ST. LOUIS -- If a proud papa has anything to do with it, the high of Kolten Wong's postseason won't soon fade on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Reminiscing on the impactful October that Wong had last season, the second baseman admitted on Monday that he has seen highlights of his playoff success repeatedly this winter. He's viewing the clips, in fact, without even searching for replays of his seven extra-base hits (including three home runs, one a walk-off). All he has to do is find his father, Kaha.
"I always catch him on YouTube," said Wong, whose father is a longtime baseball instructor on the island. "It's so funny. He's so stoked about it. I said, 'Dad, you've watched this about 80 times. It's all right.'"
While his father continues to relive some of the biggest moments of Wong's young career, Wong is seeking the opportunity to repeat it. His burst of postseason power left the Cardinals curious to see if their second baseman will show more regular-season pop in his second full season.
He is coming off a 20-steal year, which suggests a potential top-of-the-order fit. However, that would require a more refined approach and increased on-base percentage. And with Matt Carpenter, Jason Heyward and Jon Jay all more proven top-of-the-order hitters, Wong seems likely, at least at season's start, to slot in somewhere in the bottom third of the lineup.
But that doesn't mean that's where he'll stay. Lineup versatility looks to be an asset given the makeup of the offense.
"Kolten, down the line, we've obviously seen the power, we've seen the speed," manager Mike Matheny said. "I believe he could show us something completely different than what he's done in the past. He's still a young player. So he could be a guy that's in any one of those position and do it well."
Wong hit .249 with a .292 on-base percentage while appearing in 113 games (100 starts) last year. He emerged as a streaky hitter at times, periodically showing so much frustration at his lack of his success that he allowed the valleys to snowball. He also wrestled with components of his swing.
Yet the pieces all came together at the right time last fall, setting Wong up to deliver seven hits and drive in six runs in eight playoff starts.
"I definitely learned a lot throughout the season," Wong said. "Towards the end, I understood how to get my swing where it needed to be. So far with my hitting, I've been hitting with a purpose, understanding how to approach my swing. For me, it's just keeping my weight back, understanding I don't need to put all my momentum forward to hit the ball. I can let the ball come in and use my hands. I have enough power and enough bat speed to do some damage."