The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Wong Strives to Out-Homer Grichuk

During a cut-in at the start of the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday night, field reporter Jim Hayes came on air on the FOX Sports Midwest St. Louis Cardinals broadcast to share the details of his conversation earlier in the day with Randal Grichuk.

The subject is an ongoing bet between the outfielder and his teammate, second baseman Kolten Wong.

The competition – which player will hit the most home runs over the course of the year – is now in its second season. Wong asked Grichuk for a rematch after losing, 11 to 17, in 2015. Neither player would comment on what is at stake, reported Hayes.

Both players struggled through the first month this season – Wong even more so than Grichuk. In fact, through his first 68 plate appearances of 2016, the second baseman did not have even one extra-base hit, let alone a home run. In his 69th plate appearance during Monday night’s seventh inning, Wong finally connected for a long ball to right field.

That put him very temporarily just two home runs behind Grichuk – because the outfielder went deep himself for the fourth time in 2016 in the very next at-bat.

I get that it is just a fun wager between two friends, but should Wong’s mindset at the plate all season long really be to try to hit more home runs than a true power threat in Grichuk?

Wouldn’t it be better for Wong to put all of his efforts behind becoming a viable table-setter? After all, it was he who told the world and his manager during the off-season that he has what it takes to be the Cardinals’ leadoff man.

Through Monday night, the want-to-be top-of-the-order threat has just a .304 on base mark – based on 13 singles, five walks and that lone extra-base hit. Wong has the same strikeout total, 14, as he does hits.

Maybe I am off base here, but it seems to me that trying to out-homer Grichuk isn’t likely to get Wong to the top of the batting order any time soon. In fact, it help may put him on the bench more frequently unless he can get himself going.

Kolten, just be satisfied with being yourself, ok?

Follow me on Twitter.

Follow me

Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
Follow me

22 Responses to “Wong Strives to Out-Homer Grichuk”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Last night, wong and Grichuk tied in walks with one each and in strikeouts with none.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    I sometimes am skeptical of matheny. But I think he deserves credit for spreading out the at bats among Adams, moss, hazelbaker, Holliday, Grichuk and others. The cards are good at spreading out playing time.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Diaz continues to astound, with three more hits. In a time of transition, Diaz is cheery for fans.

    Lyons collected 7 out of 11 outs by whiffs. He does well against Pirates, hurling the division clincher in Pittsburg last year.

    Last year was so last year.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      The list of good hitting homegrown shortstops is short. Gary Templeton.

      Renteria arrived via trade, peralta via free agency.

      Diaz is a budding star as a hitter. It’s nothing short of amazing.

      We made him available to other teams last summer, a horrible decision had he been grabbed. Then the amazing play began as he was motivated to try harder.

      • Brian Walton says:

        No one but him may ever know if the DFA was really the switch that turned him on, but something sure changed in a hurry. Going from a .230 hitter in Double-A to batting .400 in the majors in roughly the equivalent of half a season of play. That contrast is what amazes me.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          His 2014 was lost because he strained his arm demonstrating it for teams as a free agent. This makes some sense, it must be stressful to perform at tryouts and easy to overexert. The first miracle was he was able to rehab the arm and shoulder to even play in 2015.

          Guys coming off an injury often are a bit tentative in their play. The DFA might have awakened him from this.

          MLB made him sit out one year. He might have missed a year when still inside Cuba. Very hard to get a good read on his potential.

          Right now it looks to be high.

          • Brian Walton says:

            He was injured in 2014, but he worked very hard in the 2014-15 offseason on his rehab. “Miracle” for 2015 is just your hyperbole. His shoulder was ready to go in 2015, but it took him about four months to find his swing.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              We had RHP Swagerty who pitched well, then needed Tommy John surgery. He couldn’t rebound to his former abilities. There are many other examples of athlete diminished by injuries, despite their best efforts to rehab.
              Thus though I knew Diaz is reputed to have worked hard on a rehab, I do not take success for granted out of respect for human frailties. His return to play is certainly a blessing.
              Your comparison of Diaz to Pete Kozma was journalistic hyperbole, mercifully erroneous.

              • Brian Walton says:

                Jumbo, you are full of… beans. You are referring to an article from well over two years ago, looking at projections of a player who had never played outside of Cuba. While Diaz has proven to be better so far in his five five weeks as a major leaguer than anyone’s projections, the first almost two years of his career as he struggled in the minors were about like those projections.

                Here is the link to the article from February 2014 so people can read for themselves.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  I can only provide the reaction of one reader to the 2014 opinion piece.
                  The cards shelled out $8mm for Diaz, their biggest non MLB free agent signing in their history.
                  I thought you could possibly be right, but I had more trust in the cards to do due diligence, so was more hopeful.
                  I thought your skeptical opinion was brave for a cards website, but I doubted the reliability of translating cubAn stats to MLB. So the courageous skeptical opinion seemed iffy and I did not let it discourage me.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    Had you initially said the above instead of making accusations of “journalistic hyperbole, mercifully erroneous,” there would have been no beef. I don’t expect everyone to agree.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      Hyperbole was a word introduced by yourself.
                      As a matter of tradecraft, journalists reasonably want to provide stimulating reads. So hyperbole creeps into their craft, because boring is much worse.

              • Brian Walton says:

                P.S. Just for the record, consider this rookie:

                Slash line of .343/.392/.586/.978.
                24 hits, including five doubles, three triples, two home runs and 14 RBI in 25 games.

                Exceptional start, eh?

                That was Kozma when called up in September 2012.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  The stats of Pete in September 2012 are not relevant to panning the Cards for signing Diaz. Nice attempt at misdirection, but thoughtful readers are not buying.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    Until Diaz has a longer track record, it is very fair to note his early career is not that unlike Kozma’s (with slightly better offense but worse defense). Since Kozma was the original comparison point, it seems very relevant.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      After his bat awakened in 2015, Diaz outhit Pete’s averages at AA and AAA.
                      In the majors, this higher performance by diaz has continued. He has 6 homers. His track record is longer than super pete’s
                      Hot streak of September 2012. It’s getting past time to link the two as hitters.

        • blingboy says:

          Too bad that switch didn’t do anything for his glove. So anyway, if his bat stays hot what happens when Jhonny comes back?

        • blingboy says:

          Luhnow’s plan seems to be running off the tracks in Houston. My theory is they had to stop using all the proprietary nerdstuff they heisted from us, which was basically everything. Back to Xs and Os on a chalkboard. My brother down there says they really stink.

          The Angels are circling the drain. As I understand it, the common wisdom is that with Schmalbert’s contract being the mother of all albatrosses, any sort of rebuild plan comes down to trading Trout. They are still in denial of course. And Albert is hitting .195 and I would guess the teenage baseball fans in SoCal don’t have any memory of him being a good player. LMAO.

          • Brian Walton says:

            That “nerdstuff” isn’t helping the Cardinals much right now.

            The Angels are having a lot of pitching injuries, including they just lost their best starter for the season. Still, if the two teams were in the same division, the Angels would only be 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis.

            In other words, it doesn’t seem apprpriate to get too haughty in either case.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    This thread does recall the excessive hopes of Jeff Luhnow for Pete Kozma.
    On the defensive for the draft pick in June 2007, Luhnow compared Pete to silver slugging SS jack Wilson (signed by Cards) and Nomar garciaparra. Luhnow predicted Kozma would average .340 at Johnson city.

    While unwise to say out loud, about any high schooler, thiese lofty comps may indicate how the cards forecast great things from Pete with the stick. This was about as inaccurate as baseball prospectus underestimating Diaz. And this time, the cards got it wrong.

    Pete’s signing scout later prudently jumped over to the royals.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.