50 in 50: Kolten Wong

Draft : : Top Prospects
Allan Simpson        
Published: Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Kolten Wong
2B / Hawaii

Bats-Throws:                             L-R
Height/Weight:                          5-9/190
Hometown:                               Hilo, Hawaii
Previously Drafted:                   Twins ’08 (16)
Birthdate:                                 Oct. 10, 1990

SCOUTING PROFILE: Pound for pound, there may not be a better prospect in the 2011 draft class than the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Wong. He has well-rounded skills and may have solidified his status as a potential first-rounder last summer by passing up an offer to return to Team USA’s college national team for a second season. He elected instead to play in the Cape Cod League, where he earned league MVP honors for a .341-3-11 season along with a league-best 22 stolen bases. Wong showcased polished offensive skills with a sound approach from the left side of the plate, and surprising pop for a player his size. He drove the ball hard consistently. He also became an accomplished base stealer. Moreover, he found a home defensively at second base after being destined for a utility role with Team USA. If nothing else last summer, he proved to the scouting community that he is a quality everyday second baseman for the purposes of professional baseball. Wong had been an extremely versatile player earlier in his career, and spent most of freshman season at Hawaii in center field, while earning national acclaim by hitting .341-11-52 with 11 stolen bases. After initially being tried as a catcher as a sophomore, he settled in at second base and hit a solid .357-7-40 with 19 stolen bases. But it wasn’t until last summer, playing against superior competition on the Cape, that Wong’s game truly came together. He became a top-of-the-order catalyst, capable of making things happen offensively with his scrappy approach. More than just a tough out, he showed a very professional, well-rounded approach to hitting. He had surprising pop in his small, but powerful frame. He was adept at using the whole field, and equally proficient at playing small ball and dropping down a bunt as going deep. Though not blessed with blazing speed, Wong is aggressive on the bases and has excellent base-running instincts. But he made his biggest strides defensively and found a legitimate home at second base. He has continued to make steady subtle improvements at the position this spring, making all the routine plays, turning the double play more efficiently and generally taking better angles on balls. All the while, Wong has continued to become more of a force at the plate and led Hawaii in batting (.390), home runs (6), RBIs (35) and stolen bases (17), and almost every offensive category in early May. If Wong is selected in the first round in June, as expected, he would become just the third first-rounder produced by the University of Hawaii—and the first native Hawaiian to hold that distinction as the two previous first-round picks (Mike Campbell in 1985, Mark Johnson in 1996) were products of U.S. mainland high schools.

Projected Draft Position: First round / top 15-25 picks.

--ALLAN SIMPSON

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