Nico Hoerner made a strong first impression when he was brought to the major leagues in an emergency situation last September. In 20 games he hit .282/.305/.436 with three home runs and played solid defense.
He’s been in a bit of a slump lately (0-for-12) after a strong start to the 2020 season. And, since he’s still under the number of plate appearances for rookie qualification, he’s still prospect-eligible, and Thursday MLB Pipeline listed him as their No. 56 prospect in a newly-released Top 100 prospects list.
Two other Cubs also made MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 — Brailyn Marquez (76) and Brennen Davis (86). That’s a bit better showing than last year, when some prospect lists had no Cubs at all on them.
MLB Pipeline also released a Cubs Top 30 list Thursday. After Hoerner, Marquez and Davis, the rest of their top 10 are:
4) Miguel Amaya
5) Ed Howard
6) Cole Roederer
7) Adbert Alzolay
8) Kohl Franklin
9) Ryan Jensen
10) Chase Strumpf
Interesting to see Howard, this year’s No. 1 draft pick, listed so high. I’m not certain whether that’s his talent level, or the lack of talent in the organization, or a bit of both.
Given the 28-man rosters that will be in effect the rest of the year, Hoerner is likely the only one of the top Cubs prospects who will get playing time at all this year other than in intrasquad games at the Cubs’ alternate training site in South Bend. And it’s unclear at this writing what’s going to happen to the affiliated minor leagues for 2021.
Related and also of interest: Jayson Stark of The Athletic wrote about rookie qualifications and how they might have to be pro-rated for this shortened season, and how that could potentially lead to a player being eligible to win Rookie of the Year twice. It’s an interesting read and worth your time.
In the meantime, if Nico Hoerner picks up the pace in this shortened season, he might have a chance at the 2020 NL Rookie of the Year.