Unlike recent springs, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong sees no need in lobbying to bat leadoff in the order. Wong most likely will hit eighth, perhaps seventh once in a while, and he is content with it. He knows full well that Dexter Fowler is penciled in as Mike Matheny’s leadoff hitter, and if it isn’t Fowler, then Matt Carpenter will assume the position. “I’m just stoked to be in the lineup,” Wong said Thursday at the Cardinals’ complex. where a couple dozen players went through informal workouts. “Honestly, I really do enjoy hitting seventh or eighth. “I feel like I have a really good grasp at how to succeed at that position. You really have to be thinking what you’re going to do hitting eighth. How many outs are there? What are you going to do if the pitcher is hitting behind you? If there’s a pinch-hitter behind you, how are you going to attack the at-bat?” The statistics bear out Wong’s success at hitting down in the lineup last year. He had a .414 on-base percentage and .299 average while hitting eighth in 33 starts and .420 and .347 batting seventh in 30 starts. His on-base percentage overall was .376, well above his .323 career average, and his .285 batting average also was a career high. By contrast, his on-base average in 14 starts as a leadoff man was just .324 and his batting average .254. Having adapted to batting at the bottom, Wong now looks to maximize his ability to steal bases, with the help of Willie McGee, who swiped 352 bases in his career but will be a full-time coach instead of only a spring training instructor.
Wong no longer thirsts to bat first for the Cardinals
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Feb 8