Cubs' Wisdom has the numbers to be HR contest candidate

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Patrick Wisdom, left, smiles as he celebrates with teammates after scoring on a one-run single by Joc Pederson during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Chicago, Sunday, June 20, 2021.

    Chicago Cubs' Patrick Wisdom, left, smiles as he celebrates with teammates after scoring on a one-run single by Joc Pederson during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Chicago, Sunday, June 20, 2021.

 
 
Updated 6/24/2021 8:57 PM

Both Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson participated in the Home Run Derby during their rookie seasons.

Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom is technically still a rookie, even though this is the fourth year he's played in major-league games. Should Wisdom be a candidate for this year's home run contest?

 

"It's a fun experience for sure," Bryant said. "I don't know if I'd ever do it again. It's really tiring. And I only did one round, I can't imagine going the whole way. But (Wisdom) could certainly win it. That guy can really crush a ball."

Even though Wisdom played his first game for the Cubs this season on May 25, he hit his 10th home run in 27 games Tuesday against Cleveland.

Wisdom has hit a home run every 7.4 at-bats since joining the Cubs. How good is that number? The leader among qualified hitters is San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr., with a home run every 9.5 at-bats. Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani is next, finding the seats every 10.7 at-bats, followed by Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (11.3) and former Cub Kyle Schwarber (12.3).

Heading into Thursday's action, Guerrero and Ohtani led the majors in home runs with 23 each, with Tatis at 22.

So far, Ohtani has said he will compete in the Home Run Derby on July 12 in Denver. Mets first baseman Pete Alonso has said he will defend his title from 2019, while Guerrero has said he does not plan to participate, per the advice of his father.

"Ohtani's in it. That's going to be fun, because all I hear from Joe (Maddon) and Bussy (Tim Buss) over on the Angels is that this guy takes unreal batting practice," Bryant said. "So I'm looking forward to watching that. If Wizzy wants to do it, I'd love to see him in it too."

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Bryant's lone trip to the Home Run Derby was in 2015 at Cincinnati, and he lost in the first round to Albert Pujols. Pederson finished second that year to Adam Frazier. Pederson was in it again in 2019 and lost to Guerrero in the semifinals.

Hendricks halfway to milestone

Kyle Hendricks became the first National League pitcher to reach 10 wins this season when he beat Cleveland on Tuesday. Cleveland's Aaron Civale won his 10th game the previous night against the Cubs.

Is it possible Hendricks could be a 20-game winner this season? That would be an achievement, since no one has done it in the NL since Max Scherzer in 2016. Jake Arrieta's 22 wins in 2015 equals the high mark for the NL in the last 20 years, since Randy Johnson won 24 in 2002.

"Definitely is rare," Hendricks said after winning his eighth straight start. "I think the only way I've gotten to this point is by simplifying everything, just taking it one day at a time. And then when I get to pitch day, taking it one pitch at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"So the only way you're going to get there is to keep trucking along like that. Like I keep saying, I've got to stay in my same mental space, keep repeating my mechanics the way I am and just read the hitters going forward. Definitely can't get ahead of yourself."

Cubs notes

Left-handed pitcher Justin Steele (hamstring) is set to begin a rehab assignment with Iowa. ... Four Cubs farmhands combined to throw a no-hitter for Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Wednesday -- D.J. Herz, Jeremiah Estrada, Bailey Reid and Danis Correa. Earlier this season, four Iowa Cubs pitchers threw a combined no-hitter.

Kris Bryant on playing at Dodger Stadium, where the Cubs began a four-game series late Thursday: "Personally, one of my favorite places to play. I just love that stadium. You see the ball pretty good. I don't know, there's just something about being in L.A., time slows down."

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