I was clicking buttons on YouTube last night when I came across Freerunning. Man, those videos are so mesmerizing, especially with the music and slow-motion graphics. After the third video, I considered myself a Freerunning expert. I knew how to run. I knew how to jump. I understood that E=mc2. I was good at math so I could calculate the proper angles and such. After tying my shoes, I kicked open the screen door and jumped on top of the porch fence to vault myself onto the sidewalk. Beep….Boop……Bop……”911, what’s your emergency?” I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. The amazing things we see being done on tv are the result of years of practice and honing a craft. What makes them more fantastic is the effortless nature with which they are done. To the point that you and I often think that we could pull off the same feats. For most things in life, though, patience and persistence are good guides. You want to practice and/or perform due diligence before committing to anything. Fantasy baseball is no different. Patrick Wisdom of the Chicago Cubs has taken the league by storm recently. He’s hit seven home runs in 40 plate appearances and has been added in 44.3% of ESPN leagues. Refrain and show some Wisdom or is the Wisdom in riding the horse until it rides no more?
He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He hit 31 home runs in Triple-A during the 2017 season while he had two seasons with over 11 stolen bases. He made his MLB debut in 2018 and produced four home runs and two stolen bases with a .260/.362/.520 slash and a .260 ISO. The walk rate was 10.4% while the strikeout rate was 32.8%.
He was traded to the Texas Rangers in December of 2018. In Triple-A, he hit 31 home runs and stole eight bases in 453 plate appearances. The slash was .240/.332/.513 with a .273 ISO. The walk rate was 11.7% while the strikeout rate was 27.6%.
In August of 2020, Wisdom signed a minor league contract with the Cubs. In 34 plate appearances in Triple-A, he had three home runs and one stolen base with a 17.6% walk rate and 35.3% strikeout rate. The ISO was .400 while the slash was .160/.353/.560. The BABIP was only .091, though.
The power is real and he’s always shown the capacity to take his walks. The strikeout rate is an issue and the batting average will rarely be high.
So far this season, the slash is .389/.450/1.028 with a .639 ISO! The walk rate is 10% while the strikeout rate is 37.5%. He’s not going to have a .639 ISO and the batting average is fueled by a .500 BABIP, so let’s get that regression is going to come out of the way.
Let’s dig in to see if we can glean anything for the future.
The HR/FB is 58.3% so…..uh, yeah. That’s not sustainable. Wisdom hasn’t had a GB/FB rate of 1 since rookie ball in 2016 and in the prior MLB stints he had fly ball rates of 45.5% and 38.7%. The launch angle has been at least 17% in every MLB season so hitting the ball into the air is what he does. That’s good for home run prospects going forward.
When he makes contact, he smashes the ball. The average exit velocity is 98.5 mph while the max is 111.5 mph. He had an average exit velocity of 94.3 mph back in 2019 while he had a max of 112.2 mph back in 2018, so this is not unchartered territory. The barrel rate is 38.1% so there’s going to be regression there for sure.
I’m all about the plate discipline numbers so I’m curious to see what I find. The swinging strike rate is 16.9%. That number has always been high for him. If he qualified, that’d put him in the top 10. The chase rate is only 25% so that’s really good to see. That correlates with the high walk rate. The swing percentages also look good as he swings at 76.1% of pitches in the zone and 43.6% in general. That’d place him in the top 25 and bottom 30 respectively.
The contact rates are where things get gross. In the zone, it’s at 68.5% while he has a 61.2% contact rate in general. For perspective, Joey Gallo has the worst contact rate in the zone at 70.1%. That said, Gallo has 10 home runs on the season with four stolen bases. The batting average is only .207, though, and it’s been above .210 only once in his career.
The big component for me is the playing time for Wisdom. A player like Gallo is firmly entrenched in the heart of the lineup. Wisdom is not, and was only called up due to the Matt Duffy injury. What happens when he returns from the IL? If Wisdom continues hitting home runs, then Sal Goodman. But he’s not and some serious regression is coming his way. When the strikeouts accumulate and the home runs dry up, I don’t see how he’s given a leash to bat through it. Duffy doesn’t have the power that Wisdom possesses but the slash is .278/.377/.356 for him with the walk rate at 10.4% and strikeout rate at 17%. TRASH