Draft Prospect: Kolten Wong

Kolten Wong has become a Ray in a few mock drafts too and I’ve written about him before. The knocks on Wong are basic: he is short, a college second baseman, and plays for Hawaii. The latter is obvious, as there just aren’t a ton of success stories from Hawaii, but the former is a little more abstract. Here are the best 10 second basemen since 2008 using Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement Level metric that attended college:

Chase Utley
Dustin Pedroia
Ian Kinsler
Rickie Weeks
Mark Ellis
Brian Roberts
Aaron Hill
Clint Barmes
Adam Kennedy
Freddy Sanchez

It’s an okay list until the bottom portion, but here is the same 10 with the position they played during their drafted season:

Utley: 2B
Pedroia: SS
Kinsler: SS
Weeks: 2B
Ellis: 2B
Roberts: SS
Hill: SS
Barmes: SS
Kennedy: SS/DH
Sanchez: SS

As you can see, seven of the 10 moved over from shortstop, thus supporting the defensive spectrum where players up the middle can always move to a side if they need to. Playing second base in college tends to signal a lacking display of range (not enough to play short) or arm (not enough to play third). This isn’t always true, as current Ray Tyler Bortnick played second base during his drafted season and always graded out as a defensive plus, but more often than not. Kong’s size, 5-foot-9, doesn’t help matters, but he has started at every position up the middle during his time at Hawaii.

With all of that known, why is Kong a worthwhile draft prospect? Because of his bat. Watch any video of Wong swinging and it becomes evident. He has quiet hands, an efficient swing and an advanced approach. Unsurprisingly, the results are not too shabby either. Wong appears to be a potential quick riser, and while the Rays have a few nice middle infield prospects in the system, it never hurts to add one more.

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