Wisdom's Incredible Turn, Heyward and Suzuki, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Wisdom’s Incredible Turn, Heyward and Suzuki, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I wish I was a little more into golf so I could follow along in the drama with a little more background knowledge/context. It seems pretty interesting otherwise.

•   Can I interest you in a bonkers Patrick Wisdom stat? On May 17, he started using the hockey puck knob bat. He had a bad day, going 0-3 with 2 Ks. Maybe the new bat wasn’t for him. BUT since that day? He’s hit .240/.360/.533/145 wRC+ with a … wait for it … 25.8% K rate. That’s barely above league average! You don’t need me to tell you, but a Patrick Wisdom who ACTUALLY only strikes out 25% of the time, and still has his contact quality, is like … a star. I mean, a STAR. We’ll see if he can keep it up over a much longer stretch, but it’s been crazy now going on three and a half weeks. (Given that Wisdom’s K-related issues has been swing-and-miss in the upper-third of the zone, rather than him chasing outside the zone, you do wonder if a change in equipment would help him more than most … )

•   Overall, Wisdom has posted an identical 115 wRC+ this year to match last year’s number, as well as identical .305 OBPs. This year, the average and slugging are down a good bit (a nod to the very different offensive environment), but the walk rate is up, the strikeout rate is way down, and the BABIP is down. Overall, what he’s doing this year to get that 115 looks a heckuva lot more “real” and sustainable than how he got to that 115 last year.

•   A fun way to think about what Patrick Wisdom has been with the Cubs since given his first full big league chance – he’s been a very good and valuable and unique player (it’s a 3.2 WAR, too):

•   Seiya Suzuki (finger) MIGHT come off the IL this weekend in New York, and ditto Jonathan Villar.

•   When Suzuki does return, it should be the end of Jason Heyward starting regularly, if not the end of his time on the roster. Suzuki is the everyday guy in right field, as he should be. And in center field, I don’t see how you could justify not splitting that time between Christopher Morel and Rafael Ortega, the first of whom could be a long-term piece, and the second of whom could be a July trade piece. Heyward is not going to be either of those things. Even if you let Morel play second base more often, Ortega should still be getting most of those center field starts, and when he’s not, I’d rather see Ian Happ back out there, with Clint Frazier ACTUALLY GETTING STARTS in left field.

•   I have reached the point where I do not understand why Heyward continues drawing starts, despite having one of the worst bats in baseball (matching his dreadful 2021), and now rating as an average to well-below-average defender. Even without Suzuki active, it doesn’t make sense! Usually I can at least offer an explanation for the organization’s decisions, even if I disagree with them personally. In this case, I just don’t get it. Straight up do not get the thinking. And if Heyward sticks around and keeps starting even after Suzuki returns? That’s when I might start wondering about the various conspiracy-adjacent theories that people offer as explanation.

•   Also? I really hate that the Cubs’ continued insistence on Heyward staying and starting is making me beat this drum so continuously. I feel like I’m constantly ripping on the guy’s performance and role and fit, and it’s not his fault that he no longer makes sense on this team. I don’t have an issue with him personally, and I will wish him nothing but the best in whatever happens next. I just want to stop talking about it and move on.

•   And then they won the World Series:

•   Outdoor equipment, camping gear, massagers, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   You have enough time to actually see the batter’s entire thought process as the pitch approaches and he wonders, openly, what the hell it is going to do:


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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.