When the Boston Red Sox completed their trade with the Dodgers not much was thought of Connor Wong. A strong spring training is changing that mindset.
We’re weeks removed from the blockbuster deal between the Red Sox and Dodgers becoming a reality and the dust is finally settling. When the return haul for Mookie Betts and David Price was announced it wasn’t met with much fanfare. In hindsight, it was about as good as it was going to get for an aging pitcher and a one-year rental.
Boston received a pair of strong players in top prospect Jeter Downs and the big league ready Alex Verdugo. They also acquired catching prospect Connor Wong, who is often considered the bottom of the totem pole in the trade. However, of the three Los Angeles players that now call Fenway Park their home, Wong is the one that’s making the waves.
Verdugo has a back injury that may or may not keep him on the shelf for the beginning of the season. It’s being said that he may be able to start swinging a bat soon but we all know how temperamental back injuries can be. Downs has gotten some playing time but is hitting just .111 through nine at-bats with four strikeouts, not pretty.
Then we get to Wong, and this dude is seizing this opportunity to the fullest. As it stands he won’t be making the Opening Day Roster as Boston already has two catchers on the 40-man in Christian Vazquez and Kevin Plawecki. So he’ll most likely be spending his time in either Triple-A Pawtucket or Double-A Portland, depending on how he finishes spring training.
Wong has been a monster at the plate during his first season in the Grapefruit League. The catcher currently owns a .286/.286/1.143/1.429 line with two homers and six RBI. This is the dictionary definition of capitalizing on whatever chances you’re given. Even if he spends much of 2020 in the minors, he’s showing that he can step up and hang with the big boys.
Worst case scenario, something happens to either Vazqy or Plawecki, at least Ron Roenicke knows he can call on Wong. Having a prospect ready to go with the ability to plug them in if needed is a big sigh of relief.
It’s a similar situation to what we saw the Red Sox do last year with Michael Chavis. Boston was struggling with injuries at second base and brought the Ice Horse to the dance and he flourished. I think that Wong can offer Roenicke the same security if his catching platoon were to have a run-in with the injury bug.
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I was on the same page as much of Red Sox Nation and thought that Wong was a toss-in for the deal. With Verdugo’s injury and Downs having yet to perform at a top-prospect level, it’s Wong that’s shining.
In the long run, I feel that Verdugo has the chance to live up to what he showed with the Dodgers last season and match the hype from LA. Jeter has a ridiculously high ceiling and has already jumped to the front of the line as far as Boston’s prospects are concerned.
As for the here and now, it’s all about Wong and it’s hard to not get excited considering what he’s done so far. He was a big part of Boston’s offensive explosion yesterday against the Tigers, launching a two-run homer. Spring training is usually one of two things, either a warm-up for the season or a job interview. For Wong, this is without a doubt an interview and he’s crushing it with each game.
Unlike many of the other prospects in the farm system, Connor has a bit of a fast track to the majors as the Red Sox aren’t very deep at catcher. If he can keep playing at this level throughout the MiLB season, we may be seeing him at Fenway soon. Though he may not have been the most talked-about piece of that trade he’s definitely proving to be a diamond in the rough.