Mariners: 3 Reasons Kolten Wong will figure it out, and 3 Reasons he won't
Why Wong WON'T Figure it Out: Where are the XBH?
1 Double. 0 Homers. That's embarrassing for a guy with decent pop to put up through 70 ABs. Over his career, Wong has averaged about 12 HR and 26 2B per 162 games. So, through 22 games, we should have seen something like 2 HR and 4 2B. But we've seen none of that. Part of it is attributed to his lack of exit velocity. He's sitting at 83.8 mph, around 3 mph below his career average. He's always been a bit below average, but this is woeful and nearly unplayable if someone without top end speed is going to hit the ball that soft.
Why Wong WON'T Figure it Out: Where is the Speed?
Speaking of speed, it's not like Wong has top end speed. However, he has shown an ability to effectively steal bases in the past. I mentioned it earlier, but it wasn't that long ago (2019) that he stole 24 bases. With the bigger bases, I thought it was reasonable to predict that he could stick in the high-teens with his steals, even as he is a few years into his 30s.
So far this year, though, he has as many steals in the majors as I do. Spoiler alert, I don't play in the majors.
Chances are, it's going to come as he starts to figure it out... if he figures it out. That speed is going to help the Mariners a lot, especially if it's something else that pitchers have to think about while facing the top of the Mariners order. If the speed doesn't play at all, his bat needs to get back to the .270 level with nearly 20 HR, or else he just doesn't bring enough to the table, especially if the speed isn't there on defense as well.
Why Wong WON'T Figure it Out: What happened to the Defense?
It wasn't that long ago that Wong was a back-to-back Gold Glove winner. 2019 and 2020. Yet, here we are just a few years later, and Wong is already sitting at a -0.6 on defensive WAR. That's awful.
Last year, his numbers on defense were down, but the supposed reason had to do with a calf injury that he was dealing with. I haven't heard anything about Wong being hurt, so that reason can't be there anymore. We haven't seen anything from Wong in any facet of his game. The Mariners need him to turn it around everywhere. Defense, speed, and at the plate. It hasn't looked good, and it easily could be a premature end to Kolten Wong. *COUGH* Chone Figgins *COUGH*
In the end, I'm not worried. I still believe in Kolten Wong and think that he is going to be okay. The 7/17 is helpful, and I believe it's going to push him in the right direction. Now that we are into May, it's time for Wong to step up.