Somehow, everyone keeps overlooking Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner turned in a fantastic first half of the 2022 season. Unfortunately, like most players, when playing for a bad team, he’s not talked about most of the time.

This season, the former first-rounder is hitting .307 with nine steals, 84 hits and a solid .976 fielding percentage. This is the type of player the Cubs hoped to see when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took him the MLB Draft out of Stanford back in 2018.

However, no one outside of the local media seems to be paying any attention to Hoerner. Is it because he is on a bad team? I personally do not think so. Players like Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Juan Soto are still talked about, and are also on very bad teams. Yes, Trout, Ohtani and Soto are bigger names than Hoerner, but Hoerner has MLB’s 13th-best batting average, fifth-best in the National League.

Hoerner has near-identical numbers to White Sox star shortstop, Tim Anderson. Anderson was an All-Star, and maybe if the Cubs were better, Hoerner would have received more support in balloting for the Midsummer Classic.

  • Hoerner: 3.1 bWAR / 115 OPS+ / .344 OBP
  • Anderson: 1.6 bWAR / 118 OPS+ / .351 OBP

It’s easy to see that, particularly defensively, Hoerner has the edge over Anderson given they have similar offensive production but Hoerner’s been worth almost double his crosstown counterpart using bWAR.

Cubs: Nico Hoerner is quickly becoming one of the game’s best shortstops

Hoerner has just seven errors on the year (for what it’s worth, Javier Baez has 11) and ranks in the 99th percentile in outs above average, according to Statcast. As I noted, Baez has the fourth-most errors among shortstops. Hoerner’s fielding percentage is .976, whereas Baez’s is .967. Trading Baez was the best thing for the Cubs (especially when you consider what Pete Crow-Armstrong has done this year in the minors), and especially a great thing for Hoerner.

Players with numbers like those of Hoerner, no matter what team they are on, should be talked about more, and every general baseball fan should know those names, just like they know Trout, Ohtani, Judge, Soto, and many more.

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As long as he can stay healthy, between Chicago’s standout shortstop, Morel, Seiya Suzuki, and  prospects like Brennen Davis, Cristian Hernandez, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Caleb Kilian, this team has a very promising upside, with Nico Hoerner leading the way.