CHICAGO – He’s the backup for the backup, but the Chicago Cubs third baseman, Patrick Wisdom, is not playing like that. As the 29-year-old rookie prepares for Sunday Night Baseball against the team that selected him, Wisdom has already accomplished more than most.
In his first 10 starts as a Cub, Wisdom hit eight home runs, tying at Aristides aquino with the most of any player in his first 10 games with a team since 1900. He has set the league and opposing pitchers on fire.
“The guy already has seven bombs and he hasn’t been here that long,” said his teammate. Ian Happ before Wisdom hit home run No. 8. “Some of us are looking at the board thinking, ‘Hell, he’s been here for a minute, we don’t have that many.
“If we can get it from Wisdom with guys on base, we’ll be fine.”
Wisdom has become so valuable to an injury-ridden team, which is why the 52nd pick in the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals draft has a shot at first. Matt duffy handled third base while the former MVP and primarily third baseman, Kris bryant, wandered through the gardens. But then Duffy fell with a back injury, opening the door for Wisdom.
Wisdom has been asked many times in recent weeks to explain his success, after years of being on the sidelines of the majors. “Playing for a long time at the Triple-A level, and having streaks at the Major League level, definitely helped put my mind at ease, not letting [se sienta] bigger than the moment, “Wisdom said.” There’s another platform in the stadium and more cameras, but it’s the same game. “
Wisdom’s journey began with the Cardinals, but after just 50 at-bats in 2018, they released him. He hit .260 with four home runs, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the organization.
“From the Cardinals perspective, it was the classic running out of time to provide that opportunity,” Cardinals president John Mozeliak told ESPN on Friday. “With the way the rules are set, you don’t control the player forever.”
So the Cardinals ‘loss became the Cubs’ gain, but not before stops in Texas and Seattle, where, according to Wisdom, things didn’t work out due to “performance-based” issues. In other words, he just didn’t hit enough, at the right times, to justify keeping him close.
“I couldn’t give up,” Wisdom said. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise.”
That’s when the Cubs called, three days after Wisdom was released from the Mariners in August 2019. They couldn’t promise him a major league deal, so he went unnoticed in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic triggered it.
“He was really good at the alternate site last year,” Cubs president Jed Hoyer said. “Somehow, it was not reported how many home runs he hit there. He had an incredible streak last summer hitting a lot of home runs.”
But that wasn’t against the San Diego Padres or the San Francisco Giants, two opponents he recently crushed. He hit .364 with a .417 on-base percentage against both teams, while hitting seven of his eight home runs. He helped the Cubs win the season series 5-1 over San Diego.
“It’s a combination of ingredients,” Wisdom said. “It’s the team. It’s the staff. It’s my level of maturity. My family. I could go on talking about what contributed to my success.”
The Cubs are credited with betting on him, but even his part of the story is not without its flaws. The Cubs released him near the end of last season, but brought him back in January with a minor league contract. Wisdom came close to signing overseas, but gave the Cubs another chance.
“[El director de cazatalentos profesionales de los Cubs] Andrew Bassett told us, ‘If he plays in America, it will be for us,’ “Wisdom agent Adam Karon said.
That was enough to keep Wisdom in the Cubs uniform, but Hoyer can’t dismiss the idea that anyone could have had it between September and January.
“Every team takes pride in signing underrated guys like Duffy or Wisdom,” Hoyer said. “There is good luck with those things. You have to have a bit of humility to realize that if someone had offered them more, they would have gotten it.
“But we gave more for those guys than the rest of the league. Those are the decisions that amuse us.”
Wisdom and Duffy are a big part of the 2021 narrative surrounding the Cubs. Like many teams, they have had an inordinate number of injuries, but many of their substitutes have thrived, keeping the team atop the NL Central division.
The Cardinals could really come to regret losing Wisdom.
“Every time you see a player that you had high hopes for who couldn’t perform for you, you wonder what went wrong in the process,” Mozeliak said. “Could we have been more patient? Could we have given him more opportunities? To truly answer those kinds of questions, you have to give him time.”
Wisdom’s success has been in the small sample category. But it came when the Cubs needed it most, as stars like Javier Baez Y Anthony Rizzo they also lost time due to injuries. He was a life saver.
“He’s been carrying us,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “He’s been the real offensive force for us right now. Every time the box comes in, he does something to help the team. He has real power.”
The pitcher Kyle hendricks He added: “It’s so hot right now. What a great boost. Every time it comes out. It’s amazing to watch. We’re enjoying it right now.”
So is Wisdom, who has become popular with the media and fans alike. But the interviews and attention aren’t likely to take him away from his job, as he asked reporters to wait before Friday’s game so he could catch shots. The routine has been real for Wisdom and he is unwilling to let the dream end.
“It was really special,” he said.