Chicago Cubs News: Nico Hoerner's solid track record at second
Nico Hoerner did not play a single inning at second base in 2022, spending the entire year at shortstop (and 1.0 inning at third). He will return to the primary position he played in 2020-2021 this coming season. It is worth noting that between 2020-2021 he played in 92 total games and has 468.1 career MLB innings at second, compared to 1,416 innings at shortstop. So while he played multiple years at second, the sample size compared to his time at shortstop is much smaller.
With that said, we can evaluate what he has done at second and project how he can potentially fare at the position in the future.
From what we have seen so far, there is no reason to fear Hoerner will struggle at second. In his 468.1 MLB innings at second, he sports a career10 DRS (defensive runs saved), 3.3 UZR (ultimate zone rating), 7.1 UZR/100, 14 OAA (outs above average), and .986 fielding percentage. In 2021, his 11.3 UZR/100 was the second-highest among all second basemen to play at least 200 innings.
One might remember the spectacular diving play he made that year against the Nationals to save multiple runs from scoring.
To some this data all up, he was good. Hoerner is a really good athlete and his defensive abilties have given him the opportunity to play multiple positions. Though, the outfield brief experiment days are likely over. It's reasonable to trust Hoerner to go back to second. His success at the position, while not a huge sample size, made the move to get Dansby Swanson an easy call.
This will be the first opportunity for Hoerner to play a true full year at second, seeing as 2020 was a 60-game season and he spent a larger chunk of 2021 injured. It will be fun to watch him and Swanson play up the middle in the future.