Everything gets magnified in the early going of a baseball season. Things you would barely notice if they happened over a five-game stretch in June look like the WHOLE OF EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE in April. We can’t help it. You wait for months and months for the season to return, and when there is new action to digest and statistics to discuss, it’s more or less impossible not to put too much stock in anything – even if you manage to do it only a little bit.
Patrick Wisdom has done his part to offer us the most extreme version of the early season whipsaw:
⇒ First 6 games: .048/.087/.048, 47.8% K rate, 4.3% BB rate, 85.2 mph average EV, -65 wRC+
⇒ Last 5 games: .533/.588/1.267, 23.5% K rate, 11.8% BB rate, 99.7 mph average EV, 408 wRC+
That is as EXTREEEEME as it gets.
So many of those numbers – in both segments – are just nonsense. It’s almost more useful to just say: for the first six games, Wisdom was constantly missing the ball, and in the next five games he was constantly hitting the shit out of it. I think it’s been sufficiently extreme in each chunk that we probably would’ve noticed it even midseason, but that doesn’t mean there’s enough signal in there to draw any conclusions.
The overall season numbers so far for Wisdom are certainly encouraging: .250/.300/.556, 136 wRC+, 7.5% BB rate, 37.5% K rate. I still think, with Wisdom, that strikeout rate is the one that’s gonna tell us the most. A 37.5% strikeout rate is still enormous (it would’ve led baseball last year by three percentage points!), but it’s getting pretty close to a range where Wisdom can live thanks to his truly special quality of contact. There’s not a phantom here – Wisdom really does have the ability to hit the ball as well as anyone in baseball when he hits the ball.
So if that strikeout rate does stay in the 35 to 38% range, Wisdom is probably going to stay an above-average bat. Pair that with quality defense at third, and you have yourself a really nice starter. Getting him to true “impact” level would probably require a strikeout rate closer to the 32 to 34% range (i.e., merely among the worst in the league), and I don’t know if that’s possible for him while retaining what makes him special.
In conclusion for today, be careful not to now move yourself in any firm direction. Wisdom is hot as all get-out right now, but that, too, will normalize. Enjoy it, hope that he’s figured a thing or two out at the margins – there’s a really solid everyday third baseman in there if he can do that – and watch what happens over the next multiple months.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 20, 2022