While the LA Angels season on the field has little purpose these next five days, they continue to improve their organization off the field.
Perhaps general manager Billy Eppler’s best trait for the LA Angels is his ability to find talent on the waiver wires. Hansel Robles is the best example of this in 2019, and he revived his career after being claimed by Eppler in 2018. Now, it seems as if Eppler may have found another useful piece.
Kean Wong was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this week to make room for Brandon Lowe on their roster. Wong, a former fourth round pick and brother of Cardinals’ star Kolten, has had a very solid start to his career. His progression through the minors has been steady, and it’s somewhat surprising the Rays would risk, and wind up, losing a 24-year old with positional versatility.
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Wong has had two consecutive strong seasons in Triple-A for the Rays. While his initial start in the MLB wasn’t promising (3-14 in six games), there is still a lot to like about Wong.
For starters, he was ranked as the 40th prospect in what some believe to be the deepest farm system in baseball. That will translate to him likely cracking the Top 30 for the Angels upon arrival.
In terms of his game, Wong can play a handful of positions. Originally a second baseman, he has also seen time at third base and both corner outfield spots. He even logged a couple dozen of innings in center. That versatility is valued at a high rate in both the Rays and Angels organizations, making this an odd move by the Rays and an exceptional one for the Halos.
At the plate, Wong has continued to improve as a hitter. While he’s not necessarily a home run threat, he packs enough power to consistently drive doubles and has the potential to be an extra base hit machine. He also brings value on the base paths, stealing 75 bases throughout his minor league career.
Wong will go into the offseason likely competing for an Opening Day spot for the Angels. Depending on what happens in the offseason with Kole Calhoun and the rise of top prospect Jo Adell, Wong could start the season as a utility man for the Angels. It all just depends whether or not they’ll need the versatility on their roster. If he doesn’t crack the Opening Day roster, he’ll be one of those up-and-down players throughout 2019, similar to Jared Walsh this season.
So while it won’t make headline news, the Kean Wong addiction by Billy Eppler loads of potential, as he could develop into a weapon for this Angels team.