PCL notes: Wong, Redbirds soaring

Infielder part of why Triple-A team following parent club's lead

By Chris Jackson / Special to MLB.com | June 17, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Life is pretty good for the St. Louis Cardinals these days.

The big league club has the best record in the Majors, while the farm system is ranked as the best in baseball.

That might just give way to a little hyperbole among the players.

"We're the new Yankees," said Memphis second baseman Kolten Wong, the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect. "We're just stacked with players."

Wong has every right to exude such confidence. He is batting .312 (78-for-250) with five homers, 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases while typically batting second for the Redbirds.

A first-round Draft pick out of the University of Hawaii in 2011, Wong has made a rapid ascent in the Cardinals system.

"This is probably going to be my third full season (in the Minors)," Wong said. "It's a process that I'm going through right now. The thing is I'm happy that I advanced a level, going from Double-A to Triple-A. You can't be too mad about being at Triple-A at my age."

Wong is just 22, an age when most people are graduating from college and just starting their careers. Wong's career now has him facing some veteran arms which he said can only benefit him.

"It's been a really big learning experience," Wong said. "I've gotten the chance to face big league pitchers like (Chris) Capuano (on Friday). Some guys who have been in this league for a long time, their one goal is to get you out. It's been good, a really good learning experience here so far."

Wong said going up against pitchers who rely more heavily on off-speed and breaking balls will make him a better hitter.

"I came from Double-A last year where everyone attacked you with their fastball," Wong said. "Everyone was throwing 95 (mph) and above. Coming to this level, it's different, but it's really good so far."

So far, Memphis (35-35) has not had as stellar of a season as its parent club. The Redbirds are in first place in their division, at least, helped along by Wong and a slew of other top prospects, including center fielder Oscar Taveras (No. 1) and right-handers Carlos Martinez (No. 2) and Michael Wacha (No. 4).

"It takes a lot of pressure off all of us because the other team knows that we have so many guys coming up they're not going to try and pitch around you," Wong said. "They're going to come at you just like they come at everyone else. It's good to have those guys behind you."

Wong also got to play the part of proud big brother last week when second baseman Kean Wong was drafted in the fourth round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

"That was awesome," Kolten Wong said. "I was sitting in the clubhouse, I had the phone on blast, listening to the Draft. His name came up. I was really excited. I called my parents, they were excited. He's excited to get going."

In brief

High-flying RedHawk: Oklahoma City right-hander Asher Wojciechowski has been solid since moving up from Double-A. He had given up just three runs in 18 2/3 innings over his last three starts entering Sunday. The Astros' No. 15 prospect has gone 3-2 with a 3.22 ERA in eight starts overall.

Kole in one: Salt Lake outfielder Kole Calhoun has been making up for lost time after missing six weeks due to a broken bone in his wrist. The Angels' No. 5 prospect is hitting .336 (36-for-107) with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 26 games overall this season.

Last prospect standing: With Mets' No. 2 prospect Zack Wheeler expected to be called up any day now, Wilmer Flores will be the last ranked prospect on the Las Vegas roster. Flores, No. 7, has quietly had a nice season for the 51s after moving from third base to second base. He has hit .308 with seven home runs and 52 RBIs.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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