Look. I get that there are a lot of stupid baseball fans out there - so I couldn't get too upset over MLB Network's fan vote for the top 10 second basemen in the game, even though Cubs Gold Glover Nico Hoerner was completely absent.
But when MLB Network put out its own rankings and Hoerner barely squeaked in at #10, that's where I have to draw the line. It's a slap in the face to a guy who has proven himself as one of the best defensive players in the game - and it's not like he's a slouch at the dish, either.
I can't argue a whole lot with the top 5; but I think you could make a case for Hoerner at #5 and Marte at #6 if you really wanted to. It's the crop of young, largely unproven, players on the back half of the list ahead of Hoerner that really had me fired up.
Cubs 2B Nico Hoerner hasn't yet gained national notoriety for his work
Last season, Hoerner ranked third in baseball among primary second basemen in fWAR, trailing only Mookie Betts and Marcus Semien. Matt McLain had an outstanding rookie season for the Reds and will be a key contributor for that team again in 2024 (and likely for years to come), but as impressive as he was, it marked his first taste of big league action. For me, personally, you have to show you can do it more than once before I pencil you in as a borderline top-5 player at your position.
Andres Gimenez has been around a few years now and, nothing against him, but if I had a choice between the Guardians infielder and Hoerner, I'm taking Hoerner every day of the week. Both are plus defenders with good speed - but I think there's more to come in Hoerner's bat. Which brings us to what I can only assume was a major factor in this decision-making process: a lack of slug in Hoerner's game.
Looking at Gimenez, McLain, Edouard Julien, Zack Gelof and Hoerner, the Chicago infielder - by a pretty wide margin with the exception of Gimenez - ranks dead last in slugging percentage. But I don't get how Hoerner checks in at #10 when he led this group in plate appearances, hits and stolen bases while also winning a Gold Glove for his defensive work.
At just 26, there's a chance Hoerner hasn't even hit his ceiling yet either. Hopefully, the Cubs can get back to contention in 2024 and their return to the national stage will help him get the recognition he deserves. Because right now, there are a lot of folks who clearly need to be put on notice when it comes to what he can do on the field.