DRS have matched up pretty well throughout his career. UZR is always lower, but that's universally true. This year is the largest disparity between the two in his career. So, chalk it up to noise and rest assured that Wong is still one of if not the best 2b defender in the league.


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