Hawaii’s Kolten Wong set for MLB playoffs with Milwaukee Brewers

Sports

Milwaukee Brewers’ Kolten Wong throws a runner out at first base during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Kolten Wong’s first regular season with the Milwaukee Brewers was a success.

Despite missing 46 games due to a variety of factors including injuries and the birth of his first son, the Kamehameha-Hawaii and University of Hawaii product still set a career high in home runs (14) and doubles (32) while hitting a respectable .271.

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Because of how many games Wong missed, it’s unlikely that he wins his third straight National League Gold Glove at second base. But there’s bigger goals on the horizon for Wong and the Brewers, who won the National League Central at 95-67 and will face the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, starting on Friday.

Wong will be the only player with Hawaii ties in the MLB postseason. Sunday was the final day of the regular season, putting an end to the year for players whose teams didn’t make the playoffs.

Here are how other players from Hawaii fared during the regular season:

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, shortstop, Texas Rangers (Mid-Pacific): After winning the American League Gold Glove at third base in 2020, Kiner-Falefa was named the team’s starting shortstop prior to the 2021 season and more than held his own. Kiner-Falefa led all shortstops in a bevy of defensive categories, including assists (432), double plays turned (98) and range factor per game (4.32) after fielding .973. Coincidentally, Kiner-Falefa, like Wong, finished with a .271 batting average and led the league in singles (136). The Rangers finished the season in last place in the AL West at 60-102 but Kiner-Falefa proved to be a big part of the team’s future plans.

Josh Rojas, utility, Arizona Diamondbacks (University of Hawaii): Like Kiner-Falefa, Rojas was a bright spot on a losing team. At 52-110, the Diamondbacks tied with the Baltimore Orioles with the league’s worst record. It was still a landmark plate for Rojas, as he set career highs in virtually every category, including average (.264), home runs (11), hits (128) and doubles (32).

Kurt Suzuki, catcher, Los Angeles Angels (Baldwin): Suzuki ends his season with six home runs, 16 RBI and a .224 batting average after serving as LA’s backup catcher but primary backstop for Shohei Ohtani. It is unclear if Suzuki, who is 37 years old and just completed his 15th full MLB season, will decide to play or not in 2022.

Also for the Angels, Waiakea alum Kean Wong played in a dozen games as a September call-up, going 3-for-19 at the plate to finish with a .167 average for the 2021 season. The Angels finished 77-85.

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