It may mean nothing at all. When you’re talking about baseball sample sizes that span barely a week, the potential for noise – pitchers, weather patterns, umpires, defenses, etc., etc. – is enormous. So, we use caution before drawing conclusions.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t note interesting things, tabbing them for future discussion and analysis.
For example, did you notice that Patrick Wisdom started using a different bat halfway through the Pirates series at Wrigley Field last week? It was a little hard not to notice, since he went from a traditional handle to one of those bulky, hockey-puck-style handles that are very visually apparent (see the image above). I first heard about that type of handle in the offseason, when Joey Votto made the switch and there was an extensive and interesting write-up at The Athletic. In theory, for some hitters, the puck knob can create a kind of counterweight and default choke-up that increases bat speed without sacrificing the weight of the bat, itself.
In that first game using the hockey-puck knob, Wisdom went 0-3 with two strikeouts. Then he got a day off. Then he went 0-3 with one strikeout and one walk in the series opener against the Diamondbacks. Nothing really doing.
… and then you know what happened, with Wisdom homering in four straight games.
Over those six games with the new bat, in total, Wisdom is hitting .238/.304/.810/202 wRC+, with a 34.8% strikeout rate (that would play for him!). If we knew this was a one-to-one correlation situation, we’d say Wisdom just unlocked himself another level by simply changing his bat.
Is that realistic, though? A bat change – get used to it being a little different, and then go – fundamentally changes the ability of a hitter? Ohhhh, probably not. At least not to this degree. But at the margins, could this type of bat, with what it is supposed to do, align well with Wisdom’s skill set and the gaping hole in his swing in the upper third of the zone? It’s certainly conceivable!
So, anyway, it’s on my radar. Thought it should be on yours, too.