Kean Wong is a 23-year-old utility fielder in the Rays organization. He’s spent this summer playing in Triple-A Durham, where he’s batting .282 with a .750 OPS. Tuesday he and his Durham pals will play the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in the Triple-A Championship Game. While this will be terribly exciting for Annie Savoy, Kean Wong would almost certainly prefer to have gotten a call-up to the majors by now.
It’s a little screwy that Wong is still in the minors, with MLB rosters now expanded to 40 players. He was an All-Star at Durham this year, and won MVP of the Triple-A All-Star Game in July. And he played 116 games in Durham this year, after playing 107 games in Durham last year. It would seem he’s earned a call-up, at least in the opinion of his very protective older brother, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, who held nothing back in his assessment of the Rays:
“He’s just in a bad organization which doesn’t give chances to guys who deserve chances. That’s tough for him. He’s a really good player and not to have a chance is sad.
“The guy’s done everything. He’s been an All-Star. He’s been an All-Star MVP. I think he’s gone above and beyond for that organization to not have a chance.
“To do it in the biggest games and not get a nod ... it’s a slap in the face to him. I had to talk to him and kind of keep him going. They called up a couple of guys that were below him. They just kind of overlooked him. That’s crazy, for what he’s done in his career.”
This will probably do nothing to cool off a good big brother, but the Rays reportedly “strongly considered” promoting Kean back in August, and it seems like Durham’s continued success and the relative depth of the Rays organization has kept him pinned in place, rather than any specific form of incompetence. Rays general manager Chaim Bloom seemed to anticipate just this kind of crunch back in late August, when he told MLB.com that certain of their best minor leaguers are “probably better served getting that every-day opportunity in a pennant race in Durham,” than riding the pine with the big club. So Kolten might be overstating the case against the Rays, but he’s not wrong to stick up for his little brother. It’s just part of being a big brother, the trade-off for thousands of noogies and wet willies.