Chicago Cubs: Nico Hoerner – SS, Tennessee Smokies
This week, Hoerner made a significant jump in MLB’s top 100 prospect ranking list. Sitting at 90th overall, Hoerner has now jumped up to number 64 on the list. The former Stanford standout has been a bright spot in the Cubs’ organization since his arrival this past summer. In just a year he has worked his way to Double-A and is eyeing another promotion soon assuming he can return healthy.
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After earning a spot at Low-A Eugene, Hoerner went on to slash .318/.464/.545 with a home run, two RBI, and four stolen bases. After just seven games Hoerner was promoted to Class-A South Bend where he put up even better numbers, slashing .400/.471/.667 with a home run and three RBI in four games.
The team felt it prudent to continue seeing what Hoerner could do, promoting him to Double-A Tennessee for the 2019 season. Thus far Hoerner has only just slashed a ridiculous .293/.388/.483 with a .403 wOBA and 161 wRC+ in his 17 games.
Right now, the big question is health. Last week, the Cubs diagnosed him with a wrist fracture – an injury that will cost him a month-plus. Knowing he’ll miss that kind of time, the rest of his season is a bit murkier than it was in the not-so-recent past.
But, if he comes back and continues to scorch opposing pitching, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Hoerner sees a late September call-up. Coming into the 2017 campaign, backup catcher Victor Caratini was the club’s sixth-ranked prospect and did see time with the big league club the same season.
The likelihood is small; however, it Hoerner can return and continue to mash, we could see Chicago pull the trigger. Wouldn’t that be fun?