Chicago Cubs: The shine is starting to wear off Patrick Wisdom

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Patrick Wisdom has been one of the few bright spots on this Chicago Cubs team here in the second half. But, as we were all well aware, it’s pretty uncommon for a 30-year-old rookie to figure things out at the big league level all of the sudden. If the last month is any indication, the league has adjusted to Wisdom – while he’s failed to do the same.

Over the last 30 days, Wisdom is batting just .189/.255/.467. Since the calendar turned to September, the former first-rounder hasn’t been able to do anything at the plate, slashing just .105/.190/.184, striking out in 17 of his 42 plate appearances (41 percent). He’s stopped hitting the ball hard, so much so that David Ross gave him Sunday off in hopes of helping him reset before Chicago heads to Philadelphia this week.

At this point in the season, it’s not like you’re concerned about Wisdom sinking the team’s chances for success because they’re next to nil already. More importantly, you’re using these final few weeks to evaluate everyone on the roster in hopes of determining what you have heading into a critical offseason as the Cubs look to flip over a roster that’s already experienced tremendous turnover this year.

As recently as a month ago, Wisdom looked like the frontrunner for the starting third base job heading into 2022 and he may very well still be. But there’s no questioning that this brutal stretch at the plate has definitely brought up some questions as to whether or not he’s a viable long-term piece of the puzzle on the North Side.

The swing-and-miss in Wisdom’s game is nothing new. It’s just the fact that nobody cared when he was tearing the cover off the ball and regularly parking shots into the seats on a daily basis. Now that he’s not, that 40 percent strikeout rate on the year really starts to grab your attention.

Chicago Cubs cannot afford to build another swing-and-miss offense

Given the longstanding issues the Cubs have battled in terms of manufacturing runs and falling victim to a three true outcome approach, I can’t help but wonder how big of a concern this is for the front office right now. Can you really afford to build the next contending roster on the same offensive principles you deemed to be outdated and ineffective? I have my doubts.

This season, Chicago leads all baseball with a 26.9 percent strikeout rate as a team. Their .305 on-base percentage falls in the bottom quarter of the league and even their walk rate is in the bottom third. In short, the Cubs swing and miss way too much and aren’t drawing enough walks, which isn’t really a surprise given the slash-and-burn tactics Jed Hoyer employed at the trade deadline. But let’s be clear: these issues were prevalent even when the core was still here. They’re just exacerbated now with the quality of the product on the field.

An emotional weekend as Kris Bryant returns to Wrigley. dark. Next

With the clock ticking on the 2021 season, you have to hope Wisdom makes those key adjustments and finishes the year strong. Otherwise, he could very well wind up being a feel-good story from a season we’d all rather forget – instead of a building block for the future.