Multiple reports have the Cubs officially signing their first-round draft pick, shortstop Nico Hoerner from Stanford. Jon Heyman appears to have had it first and the Heyman reports that Hoerner agreed to a slot bonus of $2,724,000.
This news should come as no surprise as it has been rumored for over a week and because the Cubs would not have selected him with their first pick if they had not been 100% confident that Hoerner would sign for the amount of money they were able to offer him. The deal was reportedly delayed for a very good reason: the Cubs wanted him to finish his final exams at Stanford before finalizing any deal.
Hoerner will start the season with the Eugene Emeralds, although it’s not clear if he will play a game or two in Mesa before heading out. Per that Patrick Mooney Tweet, he will spend at least a few days at the Cubs complex before going to Eugene, so he probably won’t make his Northwest League debut until this weekend at the earliest.
Hoerner is an offensive-minded middle infielder with the tools to stick at shortstop, even if his best and perhaps ultimate position will be second base. His biggest offensive tool at the moment is his terrific ability to make contact and put the ball into play. He struck out just 22 times in 232 at-bats for the Cardinal and he walked 20 times. His power potential is the subject of much controversy. He didn’t hit for much power at Stanford, but some scouts thought he showed good power with wooden bats in the summer Cape Cod League.
The Cubs expect to announce many more signings over the next few days.