Cubs News: Welcome Back Nico Hoerner
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Cubs News: Welcome Back Nico Hoerner

by - Staff Writer -

Nico Hoerner is back from his stint on the injured list, and coincidentally, the Cubs broke their five-game losing streak with a 10-1 defeat of the reigning National League Champions.

The Cubs' second basement was put on the injured list retroactively to May 8th for an injury suffered against St. Louis, and the Cubs went 2-6 in the games that Hoerner missed with his injury. The Cubs scored 20 runs in those games that were lost without Hoerner — losing three of the six games by one or two runs and then pouring on ten runs against the Phillies in his return, in what felt like more runs than they had ever scored in his absence.

Hoerner's IL stint was noticeable just because of how impactful he had been to start the season. Hoerner has just one error on the season at second base and has set the tone for the Cubs lineup with a .310 average and 25 runs scored, 23 runs batted in, and a team-leading 12 stolen bases already. Despite missing eight games, Hoerner still leads the Cubs in average, steals, hits, and RBIs and is second in runs scored.

He has been such a table setter in the Cubs lineup and a welcome answer to the Cubs' leadoff question that has been left unfilled since Dexter Fowler departed after the 2016 World Series Win.

Nick Madrigal hit an abysmal .150 in five games as the Cubs' leadoff man in Hoerner's absence, and the overall numbers were a weak 10-39 during Hoerner's stint on the injured list, lifted only thanks to Christopher Morel's hot start to his 2023 campaign at the big league level.

Hoerner's return makes the Cubs a much better team.

The biggest reason why is Christopher Morel, who was tearing up the minor leagues to open the season, came up to the big leagues right before Hoerner officially went on the shelf — and Morel has clubbed seven homers in ten games and earned a spot on the team even with Hoerner's return. This gives the Cubs more firepower, and with Hoerner at the leadoff spot, that is firepower that can excel in different spots in the lineup.

Once Cody Bellinger returns from his injury, the Cubs' lineup could look like this:

Nico Hoerner 2B

Dansby Swanson SS

Ian Happ LF

Cody Bellinger CF

Seiya Suzuki RF

Patrick Wisdom DH/3B

Yan Gomes C

Matt Mervis 1B

Christopher Morel 3B/DH

With a bench of: Trey Mancini, Tucker Barhart/Miguel Amaya, Nick Madrigal/Miles Mastrobuoni, Mike Tauchman/Edwin Rios/ Nelson Velazquez

Without a doubt better than seeing the likes of Eric Hosmer, Luis Torrens, Edwin Rios, Nick Madrigal, and others taking at-bats away from Matt Mervis and Christopher Morel, who has proven to be a spark in the lineup — much like the return of Nico Hoerner was on Friday.

Hoerner was one of the league's best shortstops a year ago and maintained a solid average throughout the entire season — and the year before, Hoerner was a finalist for the Gold Glove award at second base.

With the addition of Swanson, Hoerner now has some protection in the lineup and is one of the league's best second basemen. The Stanford product has excelled in his current role, which has earned him a contract extension — and his return from injury is music to the Cubs' ears.

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