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BCB After Dark: What’s on second?

The cool afterparty for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks you who will be the better Cub: Nico Hoerner or Nick Madrigal?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the World Series afterparty for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you could join us again tonight. It’s “bring-your-own-beverage” night. Please let us take your hat and coat. We’ve saved you a table in the second row. Make yourself at home.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

The World Series got underway tonight and the Braves beat the Astros, 6-2 to take a one-game-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series. It was a pyrrhic victory for the Braves, however, as starting pitcher Charlie Morton had his fibula broken by a Yuri Gurriel line drive. He’s out for the Series, obviously.

Last time I asked you for your predictions on who is going to win the World Series and the results were exactly 50-50 as exactly half of you voted for the Astros and the other half voted for the Braves. I don’t generally vote in my own polls, but if I had, the Astros would have won by one vote. I’m not cheering for either of these teams—I’m just hoping to see good baseball played by the best players in the game.

I also got some really nice feedback on my essay on Wings of Desire last night. If you end up watching the film, please stop by in a future column and tell us what you thought of it. I’d love to hear from you and I’d bet others would too.

I don’t do a full edition of BCB After Dark on Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings in order to keep my workload in check. But I always have time for a jazz tune, so tonight is pianist McCoy Tyner playing Frédéric Chopin’s “Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, no. 4.” I’ve presented jazz artists taking pop songs and making their own before, but here’s an example of a jazz great taking a piece of classical piano music and making it his own.

This is from 1995 with Joshua Redmond on tenor saxophone, Antonio Hart on alto saxophone, Christian McBride on bass and Marvin Smith on drums.

Tonight’s baseball question has to do with the Cubs’ two second baseman. More specifically, I’m asking “Who will have the better career with the Cubs, Nico Hoerner or Nick Madrigal?”

Both Hoerner and Madrigal are from Northern California: Hoerner is from Oakland and Madrigal is from the south suburbs of Sacramento. They played against each other in youth baseball and they played against each other in the Pac-12: Hoerner at Stanford and Madrigal at Oregon State. They were both first-round picks in the 2018 MLB Draft—Hoener went 24th to the Cubs and Madrigal was the 4th pick in the draft by the White Sox. They’re both 24 years old. And now they are teammates.

Also, both players are second basemen. Yes, I know that some think that Hoerner can play shortstop and I agree—he can play shortstop. I just strongly believe that it’s not the best use of his talents.

In any case, I’m not asking you to weigh in on that. I’m asking you that when we look back in ten years, which player is going to have the better career with the Cubs? Hoerner has 112 games for the Cubs already and has a career 2.0 bWAR. More of his value has come from his defense than his bat so far, but that is mostly because Hoerner had a miserable season at the plate in 2020. When he wasn’t injured, Hoerner hit much better in 2021.

Madrigal has yet to take the field for the Cubs, but he’s played 83 career games for the White Sox and has a career bWAR of 1.7. Unlike Hoerner, almost all of that value comes from Madrigal’s bat.

As far as I can tell, Madrigal has one extra year of control, but don’t quote me on that. A lot of that is going to depend on the language of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, in any case.

So who is it? Who will end up being the better player when their Cubs career is over: Hoerner or Madrigal? If you think that they’re both second baseman and one is going to get traded, then your answer is simple. You pick the one you think the Cubs won’t trade. Otherwise, you’re going to have to predict which one is going to be the better player, although Hoerner does have a bit of a head start in the “Cubs career” portion of the question.

I’m not giving any neutral choice. No one is going to hold you to your vote in ten years, so make a prediction now. Who will be the better Cub? Hoerner or Madrigal?


Who will have the better career as a Cub?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Nico Hoerner
    (67 votes)
  • 60%
    Nick Madrigal
    (103 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll have someone bring your car around. Be sure to tip your waitstaff. I hope you’ll stop by again tomorrow for another edition of BCB After Dark.