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A Cubsmas Advent Calendar: Nico Hoerner steals

Day one celebrates one of the best surprises of the 2023 Cubs season

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs
Nico Hoerner steals second base against the Atlanta Braves in August
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Cubsmas season here at Bleed Cubbie Blue and you know I love a good pun and making sure that we reappropriate holidays to all things Cubs. To that end, this year I’ll be sharing some of my favorite surprises and treats from the 2023 Cubs season with a new series — a Cubsmas Advent Calendar.

To those who may not have experienced the joy of an Advent Calendar before, it’s basically a small treat/reward that you reveal daily as Christmas approaches. While some may point out this is a precise religious event that begins on December 3 and ends on December 24, there are many secular alternatives that celebrate different themes for different numbers of days. There are Taylor Swift Advent Calendars that span anywhere from 12 to 24 days. There are wine Advent Calendars that introduce you to a different glass of wine every day for 24 days. Last year I purchased my best friend’s dog a Wufer’s dog cookie Advent Calendar (and I have it on good authority that Kaiju was very happy with this gift).

So with all of these options I decided we Cubs fans deserved a 2023 Advent Calendar of our own. Every week day between now and Christmas Eve I’ll unveil some of the most remarkable surprises, fun developments and more that Cubs fans experienced this year. So, with no further ado (and importantly, in no particular order) let’s start with Day One.

Nico Hoerner stole HOW many bases?!

We knew the new stolen base rules would impact some players’ decisions to run more in 2023, but I admit the idea that Nico Hoerner was going to steal 43 bases in 2023 was not on my radar even a little bit.

The Cubs’ Gold Glove second baseman flashed some speed when he stole 20 bases in 135 games in 2022 — but that season honestly looked like a bit of an outlier for Nico in the broader scope of his career since he was drafted by the Cubs with the 24th overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Honestly, that 2018 season with Stanford is where you have to look if you want to see a hint of the stolen base numbers he put up in 2023. During his junior year Nico started all 57 games hitting .345 and stealing 15 bags (in addition to some other amazing numbers).

In 2023 Nico took advantage of the new stolen base rules and really hit the ground running (no pun intended). He stole 43 bags in 50 attempts. That was good for the sixth most stolen bases in baseball behind Ronald Acuña Jr., Esteury Ruiz, Corbin Carroll, Bobby Witt Jr. and CJ Abrams. It will be fascinating to see if the Cubs Gold Glove second baseman can follow-up that performance with even more stolen bases in 2024.