The Cubs got quick returns on their first-round investments in college hitters in 2013-15 with Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ, and it appears they will again after going back to that demographic for the first time in three years. Since signing for $2,724,000 as the 24th overall pick in June, Hoerner has lived up to his reputation as one of the best hitters in the 2018 Draft class. He has handled every challenge Chicago has given him, including an Arizona Fall League assignment last offseason and a promotion to Double-A to start his first full season, slowed only by strained left elbow ligaments last summer and a hairline fracture of his left wrist after getting hit by a pitch this April.
Hoerner excels at putting the bat on the ball, thanks to his uncanny hand-eye coordination, compact right-handed swing and controlled approach. Though he hit just three homers in three years at Stanford, he has strong hands and has driven the ball in his short history with wood bats. He has the sneaky power to hit 15 homers per season, not to mention the patience to draw walks and the solid to plus speed to steal bases.
Though he has the quickness and athleticism for shortstop, scouts are mixed on his ability to stay there. His instincts and reliability stand out more than his range or arm at shortstop, so he may be better suited for second base and has drawn comparisons to Ian Kinsler. His tools also should allow him to play the outfield if needed.
Statcast - Batting
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Chicago Cubs selected the contract of SS Nico Hoerner from Tennessee Smokies.
SS Nico Hoerner assigned to Mesa Solar Sox.
Tennessee Smokies activated SS Nico Hoerner from the 7-day injured list.
Tennessee Smokies sent SS Nico Hoerner on a rehab assignment to AZL Cubs 2.
Tennessee Smokies placed SS Nico Hoerner on the 7-day injured list retroactive to April 24, 2019.
SS Nico Hoerner assigned to Tennessee Smokies from South Bend Cubs.
SS Nico Hoerner assigned to Chicago Cubs.
South Bend Cubs activated SS Nico Hoerner from the 7-day injured list.
South Bend Cubs placed SS Nico Hoerner on the 7-day disabled list.
SS Nico Hoerner assigned to South Bend Cubs from Eugene Emeralds.
SS Nico Hoerner assigned to Eugene Emeralds from AZL Cubs 1.