The Chicago Cubs have been inconsistent on offense since the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season and it is tied to the boom or bust structure of their current lineup. If the Cubs’ lineup is not hitting home runs, then there is a strong chance that they are striking out.
That has been the case for the Cubs for much of the past three seasons. With the Cubs at the beginning of the end for their current core of players, there has been a realization made that the team is in need of more contact hitters.
That is one of the reasons why Nico Hoerner should remain with the Major League team for the rest of the regular season. Hoerner was recalled from the Cubs’ alternate site last Thursday in place of an injured Joc Pederson.
Albeit a small sample size, Hoerner is making the case for why he should be the Cubs’ everyday second baseman. Through 13 plate appearances, Hoerner has a slash line of .444/.615/.778 with 3 doubles. Obviously, over the course of a full regular season, those numbers will regress to the mean.
What has been most important regarding Hoerner’s presence with the Cubs is that he is making contact in a lineup that is in desperate need of a contact hitter. Hoerner has a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .667 with only 3 strikeouts in his first 13 plate appearances this season. Furthermore, when a pitch is thrown in the strike zone, Hoerner is making contact with the ball 84.6% of the time.
Even though Hoerner, short of Pederson, was the best offensive player in Spring Training for the Cubs, the team ultimately decided to open the season with a semi-platoon at second base between David Bote and Eric Sogard. Neither Bote nor Sogard is off to starts that would warrant them being the permanent second baseman for the team. The sample we saw from Hoerner during the Cubs’ weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers is enough to warrant him getting an extended look at second base for the Cubs.
The reason why Hoerner did not start the season was that the team wanted the second baseman to work on his offensive approach. In other words, the Cubs did not want to start the clock on his Major League service time.
The argument over Major League Service team is such an outdated debate. In 2015, the Cubs manipulated the service time clock of Kris Bryant for the mere purpose of having control over Bryant for the 2021 season. It is now 2021 and there is a relatively strong chance that Bryant is traded by the end of July. Meaning the Cubs fought so hard to keep Bryant for an extra year only to wind up likely trading the third baseman.
Forget manipulating Major League service time. Forget wanting Hoerner to fix his offensive approach. Nico Hoerner is one of the best contact hitters in the Cubs’ organization. For a team that is in desperate need of contact at the Major League level, the Chicago Cubs need to keep Hoerner with the Major League roster.