Chicago Cubs need Nico Hoerner as everyday second baseman

Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Nico Hoerner (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Hoerner can do it all

While it would be nice to do the baby steps thing with the 23-year-old and let him watch Jason Kipnis drive the Shelby around the block a few times, the guy was already tossed into the fire in the middle of a pennant race last September, taking over for an All-Star and MVP candidate at one of the most pivotal positions in the game.

He handled that, and he can handle being the everyday guy now. If he’s starting on Opening Night against Brandon Woodruff, why wouldn’t he start against Corbin Burnes the next day? They’re both right-handers who throw hard, right?

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To be fair, this isn’t an indictment of Kipnis or his ability- it’s 100% an endorsement of Hoerner. Kipnis was 1-4 with a double on Saturday and he’s been a good MLB player. However, he’s 33, has lost a step on defense, and he hasn’t had an excellent offensive year since the Cubs saw him in the World Series in 2016 (wRC+ under 89 each of the last three seasons). He is left-handed, but so is Daniel Descalso. If they want to keep one veteran left-handed-hitting second baseman, keep Kipnis on the bench and send Descalso packing. Just don’t promise him much time.

The added bonus of Hoerner playing second base is that he’s a shortstop playing there; remember when Addison Russell and Javier Baez played second? Yeah, they were excellent there because your shortstop is your best fielder, and putting a stud shortstop at second means you have great hands, range, and a cannon at the keystone. Putting two shortstops up the middle maybe sort of won a lot of these guys some rings a few years back, right?