Chicago Cubs: Nico Hoerner, SS, No.1 overall
Let us start by saying the hype is real. Following an injury to Addison Russell late in the season, Chicago decided to call on their number one overall prospect Nico Hoerner and he did not disappoint.
Hoerner was the Cubs’ first-round selection in 2018 out of the University of Stanford. Moving from Rookie ball to Double-A last year, Hoerner completely skipped Triple-A, showing why he was the right selection by Theo Epstein and company.
Seeing action in 20 games, decent sample size in its own right, Hoerner finished with a .282/.305/.436 slash line, three home runs and 17 RBI. The 22-year-old started his career on fire, recording a three-hit, four-RBI performance in his debut on the road in San Diego.
One aspect of Hoerner’s game, which stuck out was his low strikeout rate. The young right-handed hitter only struck out in 13.4 percent of his 82 at-bats. He displayed steadfast patience at the plate and posted a lowly 10.3 swinging strike percentage.
The Cubs have a vital choice to make with their current starter Russell heading into next year. There is a good chance, and maybe now an even better opportunity, they decide to cut bait with Russell altogether.
Making a move would all but solidify Javier Baez returns to his spot at second base, leaving the door open for Hoerner at shortstop. The expectation is the team will start Hoerner in the minors to begin the season, but you can’t keep a caged animal down for long, and Hoerner is the future at shortstop. Expect him to make the most significant impact of all prospects in 2020.