Kolten Wong: Seattle Mariners Fantasy Baseball Advice for 2023
The addition of Kolten Wong is a game-changer for the Seattle Mariners. He's not Bryan Reynolds, Gleyber Torres, or another big name, but he slots in nicely especially given the circumstances. Wong brings a load of experience to the clubhouse, helped the organization unload Jesse Winker, and will ship his two Gold Gloves to Seattle.
Now the question is, does he have fantasy baseball value?
What fantasy baseball managers should expect from Kolten Wong
Did you know that Kolten Wong was ranked the 9th best second baseman by MLB Network? Now, what should we expect from the veteran?
The 32-year-old owns a career .261 batting average, averages 12 home runs, 17 stolen bases, 71 runs, and 56 RBI in 162 games. It's not a bad career line at all. However, many people are questioning his age and whether he's due for regression.
Although I am skeptical, I don't think we can close the door quickly on Kolten Wong. His best offensive season was arguably back in 2019 when he hit .285, hit 11 home runs, and stole 24 bases for the Cardinals. That doesn't stick out as your first option at second base, but that's a solid backup to your starter. Wong also homered 14 times in 2021, and 15 times in 2022 while slashing a decent batting average.
Even if his pop and hitting tool regress a bit, he's been an average base stealer throughout his career. With the distance between bases decreasing, he may produce a few more than in past years.
Here is what FanGraphs' Steamer is projecting for 2023:
The projections aren't bad, but I'd hope he can do a bit better. Now, let's get to the value of Kolten Wong for fantasy manager.
Draft strategy for Kolten Wong
To keep it simple, don't draft the Mariners second baseman. However, he should be on your Watchlist after the draft and you should keep a close eye on him. Wong doesn't produce offensive numbers like Ketel Marte or Brandon Lowe, but he has the potential to be a sneaky player that will help you sustain your batting average and stolen bases if you play in a categories league.
Fantasy Pros has him ranked as the 222nd-best fantasy player, which is two spots before Cody Bellinger. This is a bit surprising for me but this proves my point that Wong does bring a bit of value to the table.
However, one of my biggest concerns is his playtime. There is no doubt that Kolten Wong is slotted to be the Opening Day second baseman, but a platoon with Dylan Moore seems to make the most sense. Scott Servais isn't afraid to move players around and Moore has been a great asset as a part-time player.
On the contrary, his glove might keep him in the lineup more than I think especially with the ban on infield shifts. Dylan Moore can hold his own at second base but Wong does have an advantage over him.
I wouldn't be surprised if Kolten Wong gets drafted toward the end of the draft but at that point, you might as well take a risk on prospects or players who struggled the year before. I don't see much value in taking Wong in the later rounds hoping for a breakout year.
Keep him on your watchlist, monitor him every once in a while, and he could be the type of fantasy player that is on your roster 6 different times during the season.
Other things to note on Kolten Wong
As the season goes on, keep an eye on where Kolten Wong is hitting in the lineup. The higher he hits in the order, the more valuable he becomes in fantasy baseball. His runs would increase and it'd give him more opportunities to produce at the plate over time.
Keep an eye on his time share. As I mentioned earlier, I would expect him to split time with Dylan Moore but who knows what the Mariners coaching staff has drawn up?
Lastly, some fans have called out Kolten Wong's brief experience in the outfield. There is a small chance that Wong would play some games in the outfield and that additional eligibility would make him a lot more valuable to your fantasy team. Keep an eye on this in Spring Training and as the season goes on.