This message will continue to be posted on each of the top 12 draft targets I will be listing daily until draft day: the players listed are not “the best” players in the draft, they are simply those that I believe could be around when the Jays draft, and that could wind up being selected by the Blue Birds when their turns come up. The list has 12 of the top targets and will be presented in reverse order (from least likely, to most likely). An exciting infielder is next in line in…
#7: Kolten Wong (20)
Second Baseman – Catcher – Outfielder / 5’9″ 190 lbs / Hilo, Hawaii
Birth Date: October 10th, 1990
High School Team: Kamehameha-Hawai‘i
College: University of Hawaii
- Has some catching experience.
- Batted .660 in senior year of HS.
- He lettered in both football and baseball, and graduated as a scholar athlete.
- Played CF his entire Freshman year (58 games). That year, he had a 16 game hitting streak that had him get multiple hits in 12 of those 16 games.
- Played entire Sophomore year at 2B.
- Has too many awards to list.
- 2009 NCAA: 226 AB / 77 hits / 21 DB / 2 HR / 11 HR / 25 BB / 23 SO / .341 AVG / .416 AVG / .597 OBP
- 2010 NCAA: 249 AB / 89 hits / 15 DB / 4 TR / 7 HR / 36 BB / 20 SO / 19 SB / .357 AVG / .441 OBP / .534 SLG
- 2010 Cape: 135 AB / 46 hits / 6 DB / 3 HR / 18 BB / 13 SO / .341 AVG / .426 OBP / .452 SLG
- 2011 NCAA: 209 AB / 79 hits / 11 DB / 3 TR / 7 HR / 42 BB / 20 SO / 23 SB / .378 AVG / .492 OBP / .560 SLG
Pre-Draft Rankings (out of all pitchers in brackets):
Wong has been drifting all over the 15-40 range of all mock drafts I have seen and read about on line. Everyone seems to agree that the team drafting him this year will inherit a little bit of risk. It’s not that his talent isn’t outstanding, because it is. It’s the fact that players of his stature have historically had a hard time making it to The Show while maintaining their above-average production. When you consider the talent in this draft at the pitching position – something no team would ever admit to having too much of – I believe it may be hard for them to take a shot on Kolten while passing up pitching depth.
That’s why I tend to agree with Jim Callis of BA who has Kolten going sometime in the 30s of the draft. Who that team winds up being will only be known Monday, but they’ll inherit a spark plug of a player that never takes a day off, has a surprising amount of power for his size, and can steal a few bases to go with it. He does have versatility in the fact that he can also man CF as well as play 2B, a little like fellow undersized Alexi Amarista has in his arsenal with the Angels. The comparisons to Dustin Pedroia are plentiful due to their similar statures and positions. If he can match 3/4 of what Dustin has done, the team drafting him will be a very happy team indeed.
Kolten plays strong D as he turns double plays with ease and has a strong arm. As you can see from the stats above, he has really been able to improve his patience at the plate which resulted in a jump from 25 BB in 2009 to 42 BB in 2011. Such a great eye at the plate, couple with great hand-eye coordination is what allows Kolten to be effective despite being undersized as it allows him to square up balls as well as possible. Even if he makes it to The Show and has what is called “gap power”, which would lead to a ton of doubles with 10-15 HRs per season, his performance could still be considered above-average if he can also steal some bases and have a great looking line overall.
It’s still going to be a slight risk for a team to pick him up early in the draft, but I, for one, love his potential and do believe that the Jays will be very interested in his skills package and makeup.
The Jays have never been a team to shy away from undersized players. Whether it’s Tim Collins (5’7″) or Ryan Schimpf (5’9″), they’ve been willing to give such players a shot if the talent is there. Having said that, none of the top 14 picks in the 2010 draft were under 6’0″, and only the 30th pick – Rolan Melandez at 5’10″ – was under 5’11″ within the top 30. That’s why I don’t believe the Jays will be taking Kolten with the 21st pick and will instead wait and hope he is still around at #35.
Expected Selection (if selected by the Jays): In the Sandwich Round, 35th overall.
Chances are that another team will nab him in the mid to high 20s or lower 30s, but I’m very hopeful that he sticks around to #35. If the Jays nab him there and sign him quickly he could join the Dunedin, or Lansing, quickly.
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