Cards hoping Wong crowned Gold Glover in '19

September 12th, 2019

DENVER -- Is this the year that Kolten Wong wins a Gold Glove Award? His teammates and coaches say that it should be.

After falling short to then-Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu last year in Wong’s first-ever nomination, the Cardinals' second baseman is poised for another nomination this year -- and could walk away with the award. LeMahieu is now a member of the Yankees in the American League, and Wong leads all second basemen in the Majors with 14 defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs. Wong’s ultimate zone rating (4.6) is second only to the White Sox’s Yolmer Sanchez (5.0) among Major League second basemen.

“He’s made enough web gems to get it,” Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong said. “Now it’s just about him getting recognized by [the coaches]. He’s the best second baseman I’ve seen. The plays he makes, I’ve never seen anyone else make those plays.”

Wong’s teammates point to many different plays he’s made this season as evidence for an award, but there are two that stand out. The coolest play was his touch pass against the Angels on June 23, when Wong basically bounced the ball into DeJong’s glove to turn a double play. The biggest play he made was his leaping grab on Anthony Rizzo’s popup to shallow right field on June 2, during Adam Wainwright’s eight-inning shutout against the Cubs.

“I didn’t even watch,” pitcher Jack Flaherty said. “I was like, ‘[Dang], that thing is going to get down.’ I’m watching Waino because I couldn’t even look. I hear the crowd, then I see [Wainwright] jump, and I go, ‘Oh, he caught it. That’s awesome.’ I had to go back and watch the replay. [Rizzo] hit it and I was like, ‘No one is going to get there, I can’t watch this if it gets down.’”

To have Wong behind the Cardinals' pitchers is like having extra security, Flaherty said.

“There are ones where you’re thinking, ‘Shoot, it’s a base hit, I missed my pitch,’” Flaherty said. “Next thing you know, the dude’s making a play. … When it comes to making double plays, if you think it’s going to be close, he comes and makes it real quick with his turn. There’s a lot where you get the, ‘Oh no, he’s going to be safe,’ and next thing you know, [Kolten] makes a play. The ones that are hit right at him, you know it’s an out.”

Wong’s mindset is helping the Cardinals get to the playoffs, but he’ll likely do that with more Gold Glove-caliber plays. Those around him are hoping that pushes them to the postseason -- and an individual achievement, too.

“Sometimes those Gold Gloves or other achievements, sometimes there’s a lagging effect to it,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “You have to establish and prove yourself and repeat it. Kolten’s been able to demonstrate all those things, so I’m hopeful that he gets the reward for all his work.”

Cardinals remember Sept. 11

The Cardinals joined with Major League Baseball and the rest of the country in remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001, during Wednesday night’s game at Coors Field. On-field personnel, including players, coaches and umpires, wore caps with a “We Shall Not Forget” silhouetted batter ribbon.

The Rockies recognized the day with a moment of silence at Coors Field during the pregame ceremonies.