TCN 2016 Cards Prospect #24: Patrick Wisdom

Passed over for the 40-man roster and in the Rule 5 Draft, Wisdom has another year to show his stuff, this time at Triple-A.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile

School: St. Mary’s College (California)

2015 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
27 3B 08,27,91 6-2 210 R R 2012 1s

Selected 2015 stats

Spr 0.237 0.283 414 51 98 20 14 61 35 107 11 0.316 0.294 0.406 0.699
AFL 0.237 0.250 93 15 22 6 4 21 4 17 3 0.318 0.268 0.452 0.720

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (27): During the community vote, Patrick Wisdom finished as the 27th highest rated player. Wisdom received a lot of support early in the vote from freshjmm in the early 20’s. Wisdom is a curious player as his AFL stint seemed to push him up the vote despite his lackluster regular season.

Desmetlax12 gave a nice detailed post about Wisdom. He stated that he could support Wisdom due to positive reports about his defense at 3B. In addition, he can back Wisdom since he has shown a little bit of power. Some reasons he couldn’t fully get behind Wisdom was due to his sup-par plate discipline and because he is getting older and running out of time to show something. - Jeremy Byrd

Derek Shore (29): Wisdom has been one of the organization's most polarizing prospects since the Cardinals nabbed him as a supplemental first-rounder in 2012. That is not to say he will not contribute at the big league level, but he has yet to show enough consistency over the course of a full season to be an everyday third baseman.

However, Wisdom improved moderately thanks to offensive strategist coach George Greer. Wisdom admitted it was a great help in getting away from the everyday grind for ten days and focus solely on his hitting approach and the mental aspects. That break, in May, benefited his defense after mental lapses in 2014.

Wisdom has that wow-factor about his defensive ability, a carrying tool of his. He possesses one of top infield arms in the Cardinals system with better accuracy and has the potential to be a game-changer at the hot corner with exceptional quickness to his left and right. Though, the word 'consistency' factors in at times as he has shown to try to do too much in the field before.

As a hitter, Wisdom has obvious above-average power potential, especially pull-side and he can drive it to deep center as well, which strikes fear in teams in how to defend him. His obvious deficiency is an aggressive approach that helps him hunt early in the counts but affects him when chasing breaking pitches out of the strike zone as his command of the strike zone is exposed.

"I call him Wiz (Patrick Wisdom), but when I see him taking breaking balls out of the zone, I know he’s going to have good days," Springfield hitting coach Erik Pappas told the Double-A Cardinals radio broadcast. "His biggest weakness is plate discipline.

"When you talk about tools in a ballplayer, Wiz has got them all, strong body, great arm, runs very well, got power to all fields, he’s still young, things look good for him, and once he puts it together, he could be quite a force."

Wisdom did not fare well in the Arizona Fall League, but received regular time and left his mark with an AFL Prospect Team nod as voted on by his peers.

"I was very impressed with his professionalism. Understands his swing, he is mechanically sound," said Surprise Saguaros hitting coach Bobby Rose of the Texas Rangers. "He is able to make adjustments and has some pretty good power. I think over time, when his command of the strike zone improves, he will become a more dangerous hitter. I enjoyed working with him."

Can Wisdom find an acceptable balance between strikeouts and home runs?

"That's the magic question that comes up with guys who have the potential that Patrick has,” Rose said. “I believe in him, so I think he will learn to take what the pitcher gives him, and that will make him a complete hitter not with just power, but his average will improve."

If he can find a fair balance in that department coupled with the consistent defense, then Wisdom is a regular third baseman, no doubt. If not, the fallback is a platoon player with power, good glove and a great deal of strikeouts. One scout said Wisdom has average power, but doesn’t think he can even hit .230 without cheating for his pitch. Hopefully, the third baseman will build off his experience in Double-A and light the Pacific Coast League on fire in 2016.

Brian Walton (18): The relative rankings would seem to indicate that I am the flag-carrier for Wisdom, but that is not the case. It isn’t that I have an overly-optimistic view of his potential, though I admit that his proximity to the majors at a thin position across the Cardinals organization was at least a consideration.

Maybe I am just slow to react to the leveling off of a player who was ranked in TCN’s top 20 for two years before now sliding into the third 10 for the second consecutive year.

The reality, however, is something else. When I prepared my rankings, the top 10 came pretty easy. The next five felt ok, but after that, I was considerably less sure about any of them compared to what their rankings would seem to indicate. Wisdom remains in my top 20 primarily because no one has knocked him out.

If has been that kind of an up and down year for the 24-year-old. Coming off a .215 debut over the full 2014 season at Springfield, Wisdom’s 2015 began with him being passed over for major league spring training camp. It said more given that he had been invited the year before despite having just 25 games of experience at high-A at the time.

Instead of burning down the Texas League in his second year at the level, Wisdom was struggling so badly through April (.159, one home run, 5 RBI) that the organization made a very unusual move. He was pulled out of Double-A and returned to Florida for two weeks of individualized instruction in May.

The lessons took hold as Wisdom had a great month of June (.307/7/23), following which the organization seemed delighted to name him their Player of the Month. However, he could not sustain it, as Wisdom fell back into bad habits. He batted .211 with fewer home runs and the same RBI over the final two full months of the season combined compared to his June output.

During that time, the Cardinals made the decision to send Wisdom to the Arizona Fall League as their priority player. He had good days and bad ones, but never got hot for an extended period. Wisdom participated in the league’s Hitting Challenge, the Fall Stars Game (all-star contest) and was named to at least one All-AFL team. The right-handed batter logged 21 RBI in 24 games but hit just .237, same as with Springfield during the regular season.

When push came to shove, Wisdom did not show enough to earn a 40-man roster spot. The Cardinals’ decision was supported when he went unclaimed in the Rule 5 Draft. None of the other 29 organizations could see an immediate spot for him in the Major Leagues, either.

Despite his strong defense, it is hard to envision how Wisdom could knock Matt Carpenter out of a job anytime soon – unless he turns a corner with his hitting and stays there. A third base-only reserve would be a roster luxury few MLB teams can afford, so where would that leave him? One positive is that Wisdom played some first base in the desert for the first time as a professional.

In all likelihood, not being selected in the Rule 5 was probably the best thing for Wisdom’s development. Now, he will have the entire 2016 season with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds to try to gain that elusive consistency at the plate.

Our 2016 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

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