1:39PM: The Rays have officially called up Wong, and moved left-hander Jose Alvarado to the 60-day injured list to create roster move.
8:35AM: The Rays will call up utilityman Kean Wong, The Athletic’s Josh Tolentino reports (Twitter link). Wong — the younger brother of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong — isn’t on the 40-man roster, so the Rays will have to make another move prior before the 24-year-old prospect’s contract is officially selected.
It will mark the Major League debut for Wong, who was a fourth-round pick for Tampa Bay in the 2013 draft. Originally selected as a second baseman, Wong also began to see some time as a third baseman, and then over the last two seasons has expanded his defensive repertoire to include shortstop and all three outfield positions.
This type of versatility will have Wong fit right into a Rays lineup that values multi-positional ability. Wong is also a left-handed hitter, giving a bit more balance amongst the middle infield options. Wong, Eric Sogard, and Joey Wendle all hit from the left side, while Matt Duffy, Daniel Robertson, and everyday shortstop Willy Adames are all right-handed bats.
MLB.com doesn’t rank Wong within the top 30 prospects in the deep Tampa farm system, though he punched his ticket to the big leagues with a breakout season at the plate. Wong hit .307/.375/.464 with 10 homers over 506 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham this season. The power surge is of particular note, as Wong’s previous high in slugging percentage was a .406 mark in 2018.
While Wong is far from the only Triple-A player to suddenly start mashing in 2019, it provides some evidence that he’ll be able to hit MLB pitching, which was the biggest question mark facing Wong’s prospect status. Even counting his big 2019 numbers, he still has an overall modest .287/.342/.383 slash line over 3052 career PA in the minors.