Two St. Louis Cardinals were selected to participate in the 2013 Futures Game at Citi Field on July 14, though only one will be flashing his skills, while the other will not play, as he continues to recover from injury.
Second-baseman Kolten Wong, a Hawaii native, will be representing the United States. Wong has dominated thus far for the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate. Wong was drafted No. 22 overall by St. Louis in 2011. Since his arrival, the 22-year-old has made a lasting impression on the organization.
Through 82 games this season, Wong has maintained a healthy .299 average, with seven home runs and 29 RBI.
“He’s come a long way in a short period of time, and he’s swinging the bat really well,” Cardinals farm director John Vuch said, courtesy of MLB.com. “I think he’ll still get even better the more experienced he gets.”
While at Double-A Springfield last season, Wong boasted a .287 average in 126 games. This year, Wong has upped his average and improved his swing dramatically.
Of Wong’s 96 hits this season, he’s tallied 30 extra-base hits, including 16 doubles and seven triples.
Surprisingly, the left-handed hitting Wong has seen tremendous success against left-handed pitchers, as he’s hitting .312 in 109 at-bats this season. As for right-handers, Wong’s numbers aren’t much different. He’s managing a .292 mark with five home runs and 18 RBI.
Meanwhile, Oscar Taveras, who was tabbed to play outfield for the World Team, will not partake in the event because of an ankle sprain that has caused the 21-year-old to go on the disabled list twice this season, according to Derrick Goold, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Despite Taveras’ nagging ankle sprain, he has ripped the cover off the ball when healthy. In 46 games, Taveras is hitting .306, with 17 extra-base hits, including 12 doubles and five home runs, and has knocked in 32 RBI.
As Taveras continues to progress, Vuch feels there is sufficient room for improvement in all areas of his game.
“Even though he’s so proficient as a hitter, the other areas of his game are still kind of catching up to that,” Vuch said, according to MLB.com. “He’s going to be competitive at the big league level, but there’s always things [he] can learn. [He’s] not wasting time at Triple-A.”