Cubs: Patrick Wisdom has run circles around Kris Bryant
By Jake Misener
You never know what you’ll find on Twitter when the Cubs have an off-day. On Monday, there was plenty going around – including some David Ross ‘loyalty’ comments that irked a few folks, more speculation on Ian Happ and his future as well as this tweet that laid out the production of Kris Bryant and Patrick Wisdom since the latter joined Chicago on May 25 last year.
Checking that tweet out is well worth your time – but the long and short of it is Wisdom has given Chicago far more value than Bryant has provided to the Cubs, Giants and Rockies during that same period, outpacing the former National League MVP 3.2 bWAR to 0.7bWAR.
Now, it’s absolutely critical to point out that when you roll it back and start the comparison at the beginning of the 2021 season, it’s a far more even race, with Wisdom just narrowly edging Bryant, 3.2 bWAR to 2.7bWAR. But since Jed Hoyer made the move that sent Bryant to the Giants last summer, there’s really been no debate as to who’s been more valuable.
The respective games of these guys couldn’t be more different, especially at the dish. Over the years, Bryant went from a guy who led the league in strikeouts to a much more patient, balanced hitter. With Wisdom, well, you pretty much know what you’re getting: a guy who slugs like crazy, but strikes out a ton (just peep that 38 percent strikeout rate above).
Cubs: Patrick Wisdom has handily outperformed Kris Bryant
Still, in 175 games – so, a little more than a full regular season – Wisdom has proven himself to be a valuable big league contributor. Forty-two home runs, 98 runs batted in, 92 runs – all good for a 112 wRC+. Factor in what Fangraphs pegs to be just below average defense and you have a very affordable (Wisdom is making just $730,000 this season) third baseman putting up some very solid numbers.
Looking at Bryant, especially so far in 2022, and the name of the game is, unfortunately, injuries. We saw him hit the shelf more than once in his Cubs career, but the start of his time in Colorado has been majorly derailed by not one, but two IL stints due to lingering back issues.
To this point, he’s appeared in just 19 games for the Rockies, putting up an 81 OPS+ while still in search of his first home run. Now, there’s a lot of season left and given he’s poised to return to the lineup this week, it could be a very different story by year’s end. For Colorado’s sake, they’d better hope so – Bryant makes just $18 million in 2022, before his salary escalates to $28 million the next two years, followed by four years at $27 million.
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When you factor in the injuries, the dramatic different in salary and the production both guys have turned in since late last May, despite his swing-and-miss tendencies, there’s no debating: Patrick Wisdom has run circles around Kris Bryant.