3 Cubs players who are scorching hot and 1 who's ice cold
By Jake Misener
The Chicago Cubs enter Sunday's series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a chance to split the four-game set, even after the bullpen imploded on Thursday night, costing the team a win.
Taking three of four would have obviously been a more preferable outcome, but early in the year, just keeping your head above water gives you a chance to stay in the conversation - and that's what Chicago has done to this point, going 12-8 in its first 20 games.
There have been a ton of standout performances already this year - as well as some that might have made Cubs fans crack an extra Old Style to get through the game. But as this series with the Dodgers wraps up Sunday and the club gets ready to welcome the Padres to town, let's look at 3 Cubs who are playing well and 1 who has certainly seen better days.
3 Cubs who are hot and 1 who's not: HOT - Nico Hoerner continues to do it all
Nico Hoerner has reached base in 19 of the Cubs' first 20 ballgames, putting up a 147 wRC+ and either leading the league or tying for the league lead in multiple offensive categories. On the heels of his three-year extension that covered his final two years of arbitraton and bought out his first year of free agency, Hoerner is playing like the cornerstone the Cubs believe him to be.
The former first-rounder has taken full advantage of the league's new rules, using his speed and athleticism to swipe an MLB-best nine bases already - and has even homered twice in the last two games, raising his slugging percentage to .489 on the young season.
There's really been no knocks against Hoerner so far. He's put the bat on the ball like he always has, continued to play top-tier defense at second, giving Chicago an elite double play combination alongside Dansby Swanson and finally laying the Cubs' leadoff question to bed. It's been all aces for Hoerner and there can be no question: he's setting himself up for a breakout season.