How Bote Hurt His Ankle, Wisdom's Big Birthday, Runway for Thompson and Hermosillo, and Other Cubs Bullets

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How Bote Hurt His Ankle, Wisdom’s Big Birthday, Runway for Thompson and Hermosillo, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Which will be more entertaining tonight, playing simultaneously: a Cubs-Sox game when the Cubs are just playing out the string, or a Bears preseason game that features Justin Fields starting, but with zero chance to do anything except not win the QB1 job and also maybe get hurt?

•   So here’s how David Bote sprained his ankle. I am guessing that from his angle, the ball blended in with the white lettering, and the dang odds that he would step on it in stride, with no other balls even close:

•   He’ll be evaluated again today and the Cubs will probably make an Injured List decision. It’s possible he could go on the IL, with Willson Contreras (knee) being activated to take his spot. We’ll see.

•   Birthdays don’t get much better than two homers and a new mustache. Patrick Wisdom, who turned 30, is now the Cubs’ home run leader on the season with 23. He’s hitting .255/.319/.563 on the year, good for a 132 wRC+, which would be top 30 in baseball if he had enough PAs to qualify. And that’s not a hollow qualifier, mind you. At just 271 PAs this year, Wisdom has had roughly a half-season’s worth of plate appearances, so you cannot assume that even more adjustments/struggles wouldn’t be coming. We have another month of games left, so that’s going to be useful data, and it could change our thinking.

•   As I’ve said before, it’s just so hard to be productive – much less THIS productive – over a full season if you’re striking out 39+% of the time, as Wisdom is. I don’t know that he can close that massive hole at the top of the strike zone – if you can locate a decent fastball in the upper third, you’re gonna get a whiff – and I don’t know how long he can continue destroying every single mistake. But if he stays this guy the rest of the season? And continues playing good defense at third base? It’s going to be a situation where you have to give him more runway next year. It shouldn’t determine what you do in the offseason, but it should definitely leave you feeling like you have “a third baseman” in place if you need him (especially if it provides you the comfort necessary to make additions in free agency around him (and especially especially if he keeps the mustache)).

•   The first two starting chances for Keegan Thompson have not gone all that well, as he’s been grinding and the stuff has not looked sharp. There might be some reasons to soften the analysis from last night (super muggy, for example), but the reality is that the velocity and spin were way down, and he was wild. That led to the 38-pitch first inning, which pretty much shut his night down before it had really gotten going. He has looked like a completely different pitcher as a starter than he looked when he’d really settled into a relief role.

•   As Sahadev Sharma notes, the lack of swing-and-miss is so extreme with Thompson that it is very likely to be a problem if he can’t miss more bats as a starter:

•   The whole point of this period of time is for evaluation and development, so there’s no reason to bounce Thompson from the rotation now, or conclude already that he’s definitely a reliever in the future. Give him the runway to work through whatever is going on so long as he’s healthy (his velocity is down from even his starts at Iowa, and he was missing a ton of bats with his breaking pitches there), and then reevaluate in the offseason/spring. If he winds up a multi-inning guy in the bullpen, so be it. There are worse outcomes. But it would be nice to know if he can adjust and keep developing to at least maybe be a swing guy next year.

•   Michael Hermosillo made two excellent catches last night in center field:

•   Speaking of guys to give runway, I know I keep banging the drum on Hermosillo. I just don’t see any reason NOT to let him start every day to give you a little more info before the offseason. A good prospect who showed he was good enough to dominate at Triple-A at a young age with the Angels, never got a real starting opportunity in the big leagues – just sporadic appearances behind stars in the outfield where it’s hard as heck to actually make adjustments – and then moved to a new org at 26 and put up even more ridiculous numbers at Triple-A. More often than not, guys who hit that Triple-A/MLB wall don’t actually ever break out into big league starters. But when they do, their story looks a lot like Hermosillo’s. Just give him the dang starts, consecutively, the rest of the way so you can see him make adjustments.

•   Bizarre, but also just let the guy close instead of throwing him out there in garbage time like last night:

•   Huge news in the Bulls’ world, as Lauri Markkanen was finally traded:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.