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State of the Cubs

State of the Cubs: Enviable depth at second base

9 months agoTony Andracki

The 2023 season is over and after narrowly missing out on the playoffs, the Cubs are staring down a pivotal winter. Before the stove starts heating up, we analyze the Cubs depth chart at each position and how Jed Hoyer’s front office might address the team’s needs.

Next up: Second base

DEPTH CHART

1. Nico Hoerner
2. Nick Madrigal
3. Christopher Morel
4. Miles Mastrobuoni

ANALYSIS

Second base is one of the areas the Cubs will have to commit absolutely zero thought to this winter.

Hoerner is the clear everyday starter and the 3 M’s — Madrigal, Morel, Mastrobuoni — provide solid depth behind him at the position. Madrigal is a natural second baseman and it also might be Morel’s best defensive fit on the diamond.

As for Hoerner, he took another step forward in 2023, ranking 24th among MLB position players with 4.7 WAR (FanGraphs). He should be a Gold Glove finalist (and could win the award) and was a major threat on the basepaths with 43 stolen bases and 98 runs.

Hoerner also increased his walk rate and sported the 8th-lowest strikeout rate among qualified MLB hitters (12.1%) while setting career highs in games played, runs, hits, doubles, RBI, stolen bases and walks.

Hoerner and Dansby Swanson formed the best defensive middle infield in the game and were in the heart of the Cubs batting order for most of the season, with Hoerner serving as a table setter in one of the top 2 spots in the lineup.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Honestly, nothing. The Cubs have enviable depth at the second base position where even if Hoerner goes down to injury (or if Swanson gets banged up and Hoerner moves over to shortstop), they have a trio of in-house options.

The question becomes what type of progression Hoerner will make in 2024? We’ve seen consistent development from him over the last several seasons and he very well could make the leap to an All-Star second baseman that plays elite defense, runs the bases extremely well and hits .300 with a good on-base percentage.

As an added bonus, Hoerner is a respected presence inside the clubhouse and signed a 3-year, $35 million extension late in Spring Training that guarantees he will be a part of the Cubs core through at least the 2026 campaign.

BOTTOM LINE

The middle infield is the backbone of the Cubs’ team and Hoerner will once again enter a season as one of the team’s most important players.

State of the Cubs series

Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
Starting Rotation
Bullpen

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