ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — With the No. 22 pick of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Kolten Wong, second baseman from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Wong joins Shaun Boyd (2000) and Luis Alicea (1986) to be the only second baseman taken by the Cardinals in the first round of the draft since its inception in 1965.
Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals Vice President of Player Procurement, was on The Sports Hub on Monday evening to discuss the organization’s 2011 first round draft pick:
Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 16th Round of the 2008 draft, Wong hit .378 last season with 7 home runs and 53 RBIs in 59 games, plus led the Western Athletic Conference with 23 stolen bases.
Luhnow talks about why Wong jump from a sixteenth round to a first round pick:
At Hawaii, Wong earned WAC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American honors as Hawaii’s starting center fielder in 2009, but moved to second base in 2010. He hit .357 with 7 home runs, 15 doubles, 40 RBIs, and team-highs of 57 runs and 19 stolen bases to help the Warriors reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years.
The Hilo, Hawaii native was named the Cape Cod League MVP after batting .341 for the Orleans Firebirds.
The 5-9, 190-pound junior has been rated by some experts as one the best pure hitters available in this draft class. On whether the Cardinals selected the best player overall that was available or if they filled a necessity, Luhnow comments:
Kolten Wong is now just the third first-rounder produced by the University of Hawaii, but the first native Hawaiian to hold that distinction as the two previous first-round picks (Mike Campbell in 1985, Mark Johnson in 1996) were products of U.S. mainland high schools.
Listen to the rest of the conversation that KMOX’s Scott Warmann and Chris Kerber had with Jeff Luhnow:
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