Kolten Wong, the St. Louis Cardinals' first round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, got off to a nearly perfect start to his professional career on Monday, going 2-2 with two RBIs, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and, for good measure, on HBP to reach base four times in five plate appearances. Wong, who started at second base for the Cardinals' low-A, full-season Quad Cities River Bandits, also turned a double play.
His debut came just days after he signed with the Cardinals, inking a $1.3 million bonus and taking an aggressive assignment directly to full-season baseball after an outstanding career in college baseball. Wong joins 2010 first-rounder Zack Cox on the Cardinals' fast-track for college stars; Cox signed too late to play significantly in 2010 and began 2011 in high-A Palm Beach before being promoted aggressively to AA Springfield, an assignment Wong could certainly match if he has a hot start in the Quad Cities.
The Cardinals have yet to sign the next prospect on their list, second-rounder Charlie Tilson. Tilson, a high school outfielder, is perceived to be a tougher sign, and was once reported to be looking for a bonus in the seven figures range.