Chicago Cubs go with shortstop in first round

  • Chicago Cubs first-round draft pick Nico Hoerner

    Chicago Cubs first-round draft pick Nico Hoerner

Updated 6/5/2018 8:04 AM

The Chicago Cubs have gone back to the position-player route in the first round of baseball's amateur draft.

After breaking form last year and taking pitchers with their first five picks, the Cubs went Monday night with shortstop Nico Hoerner, a junior out of Stanford, with the 24th overall pick in the first round.


"First and foremost, it's just his ability on the baseball field," said Jason McLeod, the Cubs' senior vice president for scouting and player development. "A talented player who can really swing the bat … high contact. We think there's actually more power in there in terms of extra-base hits, in terms of lifting the ball.

"But we really love what he can do at the plate. He's a multi-tool athlete with incredible makeup. He's a leader on the field. He's a leader in the dugout. He's incredibly passionate. He's all about winning. He's exactly what we're looking to bring into the organization."

The 21-year-old Hoerner was the 52nd-rated prospect, according to He batted .345 (80-for-232) with 17 doubles, 6 triples, 2 home runs and 40 RBI in 57 games with Stanford this season, leading the school to its first Pac-12 Conference championship since 2004. He drew 20 walks, contributing to a .391 on-base percentage. He also stole 15 bases.

A three-year starter with the Cardinal, the right-handed hitter batted a combined .303 (210-for-692) with 43 doubles, 10 triples and 3 homers in 168 games. He was named to the All-Pac-12 Defensive team in 2017.

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McLeod said the plan is to keep Hoerner at shortstop even though he is versatile.

"He's such a good baseball player that down the road, if we ever asked him to move somewhere else, I think he'd probably do it flawlessly because that's just who he is," McLeod said.

Hoerner said he likes playing short.

"It's what I love to do," he said. "I think I can do it at a really high level. At the same time I think I can play every position on the field. I just want to win ballgames."

The former Cubs management team took infielder Javier Baez in the first round of the 2011 draft. After that, the current regime went with position players Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ as their first-rounders.

Hoerner said he is familiar with Cubs fans from his days in the Northwoods League at Madison, Wisconsin, after his freshman year.

"They love the Cubs, they're knowledgeable about the game," he said. "To have a chance to be part of an organization with that kind of fan base is really special."


Bonus "slot" money for the 24th overall pick is $2,724,000.

With the 62nd overall pick, the Cubs went with outfielder Brennen Davis out of Basha High School in Arizona.

The Cubs had compensatory picks at Nos. 77 and 78 for losing free agents Wade Davis and Jake Arrieta. At No. 77, they took California high school outfielder Cole Roederer. With the next pick, they went with right-handed pitcher Paul Richan out of the University of San Diego.


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