To all who celebrate, religiously or secularly, a very Happy Easter to you and yours!
• I’m anticipating another roster move before today’s game, by the way. With Mark Leiter Jr. unable to pitch today, and with him not necessarily showing that he needs to take another turn in the rotation, he could be optioned back out for a different arm – for example, lefty Locke St. John, who was curiously added to the 40-man roster yesterday without actually being called up (you don’t do that unless you know he’s coming up at some point). It’s also possible the Cubs bring up a position player to balance the roster back out (Alfonso Rivas was sent out for Leiter), but my guess is they’ll want an extra arm given the lack of off-days ahead and the many continued short starter starts. Stay tuned.
• Patrick Wisdom has six hits in his last seven at bats, including four doubles. He entered Friday’s game hitting .048/.087/.048 with a 47.8% strikeout rate. He left Saturday’s game hitting .222/.241/.370 with a 37.9% strikeout rate. Just kinda how things can go in the early season statistic observations, so there’s really not too much to take away from it other than it being a nice curiosity (and, I suppose, seeing just how horrific those first six games were). I will say this, though: if Wisdom can actually have that strikeout rate stay around 35-37% on the year, he would likely be an above-average overall bat. Maybe even more than that.
• Wisdom has a really mature attitude about early-season struggles, as you can see from his comments here at Cubs.com. Of course he struggles with the mental side of the game when things are going poorly at the plate, just like everyone does. But he knows his best chance at a positive outcome over a longer period of time is to stick with the approach and the plan, and be confident that he can just be the best version of himself:
“If it’s not going well, I can’t veer off,” Wisdom said. “I can’t go up there and hit left-handed now. I’ve got to stay with it. In the long run, it’s better just to stay with it. Don’t panic. If I strike out, I want to hit like Vlad Guerrero. I want to hit like Mike Trout next time, see if that works. But, is that who I am? No. But you see that kind of thing and you’re like, ‘All right, that didn’t work. Maybe I’ll try something else.’ Next thing you know, you tried all these things and I don’t even know who I am. Who is Patrick Wisdom now? I step in like, ‘Is this where I stand now?’ All those thoughts run through our head as hitters.”
• So what does the current approach involve? No surprise: from a pitch-recognition perspective, Wisdom is working hard to avoid those high fastballs, and from a mechanical perspective, he’s raised his back elbow slightly.
• The other infielder who had a big night at the plate was Jonathan Villar, with four singles. He’s now hitting .474/.500/.579 with a 199 wRC+, but I’m not sure the .529 BABIP is gonna stick for the whole year …
• And the other (non-infielder) dude who had a great night at the plate was Seiya Suzuki, who has now had a “good” game at the plate every single game this year so far (including his lone non-start, which yielded a pinch-hit walk – a 1.000 OBP is a good game, right?). In the seven starts, Suzuki has notched at least one hit:
Seiya Suzuki has started MLB career hitting safely in each of his first 7 games with an at-bat after 2B in 2nd.
Suzuki is tied for 2nd-longest hit streak to begin a career for Japanese-born player with Hideki Matsui (7 games '03 NYY), trailing Akinori Iwamura (9 games '08 Rays).
— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) April 17, 2022
• I have to keep reminding myself that the adjustment period is almost certainly coming, but it’s true that the first 10 days of Seiya Suzuki’s MLB career could not possibly have gone better.
• If you were curious about how double-play’y the Cubs have gotten so far this year in a small sample, the MLB record for team grounded into double plays in a season is 174 by the 1990 Boston Red Sox. The Cubs are currently on pace for 255.
• Another night of walk-offs for the Cubs’ minor league system, with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans winning on a James Triantos walk-off single (no video), and the Iowa Cubs winning on a Donnie Dewees walk-off ‘single’:
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) April 16, 2022
• So, young Reds starter Hunter Greene throws it pretty hard:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 17, 2022
Hunter Greene has thrown 38 pitches at 100.0+ mph *tonight*
In 2021 — LAST YEAR, in this era of high velo — only 10 MLB *TEAMS* threw more than 38 100+ mph pitches for the entire SEASON
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 17, 2022
• Speaking of rare Cubs pitchers who could approach 100 mph, a sad and touching story about the former Cubs reliever:
There are dozens of pitchers like James Norwood in the majors — always fighting for his roster spot. Two days after the Phillies traded for him, his father died. They bonded through baseball, but James didn’t know everything until he found some old papers: https://t.co/rhmidx7OAp
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 17, 2022
• This is fun to me:
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) April 16, 2022