Chicago Cubs: Checking in on the Cubs top 5 hitting prospects

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Cubs selected Hoerner in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Stanford. He has the potential to be a starter sooner than later.

The Chicago Cubs drafted Nico Hoerner with the 24th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The Stanford shortstop was a two-time All Pac-12 member in both 2017 and 2018. After being drafted, Hoerner split the 2018 season between three minor league affiliates. He was initially assigned to the Arizona Fall League to get his feet wet, but played in just three games and slashed 0.250/0.400/0.500 with one double, one triple and one run-batted-in.

From there, he was assigned to Class-A short-season Eugene. Hoerner played in just seven games with the Emeralds and slashed 0.318/0.464/0.545 to go along with one home-run, two runs-batted-in, and four stolen bases. That was enough for him to be sent to Class-A South Bend. However, he only played in four games for South Bend before suffering a season-ending elbow injury, diving for a ball. Hoerner did play in the Arizona Fall League, slashing 0.337/0.362/0.506 in 21 games while hitting one home-run and 11 runs-batted-in. He also had four doubles and four triples.

Hoerner was assigned to Double-A Tennessee to start the 2019 season. Through eight games this season, he is slashing 0.214/0.353/0.286 with four runs-batted-in and six base on balls. It’s been an extremely small sample size to go off of, but scouts love his hand-eye coordination, both at the plate and in the field. He is not a guy that is going to hit more than a handful of home runs per season, but he does show the ability to drive the ball to all areas of the field (via

"Hoerner excels at putting the bat on the ball, thanks to his uncanny hand-eye coordination, compact right-handed swing and controlled approach. Though he hit just three homers in three years at Stanford, he has strong hands and has driven the ball in his short history with wood bats. He has the sneaky power to hit 15 homers per season, not to mention the patience to draw walks and the solid to plus speed to steal bases. Though he has the quickness and athleticism for shortstop, scouts are mixed on his ability to stay there. His instincts and reliability stand out more than his range or arm at shortstop, so he may be better suited for second base and has drawn comparisons to Ian Kinsler. His tools also should allow him to play the outfield if needed."

Hoerner has played shortstop his career, but as scouts have noted, he could potentially be moved if the Cubs want his bat in the lineup. He is projected to reach the majors in 2020, likely splitting time between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, assuming all goes well.