It's no secret that after missing on Jose Abreu, the Chicago Cubs still need to add extra firepower to the lineup, regardless of if they land a shortstop or not. The team has recently been reconnected to Trey Mancini as of late, who, if he does genuinely bounce back to form, is a solid option. Elsewhere, another under-the-radar guy nobody has yet to connect the Cubs to is utility man Brandon Drury. The Cubs also have an in-house option they can shift over to first base in Patrick Wisdom, but analyzing the splits between Drury and Wisdom is eye-popping once you dig into them.
Brandon Drury had an incredible start to the 2022 campaign. The argument is that much of that production could be due to playing in Great American Ballpark, which was labeled the #1 hitter-friendly ballpark in baseball this season. Upon being traded to San Diego at the deadline, Drury's numbers fell off due to Petco Park being much further down the list in park factors and the fact that pitchers adjusted to him as time went on. Though the Padres were loaded this year, Drury was that guy towards the end of that elite stack of hitters and, therefore, didn't have quite as much protection behind him as Manny Machado or Juan Soto, for example.
If you add enough solid additions around Patrick Wisdom in the lineup, he is a guy that will put up 30 HRs regardless of sabermetrics and advanced analytics. However, this chicken or feathers approach can leave much to be desired when you find someone who does the same with better numbers in other categories. Wisdom has incredible pop in his bat, specifically against LHP. But other than that, there's a lot to go over. Let's go ahead and analyze the difference between the two players.
Assuming we're talking about a platoon here, with either Wisdom or Drury seeing the majority of at-bats against LHP, let's start there. Against southpaws in 2022, Wisdom carried a .250/.336/.556 slash and marks of a .306 ISO, .328 BABIP, .380 wOBA and 147 wRC+. Great numbers on paper. He hits lefties hard and you can't really debate that, even if the batting average is lower than you want it to be. Flipping to Drury though, you start to see a dramatic difference.
Against lefties, Drury's line this year was .299/.329/.626, coupled with a .327 ISO, .344 BABIP, .403 wOBA and a 160 wRC+. Though he struck out 27.7% of the time against LHP, it's a better mark than Wisdom's 35.5%. Against RHP, Drury still slashed a respectable enough .248/.317/.439 with a much lower 20.1% strikeout rate. Flipping back, Wisdom's line against righties was underwhelming at .191/.285/.380 and 33.8 K%.
Read into the park factors of GAB vs. Petco Park as much as you'd like, but keep in mind Wrigley Field was also ranked 6th this year in hitter-friendly parks itself. Therefore, if Drury was only effective because of playing in Cincinnati, then nearly the same level of success must be assumed in Chicago, making him an excellent addition to the lineup. Drury is listed as a 3B, 2B, and OF on baseball-reference but also spent 30 games at first base this season with an errorless 1.000% fielding percentage. His versatility and elite numbers as a platoon option surprise me that he hasn't been more of a target the Cubs aren't hot on the trails of. Hopefully, this is one that Jed is keeping close to the chest.