Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong has been playing with some serious swagger lately.
After missing eleven games with an oblique issue that flared up during his St. Louis homecoming, Wong, 30, has been knocking the cover off the ball. After a slow start, he is now slashing .318/.423/.523 with 2 home runs and a .946 OPS.
In that ugly 15-2 Brewers loss on Friday April 23rd, Wong was the lone bright spot for the Crew, going 3-4 with a double and a home run.
Since returning from the IL, Wong is 12-for-25, with a .480/.500/.840 slash line, three doubles, two home runs, and a 1.340 OPS. Wong has also walked once and struck out just once.
Kolten Wong’s production surge has come at the right time for the Brewers, because their schedule has not been particularly easy.
They are in the middle of a four-game set against the most talented team in baseball, and with injuries all across the map from Christian Yelich to Lorenzo Cain to Corbin Burnes, they need their proven veterans like Wong to step up.
Wong is known as a contact hitter and a top-of-the-order stolen base threat, but Brewers fans should expect to see some more home runs off of Wong’s bat, given that he has hit for double digit home runs three times in his career while playing in a home ballpark that is less hitter-friendly than American Family Field is. He nearly missed another home run off of Trevor Bauer on Thursday that if it were hit a little bit more towards right field it would have left the ballpark.
As for his defense, Wong is making an early case to win the Gold Glove for National League second-baseman. He has yet to commit an error in 2021 after committing only two in 2020. His slick glove-work was one of the biggest reasons why the Brewers front office desired Wong in the first place. His defensive capabilities are refreshing, given that last year the Brewers struggled on defense generally, and especially at second base.
Last night, Wong and shortstop Luis Urias teamed up for one of the prettiest double-plays you’ll see on a baseball diamond. 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager hit a rocket off of Devin Williams up the middle in the eighth, and Urias made a great stop, led Kolten Wong to the bag perfectly with a soft flip, and Wong tapped the base with his foot, contorted his body, and made a perfect off-balance throw to first to get Seager by a half-step.
No disrespect to Keston Hiura, but he would not have been capable of making that throw, which goes to show the front office made the right decision moving him over to first and acquiring Wong. The Brewers only won by one run last night, and the outcome of the game may have changed if that inning continues without that double play.
Overall, so far Kolten Wong has lived up to the commitment that the Brewers front office has invested in him, which is a welcome sight for the Milwaukee faithful.