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St. Louis Cardinals Draft: Kolten Wong Vs. Pete Kozma

Kolten Wong, the St. Louis Cardinals' first pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, is not a 6'10" fireballer from high school who once struck out 27 batters in a seven inning game, so he doesn't offer the kind of tall tales and bright future a first-round pick in the draft is supposed to—the dream, for Wong, is that some time in the next two years he looks like a high-OBP guy who can be plugged in at second base and hit second indefinitely. That means that he's drawn comparisons to Pete Kozma, the Cardinals' last middle infield experiment. But those just aren't fair to Wong.

What made the Kozma pick so strange in 2007 wasn't just that Rick Porcello lurked on the other side of it, and it wasn't just that Kozma was a middle infielder with a relatively low ceiling—it was that he didn't have a high floor, either. Kozma was a high schooler who needed time to develop—time he's never really gotten—and it was clear from the outset that what he seemed likely to develop into wasn't worth that risk. 

Wong is a college star with wood-bat experience, and he's got better tools now and better projection later than Kozma had. Without denigrating Kozma unnecessarily, he and Wong are just different situations entirely.