On Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of University of Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong, the team’s first overall selection in the 2011 First Year Player Draft. Wong, 20, posted a career .358 batting average (245-for-684) with 47 doubles, 25 home runs and 145 RBI at Hawaii with a career slugging pct. of .563 and a .449 on-base pct. A left-handed hitter, he also started games at catcher and centerfield during his time at Hawaii.
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“Kolten will start his professional career right away and that is a benefit to both him and for the Cardinals,” said Cardinals Vice President of Scouting & Player Development, Jeff Luhnow. “He is a special player and our fans in Quad Cities will find that out very soon.”
The Hilo, Hawaii native started 57 games as a junior this season for the Rainbows and led his team in almost every offensive category during the 2011 season. The 5’9”, 180-pound Wong was drafted in the 16th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins, but did not sign.
“I’m excited to get my professional career started,” said Wong. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball. Hopefully some day soon I will be playing for the Cardinals here in St. Louis.”
Wong becomes the fifth 1st round pick from the 2011 Major League Baseball draft class to have signed. He will be assigned to the Quad Cities (A) roster, reporting there on Monday.
Note: Baseball America reports Wong's bonus was $1.3 million, slightly above slot.
The Cardinals have 20 unsigned players remaining from the 2011 draft. Link to the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
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