‘Get Wis up there’: Cubs along for the ride as Patrick Wisdom’s unreal hot streak continues
Two weeks ago, if you asked a Cubs fan about Patrick Wisdom, their immediate reaction would have been: “Who?”
Now, ask a Cubs fan about Wisdom and watch their face light up.
The 29-year-old is getting his first real shot in the big leagues right now after a long journey. Due to injuries around the diamond to David Bote, Matt Duffy and others, Wisdom has been pressed into action on a nearly everyday basis for the Cubs over the last couple of weeks.
He’s made the most of it.
After another homer during Tuesday night’s 7-1 win, Wisdom now has 8 longballs in his first 10 starts with the Cubs.
To put that in perspective, only a few other names in history have ever been in the type of groove Wisdom is currently enjoying:
Patrick Wisdom: 8 HR in 10 starts in 2021, tying him with Aristides Aquino of 2019 Reds for 2nd-most HR through first 10 starts in a year since at least 1906. Two players with 9 HR through first 10 starts of a year in this span: 2001 Luis Gonzalez (Az), 1976 Mike Schmidt (Phi).— Chris Antonacci (@chrisantonacci) June 9, 2021
No matter where his career goes from here, Wisdom’s name will forever be in the Cubs history books.
With the 8 homers in his first 10 starts with the Cubs, Wisdom has almost double the total of next-closest players in franchise history — Phil Nevin, Shane Andrews, Glenallen Hill, Ralph Kiner, Hank Sauer and Chuck Klein all hit 5 homers in their first 10 Cubs starts.
This is a guy that had 4 career homers in 88 big-league plate appearances entering the 2021 season.
“What he’s doing is impressive,” David Ross said. “The play he made at short when he’s in that shift, it’s a really nice play. The homers obviously are a game-changer for us. I already used the words ‘carrying us’ but it’s just real.
“Some of the guys have said it best: ‘just keep trying to get Wis up there and watch what he can do.’ Really impressive at-bats, staying within his approach. Just super excited for him and for us and the way he’s been playing. He’s really picked us up at a time when we’ve got a lot of guys down.”
In addition to Tuesday’s 2-run shot, Wisdom homered twice Sunday, once Saturday and smacked 3 longballs against the Padres at Wrigley Field last week to lead the Cubs to 3 straight victories over one of the NL’s top teams.
Right before he was called up to the big leagues in late May, Wisdom was on a tear in Triple-A Iowa as well. He hit 3 homers and drove in 10 runs in the 4 games prior to the promotion. Add it all together and he has 11 homers and 22 RBI in 19 games since May 20.
In fact, Wisdom has been in such a groove, he’s drawing lofty comparisons from his teammates.
“Wisdom’s last two weeks are pretty incredible,” said Zach Davies, who notched the win Tuesday night. “Not just from a guy that hasn’t played but even if he was an everyday starter to begin the year, the two weeks that he’s had is amazing to see.
“I got to see [Christian] Yelich at the end of his MVP season just completely turn it on and surprise everybody and every single game was a threat. That’s the way Wisdom is now. It’s awesome to see.”
As Yelich solidified his case for the 2018 NL MVP with the Milwaukee Brewers, he hit 10 homers, drove in 34 runs and boasted a 1.313 OPS in September of that season.
With the way Wisdom has been playing, it makes Ross’ job easy right now — pencil the 29-year-old in the lineup every day and third base.
And the Cubs are just trying to get him up to the plate as often as possible to ride this hot streak.
“He’s come up and seized the opportunity and continues to have good at-bats, hit home runs, play really good defense and be a good person, too,” said Anthony Rizzo, who also homered and drove in 4 runs Tuesday night. “It’s been really fun and really happy for him.”
Wisdom first joined the Cubs last summer after he was released by the Mariners. He only got a couple plate appearances late in the 2020 campaign but re-signed with the team on a minor-league deal over the winter.
He is a former supplemental-round pick (52nd overall in 2012) and has hit 31 homers in a minor league season twice (2017, 2019).
Wisdom has just never really had a real opportunity to show what he could do in the majors — he’s played in 866 minor-league games to date.
The 2021 Cubs have been chock-full of those kinds of stories — Duffy, Tommy Nance, Rafael Ortega, etc. And Bote started it all a few years ago when he carved out a role for himself after an under-the-radar rise to the big leagues.
“It’s a huge credit to our scouting department, our front office and our coaches for trusting in them, believing in them,” Rizzo said. “It’s like Bote’s story — it’s not easy when you’re against all odds.
“For Nance to come up and guys get to first base and are like, ‘man, he is nasty. Where’d you guys get this guy from?’ Over and over. And Wisdom just continuing to have good at-bats and taking his walks and hitting the homers. It’s a feel-good thing and you just can’t be happier.”