Could Kean Wong Be An Option For The Pittsburgh Pirates?


Should the Pittsburgh Pirates look to pursue a utility infielder that was designated for assignment over the weekend?

On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays activated Brandon Lowe off the 60-day injured list. To make room for him on the 40-man roster the Rays designated utility man Kean Wong for assignment. Now that Wong is on the market, he is a player that the Pittsburgh Pirates should kick the tires on.

At the upper levels of the minor leagues Wong was an extremely productive hitter for the Rays. However, a gluttony of infielders led to a traffic jam in Tampa Bay. This traffic jam blocked Wong, and kept him in the minors.

The 24-year-old Wong first reached the Triple-A level in 2017. He then spent all of 2018 at Triple-A, and most of 2019 there as well. Since the start of the 2018 season Wong has slashed .294/.360/.435 in 1,008 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. This includes a .351 wOBA, 114 wRC+, 8.1% walk rate, and a 8.9% extra base hit rate.

Wong finally made his MLB debut earlier this season. In just 14 MLB plate appearances Wong went 3-for-14 with five strikeouts. It goes without saying that this is far too small of a sample size to draw any sort of conclusions from.

The left-handed hitting Wong is the younger brother of all-time Pirate killer Kolten Wong. Like his brother, his primary position is second base. The younger Wong can also play shortstop, third base, and the corner outfield positions.

Like every team in baseball, the Pirate love utility players capable of playing multiple positions. Wong fits this mold. He also would appear to be a big upgrade over current utility options such as Erik Gonzalez or Pablo Reyes. Wong is a plus defender at each of these positions to boot.

Next. Long, Interesting Off-Season Ahead. dark

With the Pirates completely out of contention and 2020 looking like a rebuilding year, the Pirates have nothing to lose from putting in a waiver claim on Wong. He appears to be a big bench upgrade, and could even develop into more for the Pirates.