CHICAGO – He’s the backup for the backup, however Chicago Cubs third baseman Patrick wisdom sure doesn’t play that way. By the time the 29-year-old rookie prepares for Sunday Night Baseball – against the team that drafted him – Wisdom has already achieved more than most.
In his first 10 starts as a cub, Wisdom hit eight home runs and scored a draw Aristides Aquino for most players in their first 10 games with a team since 1900.
He set the league – and the opposing pitchers – on fire.
“The guy has already had seven pumps and hasn’t been here that long,” team-mate Ian Happ said before Wisdom hit home run # 8. “Some of us look at the board and think, ‘Shoot, he’s been here a minute – we don’t have that many.’
“If we make it to Wisdom with base guys, we’ll be fine.”
Wisdom has become so valuable to a team with injuries, which is why the 52nd St. Louis Cardinals first get a chance. Former rookie of the year runner-up Matt Duffy manned the third base while the former MVP was the third Kris Bryant roamed the outfield. But then Duffy went down with a back injury and opened the door for Wisdom.
Wisdom has been asked many times over the past few weeks to explain his success after hanging out on the sidelines of the majors for years. “Playing at triple A level for a long time and getting sprints at top league level definitely helped me calm my mind, not to let it go [feel] bigger than the moment, “said Wisdom.” There’s a different deck in the stadium and more cameras, but it’s the same game. “
Wisdom’s journey began with the Cardinals, but after only 50 at-bats in 2018, they gave up on him. He reached .260 with four homers, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in the organization.
“From the Cardinals’ point of view, it was the classic to lose the time to offer this opportunity,” Cardinals President John Mozeliak told ESPN on Friday. “The way the rules are made doesn’t control the player forever.”
So losing the Cardinals became the Cubs win, but not before stoppages in Texas and Seattle, where Wisdom said things didn’t go because of “performance related” issues. In other words, he just didn’t hit enough at the right time to warrant staying around.
“Couldn’t get it going,” said Wisdom. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise.”
At this point, the Cubs called, three days after Wisdom was released by the Mariners in August 2019. They couldn’t promise him a major league deal, so he flew under the radar in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic allowed this.
“He was really good at the alternative location last year,” said Cubs President Jed Hoyer. “In a way, it was underreported how many homers he met there. He had an incredible hot streak last summer hitting a lot of homers.”
But that wasn’t against them San Diego Padres or San Francisco Giants, He recently destroyed two opponents. He hit .364 with a .417 on base percentage against both teams while hitting seven of his eight home runs. It helped the Cubs to a 5-1 win of the season against San Diego.
“It’s a combination of ingredients,” said Wisdom. “It’s the team. It’s the employees. It’s my level of maturity. My family. I could always tell others what contributed to my success.”
The Cubs have the honor of taking a plane on him, but even their part of the story is not without flaws. The Cubs fired him towards the end of last season but brought him back with a minor league deal in January. Wisdom was close to signing overseas but gave the Cubs another chance.
“[Cubs director of pro scouting] Andrew Bassett told us, ‘If he plays in the States, it’s for us,’ “said Wisdom’s agent Adam Karon.
That was enough to keep Wisdom in a Cubs uniform, but Hoyer can’t dismiss the idea that anyone could have had him between September and January.
“Every team prides itself on signing undervalued guys like Duffy or Wisdom,” said Hoyer. “You can be lucky with these things. It takes some humility to realize that if someone had offered them more, they would have got it.
“But we were better with these guys than the rest of the league. Those are the decisions we enjoy.”
Wisdom and Duffy are a big part of the 2021 narrative of the Cubs. Like many teams, they have had an inordinate number of injuries, but many of their backups have done well, keeping the team at the top of the National League Central.
The cardinals might really regret having lost their wisdom.
“Every time you see a player you had high hopes for and who couldn’t do it for you, you wonder what went wrong in the process,” said Mozeliak. “Could we have been more patient? Could we have given him more tries? To really answer these kinds of questions, you have to give him time.”
“He carried us,” said Cubs manager David Ross. “He’s the real offensive force for us right now. Every time he comes into the box he does something to help the team. He’s got real strength.”
jug Kyle Hendricks added: “He’s so hot right now. What a huge boost. Every time he goes out. It’s amazing to see We’re just enjoying it right now. “
So is Wisdom, who is popular with the media and fans alike. But interviews and attention are unlikely to stop him from his job as he asked reporters to wait before Friday’s game so he can take floor balls. For Wisdom the grind was real and he won’t let the dream end.
“It was really special,” he said.