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Kolten Wong, fringe prospects and the Cardinals organization

By Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong has emerged as a strong sleeper candidate this year. Is it justified? Despite some strong numbers in the minors, Wong topped out as the 58th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America. While that's a good thing, it doesn't make him a sure bet to succeed in the majors.

But there's one major reason to believe Wong will exceed expectations. He's a member of one of the best developmental organizations in the game. Over the past couple of seasons, the Cardinals have taken a number of fringy prospect types, and turned them into above-average contributors.

Think about some of the players over the past few seasons the team has developed.

  • Allen Craig posted a .307/.354/.522 slash line in 2012.
  • David Freese slugged 20 home runs in 2012 after a promising debut in 2011.
  • Jon Jay turned in two strong offensive seasons from 2011 to 2012.

All five of these players were never members of the Baseball America top 100. They were never considered strong prospects, but the organization managed to turn them into above-average major leaguers.

Wong not only looks like he's next in line, but he's also the highest regarded player of that bunch. His Fantasy expectations aren't that high, as both Scott White and Michael Hurcomb have him rated as the 17th best second baseman this year. Given that Cardinals success transitioning players to the majors, there's a good chance Wong ends up better than anyone expect.

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