With no clear backup,
"This is my starting position and now it's all about putting in the work to get ready for it," Wong said. "Them having more confidence in me has given me more confidence in myself. I'm able to relax and play the game and even though I'm not succeeding as much as I'd like, I'm still able to learn how to get right for myself."
Wong, 24, finished 2014 with a slash line of 249/.292/.388 with 12 homers and 42 RBI over 402 at-bats in his first full season in the majors. He has a career .236/.280/.360 slash line in 145 games.
"I've gone about it with the focus of having fun," Wong said on Saturday. "Last year, Spring Training really wasn't that enjoyable for me. I was pressing so hard, trying to do so much to make the team. This year, fortunately, I'm slated to be the second baseman, so it's a little more relaxing and fun coming out here getting ready for the season."
Manager Mike Matheny thinks Wong is ready to take on an everyday starter role.
"The confidence is there," Matheny said. "I think he has taken away some of the doubt about whether he can be an everyday player at this level, and he needed last year to prove that to himself. … We want them [the players] to feel free, free to go out and push. I think that's where he is right now."
"October did a lot for me," Wong said. "It cleared my conscience of what happened (the pickoff) in the World Series. It gave me assurance that I can play at this level." In 18 at-bats in the NLCS, Wong hit .278/.316/.833. He clubbed two big home runs for the team during the series.
While things went well at the end of the year, Wong admitted it was difficult early on. "It was tough," Wong said. "It was my first full season in the big leagues, and my first taste was definitely hard at times. Up, down, up, down. The thing that changed everything for me towards the end was my confidence kicking in."
After a stint on the disabled list, Wong said he decided to stop being nervous about his production. This enabled him to have fun, and get himself in a better rhythm.
The 24-year-old is coming off a season in which he hit .249/.292/.388 over 402 at-bats.
Wong's postseason power surge has his confidence up heading into 2015, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"I think it's going to change my game and allow me to play at a different level that what I've been playing my previous years in the big leagues," Wong said. "I'm going to come in confident, confident in my abilities. and not worry about the 'what ifs?' anymore. I'm confident I can play at this level. It's time for me to fully buy into the fact that I'm a big league player."
Wong added he would like to steal 20-plus bases again and improve his batting average this season.
"At least somewhere above .249," he said, laughing. "That's definitely nothing that I'm proud of."
Wong is in the midst of a hot stretch, going 5 for 11 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and four RBI in his last three games. His third-inning home run Wednesday put the Cardinals up 4-1, but the Giants were able to score five unanswered runs to take a 3-1 series lead. Wong has hit .280/.308/.840 with three home runs and six RBI in 25 postseason at-bats.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/7/2014 vs L.A. Dodgers|
|vs L.A. Dodgers||9||4||0||.444||.667||.444|
|vs Collmenter (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 |
| 6 || 7 |
| 8 |
| 9 || 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 || 15 |
| 16 |
| 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Postseason Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2011||AFX-Quad Cities River Ba||47||194||39||65||15||2||5||25||21||24||9||5||.401||.510||.335|
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