Nico Hoerner may have solved the Chicago Cubs' leadoff woes
Prior to the beginning of the 2023 season, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross confirmed that the contact-hitting second baseman Nico Hoerner would be the team's leadoff hitter at least for the beginning of the season. This has been a successful move so far as Hoerner has taken the assignment and ran with it (literally).
The 25-year-old Hoerner has started in all 14 games so far and hit leadoff in each of them. Through his first 60 at-bats, Hoerner has 20 hits, 13 runs scored, a .333 batting average, .385 on-base percentage and he is tied for first in MLB with an impressive 8 stolen bases. These are encouraging numbers, especially given the struggle bus it's been for this team to have a solid leadoff man at the top of the lineup. Hoerner has great speed, contact hitting abilities and he's getting on base at an outstanding rate.
The speed factor is perhaps the most important thing to have at the top of the lineup, and Hoerner is leading a league-wide charge into a seemingly new era of base stealing. With larger bases, limits on pitchers throwing to first base, and the pitch clock all in place for the first time, stolen bases across the league (347) are more than double where they were at this time last year (133). If Hoerner can continue swiping bags at this rate, he could be the first Cub in over ten years to have 30 stolen bases in a season.
And he isn't the only one with speed, as the Cubs have several players with above-average base running abilities like Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki. All of those hitters have been consistently featured toward the top of Ross's lineups so far so there is potential for multiple guys to put up double-digit stolen bases this year.