Chicago Cubs need Nico Hoerner as everyday second baseman
Chicago Cubs: Hoerner at the keystone is the icing on the cake
Hoerner is, unequivocally, the Cubs best option defensively at second base, unless they’re going to move Baez there inexplicably. Take, for instance, the botched rundown in Saturday’s game. Granted, the infielders playing should have been able to get an out in the rundown, especially once Baez had the ball and an errand runner in his sights.
However, once Lorenzo Cain saw Kipnis was involved, he knew he could deke him and stay in that rundown longer. Would he have been able to with a quicker Hoener? Doubtful.
We can’t replay the play with Hoerner inserted, but we do know Hoerner’s sprint speed is in the 87th percentile in baseball and the fastest on the Cubs, whereas Kipnis is in the 50th percentile. Enough said there?
In addition to a foot speed advantage, Hoerner has a knack for getting his bat on the ball, something this lineup has struggled to find for years with myriad talented guys who also whiff a ton (not to mention, Kipnis has a whiff percentage in the 76th percentile in baseball). After Hoerner’s single in the third inning on Friday night, he barreled up a 96 mph inside fastball with two strikes (from Woodruff) and turned it into a 98 mph bullet two-hopper to Orlando Arcia in the fifth inning. He then crushed a 101 mph laser that Cain turned into a 393 foot out in front of the wall in straight away center to end the seventh.
The kid uses the middle of the field, gets his barrel on the ball, and isn’t afraid of the moment. He’s a ballplayer, and he’s the best all-around second baseman the Cubs can put out there right now. Grandpa Rossy just needs to let him keep those keys for good.
While one game isn’t the end of the world in the grand scheme of things, let’s just hope that Ross has Hoerner penciled in for the vast majority of the 58 remaining- the Cubs are just flat out better with him on that lineup card.