Fans voted Nico Hoerner, the Chicago Cubs’ top draft pick in 2018, into the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game after a standout showing.
Chicago Cubs 2018 first-round draft pick Nico Hoerner’s first professional season was cut short due to injury. Three months later, he has more than made up for the lost time.
Wednesday, MLB announced that fans voted Hoerner, 21, into this weekend’s “Fall Stars Game.” First played in 2006, the Fall Stars Game features marquee players from the Arizona Fall League.
The Cubs selected Hoerner 24th overall in the first round of the MLB Draft back in June. According to MLB.com, he is the Cubs’ sixth-ranked prospect. He played in just 14 minor league games this season before straining ligaments in his elbow, however.
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Hoerner is the only 2018 draft pick participating in the league. This, combined with his short minor league season following his elbow injury, makes him being voted into the game quite remarkable.
Despite these two potential roadblocks, Hoerner is faring quite well in AFL action. In 14 games, he’s hitting .350 with one home run, eight RBI and an .842 OPS. He’s also struck out 15 times compared to just two walks, though.
For the sake of comparison, Hoerner hit .327 with two home runs, six RBI and a 1.021 OPS in his brief 14-game minor league season. He played three games with the Arizona League Cubs, seven with Low-A Eugene and four with Single-A South Bend.
Hoerner’s injury occurred at a time where he was arguably playing the best ball of his still-young professional career. He hit safely in all four games with South Bend (6-for-15 [.400]) with a 1.137 OPS.
Hoerner is not the first Cubs’ prospect to play in the game. In 2016, Eloy Jimenez played, as did Gleyber Torres. However, Torres, who the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman, was a former-Cub at this point.
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Numerous Cubs prospects were selected to play in the game in 2015, including Willson Contreras, Corey Black and Jeimer Candelario. Corey Black is the only one of those three never to make it to the big leagues with the Cubs.