Cubs News: 2023 Season Predictions: Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal
Kyle Ross - USA Today Sports

Cubs News: 2023 Season Predictions: Nico Hoerner, Nick Madrigal

by - Senior Writer -

As we inch closer to the start of Spring Training and then the WBC, we continue to dive into our season projections as we remain on the right side of the infield. Today it is all about second base, and things will look a lot different over there this season.

Not only are some familiar faces back, but one with gold glove potential if he can duplicate his 2020 and 2021 defensive skills at second base. Throw in the ban of the shift, and you will see players show their overall athletic ability a lot more than in seasons past.

When it comes to the Cubs, they have two players who will see time at second base and primarily one as long as he can stay healthy. Apart from that, it could be a crap shoot as to what this team will do with 2023 rapidly approaching all of us.

Nico Hoerner

Ever since being drafted by the Cubs in 2018, Hoerner has not only been one of the hardest-working players, but one of the most beloved players in the organization. There is a reason why the front office has begun their extension talks with him, as he is the perfect player for a team like the Cubs.

After playing shortstop last season, and being an outstanding shortstop, if I must add, Hoerner will be moving back to second base, where he spent the bulk of his first three seasons in the league. Hoerner was a gold glove finalist two years ago at second base, and there is no reason to believe he won't be in the running again.

From an offensive standpoint, Hoerner had a breakout 2022, and a big reason for that was his health and being on the field. While we still don't know the offensive ceiling for him, if last season is any indication, the Cubs have a great player who deserves to be here long-term.

Prediction: 141 games, .293 average, nine homers, 46 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases

Analysis: When it comes to Hoerner, he is the definition of a contact hitter who deserves to be atop the Cubs lineup. There is an excellent possibility that he does handle the leadoff role this season, but David Ross has used him a lot out of the ninth hole, which has worked too.

Hoerner is not going to hit for a ton of power, but he makes plenty of hard contact and uses all of the fields to his advantage. This could be the best overall season he has put together if things work out how everyone expects them too.

Nick Madrigal

The biggest disappointment from last season was Madrigal and just how much of a decline he showed. While injuries played a significant role in that, it is still up to him to make adjustments, and he seemed lost from day one last season. With 2022 in the rearview, Madrigal hopes to use 2023 as a reset to round back into 2021 form.

Given his season last year, Madrigal will no longer be the starting second basemen and be thrown into a utility role or late-game replacement. However, he has been getting reps at third base during the spring workouts, showing you that David Ross is trying to find a way to get him in the lineup. There is a lot of pressure on the Cubs this season, and Madrigal has as much as anyone.

Prediction: 109 games, .303 average, one homer, 17 RBIs

Analysis: Madrigal may not start many games this season, but he will play a ton, even if it is in a limited role. Like Hoerner, Madrigal is a contact hitter and is even better at making contact than Hoerner when he is right.

He was not right last season, and that became apparent the longer the season went on. While fans may be skeptical about what he can bring to the table, there is still a ton of belief in Cubs camp that Madrigal can still be a significant part of this team.

While these will be the primary options at second, the Cubs also have Miles Mastrobouoni, David Bote, Chase Strump, and others waiting in the minor leagues to see if someone goes down. Bote and Mastrobouoni make the most sense, given their abilities to play other positions on the diamond.

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