Nico Hoerner was the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2018.
So far in his professional career, the thing he’s done most is be injured. He missed much of 2018 with injuries after playing just a few games for South Bend. He did well in the Arizona Fall League, and then wowed Cubs fans and management alike by going 8-for-17 with three doubles, two triples and a home run in 14 big-league spring training games this March.
Which makes this report very interesting:
With Baez out and Addison beaned, look for Cubs to call up Nico Hoerner to help fill gap at short. Cubs' top pick last year, Nico hit .284 at Double-A Tenn.— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) September 9, 2019
Hoerner also missed quite a bit of time with injuries this year as well. He played in just 70 games (half the season) for Double-A Tennessee, plus five “rehab” games for a Cubs rookie league team in Mesa. Overall in the minor leagues this year: .292/.349/.403 in 315 plate appearances.
A callup of Hoerner would likely mean that Javier Baez will be missing most of the rest of the season, as well as Addison Russell heading to the seven-day concussion list. Russell was being evaluated for concussion symptoms after being hit in the face Sunday.
Adding Hoerner to the 40-man roster would require a move, as the 40-man is now full. I’d guess Randy Rosario would probably be expendable at this point, as if the Cubs wanted him around, they’d likely have recalled him this month. One other option would be to recall minor leaguer Justin Steele, who’s been out since May, and put him on the 60-day injured list. If the Cubs did that, though, they’d have to pay Steele three weeks’ worth of a major-league salary. At this point in the season, that would be about $65,000. The Cubs are close enough to the third luxury tax level that $65,000 might make a difference.
Hoerner showed he could hang in there with big-league pitching in spring training, though of course that’s an entirely different scenario than being asked to play in a pennant race.
As always, we await developments.
UPDATE: Here’s a development. Looks like this is happening.
Nico Hoerner has been called up by Cubs @PWSullivan 1st mentioned likelihood— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) September 9, 2019
There will be another post later when the 40-man move is announced.