Magazine Content

Deep Pickups 5/22: Hitters

Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Kolten Wong - 2B, STL

Long considered one of the better middle infield prospects in baseball, Wong was handed the reins at second base by the Cards coming out of spring training this season... and fell flat on his face. The former first-rounder batted just .225/.276/.268 over his first 20 games to earn a quick demotion to Triple-A.

Combined with his inauspicious debut in 2013, when he batted just .153 with a 363 OPS in 32 games, the rocky start this year raised serious questions about Wong's readiness to compete against big-league pitching.

In an effort to eliminate those concerns, Wong went to Triple-A following his demotion and absolutely raked, hitting .344/.382/.484 with a couple homers and 14 runs scored in 15 games. With Mark Ellis scuffling as the replacement at second base, St. Louis wasted no time in bringing Wong back into the mix. He was recalled last week.

Wong delivered two straight multi-hit games upon his return, and followed that with a 3-RBI effort against the Braves. Overall, he's batting .333 with an 820 OPS and two steals since rejoining the club. He has struck out only three times in 23 plate appearances, and is looking like a far more confident player.

Perhaps that means that Wong is ready to start resembling the player he's been in the minors. If so, he'll become a very valuable fantasy asset. Over 295 games in the Cardinals system, the second baseman has batted .303 with good speed (55-for-72 on stolen bases) and solid pop (62 doubles, 16 triples, 26 homers).

He has gotten the opportunity to bat second in the lineup since his return, and is already 5-for-5 on steal attempts with St. Louis this year, so he figures to have plenty more opportunities to contribute in the SB and R columns. If he chips in a little power, all the better.

Josh Harrison - OF, PIT

Harrison has served as a part-time player and backup outfielder in Pittsburgh for most of the past three years, hitting .250/.282/.362 in 229 games during that span. He opened this season in a similar role, but recently, injuries and a hot bat have led to an uptick in playing time.

This would appear to be a big opportunity for the 26-year-old to carve out a more prominent role.

Starling Marte and Jose Tabata have both been sidelined by hamstring ailments. Marte has already returned and Tabata probably will soon, but these injuries can nag. That should keep the door open for Harrison, who has played in 14 of Pittsburgh's 19 games in May. He's also hitting .325 with six extra-base hits and a steal in 34 plate appearances this month, so he's earned the chance to get more tread.

It's curious that the Bucs haven't given Harrison more of an opportunity to establish himself as an everyday player, given that he's still quite young and was a very good hitter in the minors, where his career line is .308/.358/.437.

He offers a nice mix of power and speed, so if he's getting enough playing time he definitely offers some meaningful fantasy upside.

With multiple outfielders battling minor injuries and with Travis Snider struggling (his .208/.296/.323 slash line is nearly identical to last year), Harrison should get into the lineup more and more, and when he does start he's often the leadoff man. If you're a fantasy owner in a deep league with a roster spot available, it might be worth adding Harrison and seeing what he can do over the next few weeks.


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