Chicago Cubs: Who will handle second base this season?

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Here are some of the favorites for the job

On Sept. 9, a fresh-faced 22-year-old Nico Hoerner made his big league debut for the Cubs.

Playing mostly shortstop in the place of the injured Baez, Hoerner exploded onto the scene as an everyday guy in the lineup slashing .317/.364/.512 in his first 10 games with the Cubs. Nico-mania peaked Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 when he piled up seven RBI and a pair of home runs in a two-game stretch.

Like most prospects that get off to hot starts, Hoerner came back down to earth once he had compiled enough plate appearances for teams to gather a thorough scouting report on him. Like most young players, he struck out too much and didn’t walk enough in his early days with the Cubs as he adjusted to pitching at the MLB level. What didn’t regress was his fielding. He tallied just two errors in 168 1/3 innings while showing a knack for making highlight-level plays with the glove.

With the defensive chops to handle shortstop, defensively the transition to second would be fairly seamless.

If Vegas had odds for Opening Day starters at each position (they probably do somewhere, right?), Bote would probably have the second-highest odds at second base out of all Cubs players.

Last summer, he signed a team-friendly contract that will keep him in Chicago through 2024. He’s only 26 years old and has been in the Majors for just two seasons. He spent six years in the minors before finally breaking into the league.

Bote is the team’s Swiss Army knife in the infield. He’s been solid as a professional at multiple positions, is solid but certainly not spectacular with the bat, and probably doesn’t have Hoerner’s ceiling. But if Bote winds up as the Cubs’ Opening Day second baseman, it wouldn’t be an egregious move.