While the Red Sox lost both games of their doubleheader against the White Sox in Boston on Sunday, the team’s alternate training site roster hosted the Mets’ alternate training site roster in a scrimmage in Worcester.
In that particular simulated game at Polar Park, in which the Mets won by a final score of 3-2 in 10 innings, Red Sox catching prospect Connor Wong had himself a solid day offensively.
The 24-year-old backstop went 1-for-3 at the plate on Sunday, and that one hit just so happened to be his first competitive home run of the year away from Florida.
Facing off against Mets left-hander Daniel Zamora — who has major-league experience — with one out in the home half of the eighth inning, Wong took a 1-1, 84 mph slider on the outside of the plate and crushed it deep enough to the opposite field that it just snuck over the Worcester Wall in right.
SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall, who was among those in attendance at Polar Park on Sunday, described Wong’s homer as a “nice piece of hitting staying on a breaking ball from a lefty that started well off the plate.”
Cundall also commended the right-handed hitter for his “all-fields power,” while Worcester Red Sox broadcaster Josh Mauer added that “a big difference between [Wong] this year and last year is the ability to use the entire field.”
Wong, who turns 25 next month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in Boston’s farm system.
The 6-foot-1, 179 pound backstop was acquired by the Sox along with Alex Verdugo and fellow prospect Jeter Downs as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers last February.
While he was not able to experience the ups-and-downs of a conventional minor-league season last year on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Wong was able to continue his development at the Red Sox’ alternate training site and fall instructional league before being added to the club’s 40-man roster in November.
In his first spring training with Alex Cora back as Red Sox manager, Wong was able to leave quite an impression while at big-league camp in February and March.
Over eight Grapefruit League contests, the Houston-area native slashed .222/.500/.667 with one home run, one double, one RBI, and five walks in 14 trips to the plate. He was also solid behind the plate both in terms of calling games and defense.
“He controls the strike zone,” Cora said in his praise of Wong back on March 16. “Compact swing. Strong kid. I’ve been impressed with the way he swings the bat, the control of the at-bats.
“There’s a calmness about him that managers like,” added Cora. “And we’re very happy. Last year, he was part of the big trade, and I bet everything was going so fast for him. And now for him to slow everything down, and being able to work, it’s a testament of who he is as a person, as a player. And obviously he’s somebody that we’re counting on in the future.”
Wong is currently one of four backstops on Boston’s 40-man roster alongside Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki, and Ronaldo Hernandez.
In the event that one of Vazquez or Plawecki would need to miss an extended period of time this season, it seems likely that Wong would be called up in their place, as was almost the case at the start of year when Vazquez required stitches after suffering an eye contusion and laceration under his left eye in late March.
Assuming that does not happen, though, Wong is otherwise projected to begin the 2021 minor-league season at Triple-A Worcester, who will kick off their inaugural season on May 4.
On another note, Michael Chavis also homered in Sunday’s game against the Mets’ alternate site roster.
(Picture of Connor Wong: Worcester Red Sox)