Kolten Wong | 2B, Cardinals | Born:  10/10/1990

Tyler Greene was the 30th overall selection in the 2005 draft.  It was the Cardinals second pick that year; they took Colby Rasmus two spots earlier.  At this point, both players appear to be busts, really.  I suppose St. Louis fans can take solace knowing that the Cards flipped Rasmus for important pieces in their World Series run.  But there’s little consolation on Greene’s side of things.  He’s awful, and it’s clear that he’s not a long term option as an everyday 2B.  There is hope for St. Louis, however.  Kolten Wong is officially the Cardinals’ 2B of the future.  He took that right after being drafted 22nd overall a year ago, and his performance in the minors has only solidified his position as such.

Out of the University of Hawaii, Wong made his pro debut at Low-A Quad Cities where he batted .355/.401/.510 over 222 PA.  Most had him pegged for High-A to open 2012, but the Cardinals chose to move him along more aggressively, sending him to Double-A Springfield out of camp.  The 21-year-old has responded by hitting .305/.381/.441 through his first 32 games in the Texas League.  At 5-9, 190, Wong is small, but he can handle the bat and he can provide some pop too.  His advanced approach to hitting has allowed for an easy transition to Double-A and it will surely shorten his path to the bigs.  I expect an arrival sometime early in 2013, but if Wong continues to get on base while increasing his XBH production, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Busch Stadium this September.  Once he’s settled in the majors, look for Wong to post a .300+ average along with 15 homers and double-digit steals.  He’s my favorite 2B prospect in the minors and he’ll be valuable in all fantasy formats.

Robbie Erlin | LHP, Padres | Born:  10/8/1989

In my 2011 Padres Review, I noted that for fantasy purposes Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin were essentially the same dude.  Wieland had a bit more polish, and that earned him some starts earlier this year in the San Diego rotation, but now he’s on the DL and the Padres are starting 37-year-old Jeff Suppan.  Sure, Suppan’s been serviceable through his first few starts, but it won’t last and neither will he.  And if Wieland doesn’t rebound quickly from his elbow ailment, the Padres could certainly look to Erlin for help.

Procured in the Mike Adams swap last year, Erlin has been at Double-A San Antonio ever since.  Through his first 34 IP in 2012, he’s struck out 45 and earned a 2.67 ERA.  The only thing holding him back for now is command.  His BB/9 sits at 2.7 on the year, as opposed to the 1.0 BB/9 mark he posted over 147 innings of work in 2011.  He’s always been a plus command guy, which is why the slip in that regard is so perplexing.  This early in the season, I like to blame the sample and assume that Erlin will sort out the issue.  Once he does, he’ll have a fairly clear path to Petco.  Erlin should put up nice ERA and WHIP in the bigs, and his changeup could draw plenty of K’s too.   Of course, any pitcher throwing at Petco is worth fantasy consideration.  Erlin will certainly be no exception.