In his first full professional season. pushed all the way up to the St. Louis Cardinals' AA affiliate, Kolten Wong got off to such a good start that it took a while for everyone to realize 2012 was a minor disappointment. For well-rounded hitters—that's code for "hitters who don't have any impressive counting stats for us to follow"—that's how hot starts work. Put together a solid batting average with great peripherals for the first couple of months and nobody's going to notice when you finish with a solid batting average and mediocre peripherals.

For Wong, the Cardinals' second baseman of the near future, that trick couldn't have worked any better:

By the time his ugly July and low-OBP August worked their way into his numbers we had already internalized the idea that Wong was having an impressive high-minors debut; that .310/.379/.445 he carried into July 1 is an almost perfect representation of the ideal Kolten Wong.

But by the end of the year his numbers were an almost perfect representation of the acceptable Kolten Wong—and in AA Springfield, where Daniel Descalso left us permanently gun-shy with a .323/.396/.531 half-season back in 2009.

The offseason was enough time for most of us to realize that Kolten Wong hadn't had the season we thought he was having; even the Cardinals' total lack of stability at the position hasn't been enough to restart talk about him skipping Memphis.

Last June it seemed like Wong was prepared to bring the Cardinals' second base carousel to a stop a year ahead of schedule. Today he is in major league camp, at least for the moment. But winning the job in March—or even in April or May—is no longer something he can do himself; he'll need help from others.