Nico Hoerner puts together an impressive MLB debut performance for the shortstop-needy Cubs
Hoerner recorded three hits and four RBI against the Padres
This past week has not been kind to the shortstop portion of the Chicago Cubs' depth chart. On Sunday, Addison Russell departed their loss against the Milwaukee Brewers after . Russell's exit came just a few days after the Cubs lost All-Star Javier Baez . Baez or Russell had started at short in 141 of the Cubs' 142 games. Add in an injury Triple-A shortstop Dixon Machado, and the Cubs needed to get creative in order to complete their lineup.
That creativity manifested on Monday in the form of prospect Nico Hoerner, who was promoted to the Show without having so much as taken a swing against Triple-A pitching. It didn't matter -- Hoerner became the ninth Cubs player to record three hits in his debut, taking it to the San Diego Padres as part of a four-RBI effort.
The Cubs' first-round pick in 2018, Hoerner had hit .284/.344/.399 in 70 Double-A games. He may have reached Triple-A this year were it not for injuries. Nonetheless, he was expected to make his big-league debut sometime next year. Now, he's the first player from the '18 draft to play in the majors.
Hoerner, ranked as the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, projects to have four average or better tools, according to MLB.com's scouting report. That includes a plus hit tool -- the ability to produce a high batting average -- and above-average speed. The report notes that he may end up at second base in the long run, though he's praised for instincts and intelligence -- perhaps unsurprisingly, given his Stanford education.
The Cubs sure hope Hoerner continues to take to the majors quickly. Chicago is currently attempting to stave off all comers for the second wild card spot in the National League.
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